Berends Book on School Choice Reviewed in Washington Post

June 02, 2011Bill Schmitt

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“School Choice and School Improvement,” the new book co-edited by IEI Fellow and sociologist Mark Berends, has been reviewed by a leading education journalist in The Washington Post.
“It is refreshing to find a new book presenting some of the most recent findings, as disturbing as they might be to my favorite biases,” wrote Jay Matthews in his May 31 review. The article, Class Struggle, lists several points made by scholars in the field of education.

As summarized by Matthews, the findings include:

  • School vouchers work in Washington, DC.
  • Parents say they switch to charter schools for better academic results, but don’t appear to mean it.
  • Regular school principals in a position to be influenced by competition from charters don’t appear to be doing anything differently.

The research, assembled by Berends and co-editors Marisa Cannata and Ellen B. Goldring, offers answers to the question: Does school choice work as a strategy to improve schools and help students learn?

Berends is a distinguished education sociologist on the University of Notre Dame faculty. He is director of the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity (CREO) in Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives (IEI). He is also director of the National Center on School Choice (NCSC), headquartered at Vanderbilt University. The US Department of Education recently recognized Berends’ work at the NCSC.

Berends is the author or editor of leading books on school choice and education reform, including Charter School Outcomes and Handbook of Research on School Choice.
For more information: Bill Schmitt, IEI Communications/Media Specialist, at wschmitt@nd.edu.