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Jul212012

National Review

Schools That Work, Literally 
The Cristo Rey Network gives students invaluable real-world experience.

By Samuel Casey Carter


Too many school systems, too many charter management organizations, and far too many educational entrepreneurs are looking to philanthropy to sustain their broken business models. It should be the other way around: Schools should seek new ways to contribute to the economy. For our country’s economic health as well as international competitiveness, U.S. businessmen should be leaning harder than ever on U.S. schools to produce a higher-quality product at a much lower cost. Instead, we continue to spend over $600 billion annually doing a generally miserable job of educating children 5 to 18 years old. Then we raise billions more in philanthropy to create new alternative schools that for the most part would not be necessary if more of the original investment in education delivered the goods.

Looked at in this way, the looming budget deficits that are likely to plague state and local governments for years to come represent the most potent opportunity to effect real education reform that we have seen in decades. School systems for the first time are being forced to do more with less and to put greater emphasis on productivity. School leaders now have to welcome new technologies and new operating models that can be used to educate more children to a higher standard without calling for more money.

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