Multiple choice: Expanding opportunity through innovation in K–12 education
Values & Capitalism
About This Event


Event Summary

A high-quality education can provide immense opportunities for children, but the education system in America today is simply not getting the job done. This was the theme of Wednesday’s discussion at AEI on “Education and Opportunity,” a new book by AEI’s Michael Q. McShane. 

What needs to change? In the words of John Chubb and Terry Moe, authors of the landmark book “Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools,” the problem with America’s education system is just that — the system. In its place, McShane envisions a vibrant marketplace of schooling options. However, he makes clear that while necessary, injecting market forces into the education system is not sufficient on its own. 

Jeffrey Bailey of the Arete Scholars Fund emphasized that “private doesn’t necessarily mean good.” School choice measures must be combined with the formation of innovative new schools, proper regulatory structures, and pools of talented teachers and staff. 

Andy Smarick of Bellwether Education Partners clarified that markets are not magical — they create conditions under which people can find innovative solutions to problems. Ultimately, those solutions are what America’s education system depends on.

Smarick concluded the conversation with a point of caution: “Never take down a fence until you are certain why it was put up.” While seeking innovative new solutions, we must consider which parts of traditional K–12 education should be reformed and which should be protected. 
--Tyler Castle 

Event Description

Education has the potential to open doors to incredible opportunity. Yet despite unprecedented levels of public school funding, far too many students in America never enjoy the benefits that can result from a high-quality education. In his new book "Education and Opportunity" (AEI Press, August 2014), AEI research fellow Michael Q. McShane proposes a market-based approach to revitalizing US education — one that fosters innovation and encourages competition via school choice, education savings accounts, and charter schools.

Please join us for a book launch event and panel discussion about how a marketplace of education options can help today's students succeed in tomorrow's economy. Attendees will receive a complimentary copy of the featured book.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


11:45 AM

12:00 PM
Jeffrey W. Bailey, Arete Scholars Fund
Michael Q. McShane, AEI
Andy Smarick, Bellwether Education Partners

1:30 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Meredith Schultz at [email protected], 202.862.4879.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Jeffrey W. Bailey is executive vice president at Arete Scholars Fund, a tax-credit scholarship fund providing low-income K–12 students with greater access to educational opportunities in Georgia and, most recently, Louisiana. He also served as director of the Center for an Educated Georgia. Before moving back the US two years ago, Bailey served as managing director of the Center for Social Justice (CSJ), a political think tank in London. CSJ developed the welfare reforms that are currently being implemented by the British government, and other domestic policies such as the free-school reforms that have sought to bring greater educational choice throughout the UK. Before joining CSJ, Bailey taught at the University of Cambridge and published in various academic books and journals. Most recently, he authored “Rethinking Integration,” a forthcoming report on social mobility among ethnic minorities in Britain, with a particular emphasis on the role of education.

Michael Q. McShane is a research fellow in education policy studies at AEI. He is coeditor, with Frederick Hess, of "Common Core Meets Education Reform" (Teachers College Press, 2013). He is also coauthor of "President Obama and Education Reform: The Personal and the Political" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2012). His analyses have been published widely in technical journals and reports, including Education Finance and Policy. He has contributed to more popular publications such as Education Next, The Huffington Post, National Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the St. Louis Post–Dispatch. He began his career as an inner-city high school teacher in Montgomery, Alabama.

Andy Smarick is a partner in Bellwether Education Partners’ policy and thought-leadership practice, joining the organization in 2012. He is the author of “The Urban School System of the Future” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012), which argues for replacing traditional urban school districts with a true “system of schools.” He served as New Jersey’s deputy commissioner of education, helping lead initiatives such as the state’s successful Elementary and Secondary Education Act waiver and Race to the Top applications, the launching of a new teacher evaluation system, and an overhaul of the department’s charter school authorizing. Smarick served as deputy assistant secretary at the US Department of Education and White House Domestic Policy Council and has worked for Congress and the Maryland state legislature. Other roles include distinguished visiting fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, former adjunct fellow at AEI, and cofounder and chief operational officer of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Smarick also helped launch a college-preparatory charter school for underserved students. He writes regularly for the Flypaper blog, and his articles have appeared in the nation’s leading newspapers and journals. He is a former White House Fellow, Pahara Fellow, and founding board member of 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now.

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