Education: Free Enterprise for Schools

When a baseball team finishes last, the manager is usually fired. If no one buys Edsels, no more are made. But one of the nation's biggest enterprises —education—is virtually unaccountable when it fails its customers. As a result, reformers across the U.S. have begun a series of novel experiments aimed at making teachers and even whole schools responsible for their performance in terms of dollars and cents. The idea is already meeting resistance from teachers' organizations, which see a sharp threat to their jobs and power.

This fall, the 800 students at...

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