In Politics of School Reform, Transparency Doesn't Equal Accountability

Politics, lack of accountability cut knowledge's power, even if reform is what's best for the kids.

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Data, transparency, and public availability of educational information are all highly desirable elements of education reform. It's ridiculous that today a parent can find more information about choosing a new washing machine or automobile than about choosing a school, and it's a travesty how frequently ideology trumps evidence in education policymaking. But given how the politics of education work, transparency will drive change only in concert with policies actually requiring change. Information alone is not enough.

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Andrew J. Rotherham is co founder and publisher of Education Sector. He writes the blog Eduwonk.com. Corrected on 05/19/09: An earlier version of this article misspelled Ross Wiener's name.