Monday, April 22, 2019
5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Joukowsky Forum, 111 Thayer Street
We spend a lot of time arguing about how schools might be improved. But we rarely take a step back to ask what we as a society should be looking for from education — what exactly should those who make decisions be trying to achieve? "Educational Goods" advances a theory of how to combine values and evidence in decision-making about education. The book identifies three kinds of value that must be balanced against each other: a theory of the kind of educational outcomes schools should aim at; a theory of how educational opportunities should be distributed; and independent values that should be considered when they conflict with the first two kinds of value. The evidence that decision-makers should seek out and consider is that which bears on how these values will be realized through the choices they make, and the book articulates a distinctive method for thinking about the evidence in the light of the values. The method is illustrated through consideration of 3 central policy issues: school financing, school accountability systems, and school choice mechanisms.