Book Andrew J. Coulson

Director of Cato’s Center for Educational Freedom

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Andrew J. Coulson Bio

If all schools had to compete to serve each and every child, and all families could choose the schools best suited to their children, would it spark an educational renaissance or tear our communities apart? Is our current way of organizing and funding public education the best we can do for our children, or are there more promising alternatives?Andrew J. Coulson answers these questions by looking at education systems from all over the world and from ancient times to the present. He reveals how well current public and independent schools stack up against each other and against alternative policies such as charters, vouchers, and education tax credits.Going beyond the conventional debate over the effects of school choice policies on student test scores, Coulson explores the social effects of free market versus monopoly provision of public education.MOST REQUESTED TOPICS:Are Public Schools Hazardous to Public Education?For more than a century, Americans have treated the ideals of public education and the institution of public schooling as inseparable. Coulson points out that it was not always thus, and that we do a disservice to our children by confusing means and ends. Our current system of state-run schooling, he argues, is just one means of fulfilling our shared ideals of public education, and, he adds, it is far from the best means to that end.School Choice and Social Justice: Would Market Education Reform Rend or Mend The Fabric of America?Would a free market in education, coupled with financial assistance to ensure universal access, tear apart the social fabric of this country, or would it mend and strengthen that fabric? Is state-run schooling the gentle flame beneath the great American melting pot, or an inevitable source of social conflict? Which system has the better record of social effects?Market Education: What it is and Why We Need it.What would a free educational market actually look like? What policy features are necessary for it to survive and thrive? What is the best policy for reintroducing parental choice and market incentives to the field of education?How in the World do American Schools Stack Up?Americans simultaneously think that the nation’s schools as a whole perform dismally while believing that their local schools are not nearly so bad. These mutually contradictory beliefs (everyone’s local schools can’t be good if the nation performs poorly overall) are normally explained away by the claim that people know more about their local schools than they do about the nation’s schools as a whole. Coulson makes precisely the opposite argument: thanks to regular international academic tests, Americans who follow the news know that we indeed do perform unsatisfactorily on international comparisons, particularly by the end of high-school. What they actually know little about is how well their own local schools perform compared to the schools in other nations. Coulson cites a series of international studies to prove this thesis and show that American students fall further behind their foreign peers the longer they stay in school.Andrew J. Coulson is the director of Cato’s Center for Educational Freedom. He is the author of the 1999 book Market Education: The Unknown History and a contributor to books published by the Fraser Institute and the Hoover Institution. Coulson has written for numerous academic journals, including the Journal of Research in the Teaching of English and the Education Policy Analysis Archives and for newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, the Detroit Free Press, and the Seattle Times. He currently serves on the Advisory Council of the E.G. West Centre for Market Solutions in Education at the University of Newcastle, UK. Coulson was a Senior Fellow in Education Policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, and is editor of School Choices. Prior to entering the field of education a decade ago, he was a systems software engineer with Microsoft Corp.Contact a speaker booking agent to check availability on Andrew J. Coulson and other top speakers and celebrities.


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