Standards vs. Market Reform
Over at Cato-at-Liberty, Andrew J. Coulson tells it like it is:
Trying to “fix” the education being provided by a monopoly school system is like trying to “fix” a command economy. While occasional improvements will certainly be possible, ultimately, the effort is doomed. Even when excellent, proven methods or curricula are adopted in state schools, the incentive structure of the system provides no support for retaining them.
Coulson mentions old vs. new math debates and tells the story of Jaime Escalante, who developed a highly effective math curriculum and was kicked out of his school. There are good curricula out there, but public schools have little incentive to find and use the best ones.