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Submitted by Alex Medler on

Very interesting analysis. Thanks.

In the spirit of sharing observations of the U.S. version of this, I think it also helps to come into this work with one's political eyes wide open.

Fostering the regulatory environment for U.S. charter schools involves state education systems, district school systems, and new charter authorizing entities that use oversight tools that are not used in the rest of the school system.

The need for new policies, new institutions, and new tools for performance management are several pieces of the U.S. charter sector that enable, or allow the emerging field of performance management. This progress in creating this regulatory environment is part of what is fostering the growth of the great school models you describe.

But all this institution building and the new stakeholders, as well as the old stakeholders that are increasingly doing new forms of "work", also creates multiple venues for political conflict. And the various stakeholders advocating for change and those running the rest of the "regular" schools can perceive these new "opportunities" quite differently. Those who run traditional systems feel threatened, both by growth and by superior performance of new players.

I think you point to a key part of how such politics will likely be managed. Quality data on efficacy and impact evaluations can help us understand what works, direct work that is currently struggling towards more promising strategies, but it also helps build support for the work that is required as we build and sustain the regulatory environment you describe. But, at least in the U.S., it takes a lot more than thoughtful evaluation and good data to manage these politics.

I am curious how those political issues are playing out in these various settings and what, in addition to strong impact evaluations, can help create these new environments.

Alex