Robert Litan makes the case for charter schools. I largely agree with what he says to say:
A couple of caveats. One is that I think he underplays the importance of the voucher/charter distinction here, but the fact that charter schools, unlike private schools, don’t get to choose their students is important. The second is that while bashing our system as “Soviet-style” makes for good rhetoric, primary and secondary education in the Soviet Union was fine. Indeed, Communism, if applied across the board in the United States, would probably do a lot to improve our public schools. There are just other good reasons to avoid it. Last, it’s important to understand that the charter schools that have shown the most impressive results get substantial additional funding from foundations and other charitable sources over and above their public funding. The evidence, in other words, suggests that structural reform in the direction of more charter schools is a necessary complement to more funding, but not a substitute for it.