This New York Times article on the intellectual about-face of a noted school reformer is getting a lot of attention. I have not read her book yet and it’s hard to glean from the article exactly what her alternative ideas are for fixing public schools, so it’s hard for me to really offer a substantive reaction to the story. But one statement of hers that I did find surprising was this:

Charter schools, she concluded, were proving to be no better on average than regular schools, but in many cities were bleeding resources from the public system…

All the research I’ve seen suggests that vouchers, charters, and other types of competition increase the performance of public schools. If they are “bleeding resources”, and yet increasing performance, then that seems like a positive thing to me. They are doing more with less, what is there to object to?

Given her level of expertise, I assume there is some research I have not seen on this issue supporting her claim, hopefully discussed in her book. Either way I found this claim surprising.