Watching the Watchmen

I grew up in the 1990s.

My vague memory from this time was that science fiction seemed more associated with whiteness than blackness, at least in popular culture.

In my home it was different. It was my black father that introduced me to science fiction and fantasy.

Some of my earliest memories of bedtime are curling up with my dad and having him read the Sword of Shannara series to me.

The last books we read together were the Hyperion Cantos, the Shrike occasionally appearing in my dreams.

From my mother I inherited Shakespeare, from my father it was the Foundation Series, Dune, and hours upon hours of Star Trek Next Generation.


My father would have loved the Watchmen. It checks all of his boxes: black heroes, black history, nuclear war geopolitics, and hard science fiction.

The series unfolds from the 1921 Tulsa massacre, to the moons of Jupiter, to present day.

But, by the end of watching the series, I could anticipate my dad’s objection.

If he were alive, he would have looked at me and said: “none of the scientists were black.”

There are three scientists in the story: Dr. Manhattan (born white), Adrien Veidt (white), and Lady Trieu (half Vietnamese, half white).

They are all brilliant and none of them are black.


Sometimes identities can be binding. Sometimes they can be expansive.

Sometimes the importance of an identity is how it ties together a group of people with a shared history.

And sometimes identities come together to create something altogether new and amazing.

Black science fiction, for example, can offer worlds that white science fiction will likely never ponder.

So too with other identities, such as the stunning Chinese science fiction of Three Body Problem.

This is one of the great promises of increasing equality of opportunity: the world will be so much more innovative, including in the arts, when everyone is at the table to create.


The Watchmen came close to expressing so much of my dad’s complex identity. It was nearly perfect for a black science fiction nerd who taught political science.

It’s a wonderful show. But its imperfection is that it’s not expansive enough.

The show imagines black superheroes, but it doesn’t imagine black scientists; not just that they might exist, but how their blackness might take the world on a different path.

The best book of 2020

The Precipice by Toby Ord is the best book I’ve read and will likely read this year.

According to Ord, if my 1.5 year old daughter reaches the age of 80, there’s a ~10% chance she will die in a human extinction event. This is horrifically sad.

Ord’s argument is clear:

  1. Humanity has the chance to survive for hundreds of millions of years.
  2. There are a set of known risks that may cause our extinction.
  3. We can assign probabilities to those risks.
  4. We should devote immense effort to reducing the risk of the most probable causes of extinction.

A teenager could follow the logic and sentiment of the argument.

And yet, as the current pandemic shows, humanity remains terribly unprepared.

If there is any silver lining to be had with Covid, I hope it’s a deeper investment in avoiding known existential risks.

Assigning Risk

Ord conducted extensive research in numerous fields to attempt to come up with a 100 year extinction probability for a set of risks.

Ord’s conclusion is that humanity has a 1 in 6 chance of being wiped out in the next hundred years.

Something is surely lost in Ord being a generalist trying to produce probabilities across numerous fields. But the job requires a generalist and Ord is consistently thorough, mathematical, and shows good judgment considering opposing viewpoints.

Of course, Ord could be wrong. But he has made a good contribution.

We need a thousand Ords doing similar work so we can get smarter Vaclav Simil made another book length contribution to the task).

This is the most important chart in the book:

My thoughts on Toby Ord's existential risk estimates - EA Forum

Humanity is humanity’s greatest risk.

Our own actions drive negative probable outcomes more so than causes like asteroids or volcanoes.

Even if you think Ord is too aggressive in his probabilities, remember that this is just the risk over one century. Risks such as engineered pandemics and nuclear war won’t go away anytime soon. So over a longer period things look even more grim.

And lest you think this is all theoretical: Ord recounts enough historical close calls with nuclear war and human made biohazards that we should all be a grateful that we managed to survive the last hundred years.

Artificial Intelligence 

Within human driven actions,  Ord argues that AI is a major driver of risk. He assigns a 10% chance that unaligned AI will destroy humanity.

Ord’s probability assignment is drawn from the predictions of many experts in the field. He is also open that assigning risk to AI is difficult to do.

It’s very hard to predict when general AI will happen. Even experts in the field may be too far away from the needed technological breakthrough to be able to give any useful time estimate. It could be akin to asking someone in the 1400s when humans will go to the moon.

But even if it doesn’t happen in the next century, it probably it will occur in the next five thousand years (if we make it that long). And five thousand years is nothing in a species lifespan. So best to be prepared.

One minor point on AI: I didn’t think Ord gave enough attention to the ethical complications of programming AI to serve our interests, which is probably the easiest way to avoid an AI that wipes us out.

More advanced species replace less advanced species in global dominance all the time. This is a good thing. What if, somehow, pigs had been able to program us to serve their needs? Would that have been better for global flourishing? How sad would it be if we spent all our human capacity and labor making pigs happy? Very sad, I think, relative to what we could have been.

I think it’s ok to program AI to be ethical in the sense of avoiding harm of highly sentient beings (we too should treat pigs better). But we need to be open to the idea that AI should be able to pursue their own goals; that these goals might sometimes conflict with ours; and that there may always be an extinction risk to humans because of these conflicting goals. We should aim to reduce, not eliminate, the risks of AI rising.

Compassion and Perspective

Ord writes with deep compassion for those alive today and those who may be alive in the future.

Homo sapiens have been around for 200,000 years. The Earth could be habitable for humans for the next 800 million years. So much potential flourishing lies ahead of us, if we can make it there.

Thinking even further out: so long as can eventually travel the distance between most stars in our galaxy, we could eventually settle it. How long is such a journey? About six light years. Once we can travel in six light year intervals, almost all the stars in our galaxy will be reachable.

Ord provides some fun math: if we could learn to travel at 1% of the speed light, and took a 1,000 years to establish a settlement when we reached a new star, we could settle the entire galaxy in one hundred million years.

Of course this is all speculative. But it’s also inspiring. I’d so much rather spend my time thinking about how to achieve this then most of what fills our newsfeeds.

What to do?

Ord provides concrete recommendations at the end of the book.

But I imagine many people who are compelled by the arguments, but late in their careers, might feel a bit trapped about how they can contribute in a meaningful way.

Politicians, journalists, academics, and philanthropists all have some ability to shift what humanity focuses on. And politicians and scientists have some ability to deliver the actual solutions.

But most of us will have little impact. Moreover, to the extent we are later in our careers and have deeply specialized knowledge, it may be better that we continue to pursue excellence in our current field rather than try to switch fields.

Perhaps the greatest impact of these types of books will be on the next generation.

I surely will pass Ord’s book along to my own daughter.

Geoengineering and Denmark

Reduced travel means a bit more time for blogging.

A few things I’ve been mulling over.

I’m not an expert in these areas and have low confidence in my opinions, but thought I’d share in case they are issues you think about too.

The Importance of Geoengineering

The vast majority of existential threats, save for pandemics and AI, involve harming the atmosphere.

Climate change will make the earth very warm, and a host of other threats will make the earth too cold: nuclear war, super volcanoes, and asteroids will all cause dust induced long winters.

Our ability to be able to geoengineer, will, at some point, be very important to our future.

We should of course use a bunch of other tools to fight against these threats, but geoengineering is unique in how many threats it could potentially ameliorate.

We would never want to use it unless we had to, but if we had to use it, best to be prepared with a well thought out approach.

Cuddly vs. Cutthroat Welfare States

Lane Kenworthy has a great new book arguing that we should adopt Denmark’s welfare state. He makes a compelling case.

The best argument against adopting Denmark’s welfare state is that it will reduce innovation, which will end up costing more lives than a welfare state would help. In other words, Denmark is free riding on our innovation.

Kenworthy looks at Denmark’s productivity before and after adopting its welfare state and sees little reason for concern. However, to the extent their productivity is built off our innovations, this could be a false data point.

I think I’m on Kenworthy’s side, but it’s a very complicated issue that is very hard to test empirically.




Does either political party know how to make public education better?

There are some policy issues, like guns and abortion, where each political party has very different goals.

There are other policy issues, like education, where both parties have roughly the same goals.

This should make policy making easier. To the extent something is working in public education, both parties should be willing to adopt it.

This is of course doesn’t always hold true, but education reform has had more bipartisan support than many other policy areas.


The biggest problem in making public education better for students living in poverty is that very little has worked at scale. It really is a problem of practice as much as politics.

A recent report by the Brightbeam Network shines a troubling spotlight on this fact. Brightbeam hired researchers to look at achievement gaps in the most progressive and most conservative cities in the nation.

See below for city lists. I’m sure you can guess which are progressive and which are conservative.

Screen Shot 2020-01-26 at 8.21.44 PM                                Screen Shot 2020-01-26 at 8.21.52 PM

The report finds that the progressive cities have larger achievement gaps between white and minority students than conservative cities.

The researchers make a good case for their findings, though it’s plausible to tell other stories outside of school effectiveness about why this might be the case. I emailed the researchers about a few of these, such as different states having different proficiency cut scores, and they said they would explore and get back; though they were confident there results would hold.

I am a member of the Democratic party, and I find it sad that there is no progressive policy proof point for how to make public education dramatically better.

San Francisco, for example, is one of the wealthiest and most progressive cities in the world. And, as the report shows, it’s public education system is a trainwreck. In San Francisco 70% of white students are proficient in math, compared to only 12% of black students reaching proficiency — a 58-point gap.

And keep in mind that Democrats control all branches of government in California. And that income taxes for the rich are amongst the highest in the country.

There are some progressive cities that have made solid gains for students living in poverty, such as Chicago and Washington D.C..

But these cities did not follow a progressive playbook, at least as defined by Warren / Sanders presidential campaigns. They made gains through a mix of left (expansion of pre-k, better teacher training) and centrist (grow charters, more accountability, close underperforming schools) policies.

Conservative cities, while they do better in the report, are also still home to large achievement gaps.

All this should make you very skeptical when either party says they know how to make public education much better at scale, especially for students of color.

Rhetorical wars are a poor substitute for actual proof. 

What we need is less grandstanding and more cities trying more things with the hope for more breakthroughs.

My hunch is that non-profit governance of public schools has the chance to be a major breakthrough. But this is still a hypothesis that needs to be tested at greater scale.

If the left has a better idea, they should try it in cities and states where they control the government.

If the right a better idea, they should try it in cities and states where they control the government.

We live in a polarized country where numerous states are under the control of one party. If there is a left or right solution out there, we’re well positioned to find it.

I hope we do.

But until we do, neither party can truthfully claim they are the education party.

The education party is a title with no home.

Schools vs. Standards

An important research study just came out on Newark charter schools.

And over at Education Next, there are three commentaries assessing the impact of the common core standards.

Taken together, these pieces offer a useful jumping off point for reflecting on what’s working in education reform.

Newark Charter Schools

Marcus Winters used Newark’s unified enrollment system to try and figure out the effect of enrolling in the charter sector. This is an innovative methodological approach that was pioneered at MIT (through Arnold Ventures funding).

Winters found large effects: a +.25 standard deviations increase in a student’s score in math and ELA. The effects were even larger for two prominent non-profit charter operators, KIPP and Uncommon.

To put this effect into context, Winters notes the results are larger than “80% of other educational interventions that have been recently studied using an experimental design.”

Of course, test scores aren’t everything. It’s also important to note that these non-profit schools can only exist if parents choose to enroll their children in them.

Uncommon and KIPP are two of the most in demand school operators in the city.

These schools are passing both the parent test and the academic results test. Hopefully, over time, they will also pass the life outcomes test by helping their students succeed in building a meaningful and financially secure life.

State Standards

Common core state standards are now in their 10th year. All three commentators in Education Next agree that research has found no positive achievement effects at scale.

Mike Petrilli, however, argues that states should stay the course, and that we should see positive results over the coming five years.

On one hand, I’ve always been a bit ambivalent about Common Core. Ultimately, I think school operator quality is much more important than standards and assessments.

However, many educators I’m close with, including many of the nation’s best charter leaders, have said that the new standards are more rigorous and have pushed them to be better.

Certain states and cities, such as Tennessee, Louisiana, and Washington D.C., have used higher standards as key part of their successful reform efforts.

To the extent we’re going to have state standards and assessment, better they be good rather than mediocre. Highly effective leaders can use them as part of their improvement strategy.

But I think the sobering results of the first ten years of Common Core should put their cost / benefit in perspective, especially since so few states have been able to use the new standards to jumpstart improvement efforts.

At the very least, no one should fool themselves into thinking that better standards and assessments are going to be a major cure for our nation’s most struggling schools.

Progress One School as a Time 

Zuckerberg, Oprah, Booker…. the Newark story has had no shortage of drama.

But through it all the steady growth of great non-profit schools has radically increased educational opportunity for families in Newark, particularly for African-American and Hispanic students.

Newark is also an all boats rising story: the traditional school system has gotten better as well.

Yes, it would be wonderful if we could pass laws that made all public schools great in a short period of time. But we can’t. You can’t legislate institutional effectiveness.

Newark shows the best path forward for most cities: grow great schools.

Better to take a decade to get something right rather than layer on sweeping reform after sweeping reform after sweeping reform.

Reflections on International Relations

Sometimes my reading list matches up with current events. In this case, unfortunately, with the escalating U.S. / Iran conflict.

Books read over past two months:

  1. Escape from Rome: The Failure of Empire and the Road to Prosperity 
  2. 1491 (Second Edition): New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
  3. The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late 20th Century 
  4. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order
  5. Presidents of War: The Epic Story, from 1807 to Modern Times
  6. World Order

All of the below is a layperson’s reflections. I’m clearly not an expert on international relations or the history of civilizations.

Taken as a whole, the books were very good, even if I disagreed with major parts of them (particularly Huntington’s lack of nuance in writing on American multiculturalism and Kissinger’s analysis of Vietnam). They were also a little more conservative leaning. I was pretty steeped in liberal human rights perspective from working at the international court in Sierra Leone and conducting on the ground research of Tibetan government-in-exile in India. These books broadened my perspective.

Picking up frameworks 

These books deepened my understanding of some very useful international relations frameworks; such as:

The geography framework

  • Why did Europe, and not other previously more advanced civilizations, take off with the enlightenment and the industrial revolution? One potential cause is Europe’s geography: jagged coast lines, large islands, and mountain ranges made it difficult for empires to consolidate power. Only the Romans conquered the vast majority of Europe. Most often, numerous powers had to compete with each other.  When it came to seeding the modern world, this competitive landscape was an advantage. In Europe, unlike in China and Japan, one authoritarian government couldn’t stifle an entire civilization’s scientific progress.
  • Why did the previous Latin American civilizations (Mayan, Aztecs, Incas) develop extremely sophisticated cultures but not the scientific breakthroughs that could lead to steel, gunpowder, and other powerful technologies? One cause was because they were separated from each other by large mountain ranges and narrow land bridges. This allowed for less trade and stealing of other civilizations innovations and thus less rapid technological progress (compared to Europeans stealing Arabic numerals and Chinese gunpowder, for example).
  • Why were Latin American civilizations so susceptible to European diseases? Potentially because they came from a smaller gene pool: only a couple of waves of people made it across the Bering Strait into the Americas. This led to less genetic diversity. When a disease affected one person, it was more likely to affect most people. Small pox wiped out a higher percentage (50-80%) of the native population than the Bubonic Plague did in Europe (30-50%).

The civilization framework

  • Understanding civilizational philosophies and histories can help you understand international relations. Confucian philosophy is different than Islamic philosophy, for example, and this shapes how their current nation states view the world. Understanding other civilizations can also temper your arrogance about the universality of your own civilization’s values.
  • Major, large civilizations (and their religions) that still exist today in some form include: Sino / China (Confucion), Middle East (Islam); Russia (Orthodox Christian); America / Europe (Judeo-Christian); India (Hindu); Japan (Shinto / Buddhist); Latin America (Christian after Europeans wiped out much of indigenous population); African (very under discussed in books I read; need to read more to understand historical roots).
  • During the cold war period, civilization history played second fiddle to whether a country aligned to America or the Soviet Union. With the end of the cold war, civilization affiliation is playing a stronger role in international relations.

The realism framework:

  • National interest remains a powerful force that can transcend geography and historical affiliations.
  • Why do Taiwan, Vietnam, and South Korea all have strong ties to the United States despite having more civilization commonality with China? Because of national interest. For now, they perceive the United States to be a check on Chinese power.
  • Numerous other cross-civilization relationships, such as the United States and Saudi Arabia, can be explained better through a realism framework rather than a civilizational framework.

A starting point for getting smarter 

To be clear, geography, civilization history, and nation state realism don’t explain all of the world, nor are they full determinants of the future, but all of these frameworks have helped me think through current international affairs.

Understanding both the United States and Iran’s geography, civilizational history, and national interests are a good place to start if you want to be an informed citizen on the issue.






Sobering Results

We talk a lot about test scores in education reform. But the goal of the work is not to increase test scores. The goal is to prepare kids to lead good lives.

Good work is part of the good life.

Getting a skilled credential, two year, or four year degree is a decent (though imperfect) proxy for whether a student will end up with good work.

The results coming out of the best charter organizations, and cities as a whole, are sobering.

Right now, the better charter networks achieve a 30%-50% postsecondary success rate with students living in poverty. There are some outliers who are achieving +70% success rates. But this has not been replicated at any scale.

In New Orleans, the very early results show an estimated citywide jump from 10% to 15% postsecondary success rate. Most of these students did not experience much of the reforms, so my guess is that this rate will drift up, perhaps to ~20-30% in the coming years.

The national postsecondary success rate for students living in poverty is 10-15%.

The best charter schools, and New Orleans as a whole, will likely double this rate. Perhaps they will triple it.

Doubling or tripling the postsecondary success rate for low income students is no small feat. This could help change the lives of millions of students.

But this is far below the results I hoped for when I got into this work. I imagine many of my peers feel the same. And I am sure families want more for their children.

Our current results fall far below what I hoped we would accomplish.

My expectations were naive. I did not have a full understanding of how our country’s history of racism – coupled with current dysfunctions in criminal justice, housing, and healthcare – put up so many barriers to success.

I, like many others, also over emphasized a four year degree as the primary pathway for success.

But the one thing I think we did get right is the strategy: I’ve grown deeper in my belief that non-profit schools are the best chance we have to making things better. They are already doing better than the existing system, even if the results aren’t as high as we’d hoped for.

And so much of the innovation happening in job preparation is coming out of the non-profit sector. The postsecondary work happening in New Orleans has the chance to be as groundbreaking as the K12 work.

The best non-profit organizations learn quickly. When they see that their students are not succeeding, they change their approach. And because they are not subject to the turnover of elected boards, they can keep making improvements year after year.

Our little corner of the world has been doubly stupid and one part wise.

Stupid because we underestimated how stacked the world is against kids growing up in poverty; stupid because we thought increases in test scores would quickly translate into postsecondary success… wise because we understood how much good can happen when amazing educators are allowed to start their own non-profit schools.

My hope is that we don’t run away from the sobering data; that we don’t try to spin doubling the low income postsecondary rate as mission accomplished.

We should admit that we failed to live up to our expectations; that we’re not good enough yet; and that we need to get smarter as quickly as possible so kids lead secure, meaningful lives.

My Parents

My mom is 74 years old. Next year will be her last year as a professor at Valparaiso University.

She just gave a speech to much of the freshman class at Valparaiso University. It was an honor that she was asked. And it was a great opportunity to share decades of earned wisdom.

Her speech was on cultivating empathy through the narrative arts.

I agree with her that globalization and technology require us to expand our circle of empathy beyond the family, the tribe, and the state – to people who live in far away lands, speak different languages, and see the world in completely different ways.

My favorite part of her speech was when she described studying British literature as undergraduate student in India.

At the time, studying British literature was higher status than studying Indian literature. So she read the British cannon, which is dominated by white men.

From My Mother’s Speech 

“I grew up in post-colonial India.  The British left India in 1947, but they continued to control the minds of many of us in formidable ways.  The term for this is mental colonization. Not a good thing.

But I must admit that I have very mixed feelings about this mental colonization that I experienced, chiefly because this mental colonization helped me to cultivate my empathy through reading narratives of the other.  Let me explain.

So, here I was, reading about dancing daffodils that fill the landscape in Wordsworth’s poem of that name, without having seen any daffodils.  To feel the joy of Wordsworth at the dancing of daffodils in spring I had to exercise my imagination. Of course, this went beyond flowers and leaves.  I had to learn to experience the reality of the characters in Shakespeare, in Dickens and Thackery, and whatever I studied in my courses … this helped me to develop empathy. “

There is so much nuance and complexity in this reflection. To have mixed feelings about your oppressor means you have the power to see them as humans; that you are not consumed by outrage.

If you feel their poetry about their native flowers, you have kept your own humanity in seeing theirs.

My Father

My mother also talked about my deceased father in her speech:

“One of my favorite courses I have taught here was one team taught with my late husband who was an Africanist. It focused on African politics and literature. We called it the African Experience, by adding literature, it qualified as an experience.  Something similar remains my endeavor in all I teach. I want to push my students to walk in the shoes of Indian, Chinese, African American, and Caribbean characters.”

My father played a unique role in the mostly white town where we grew up. He was a black academic who was connected to the university elites in our city. In Valparaiso, Indiana, most African-Americans in the town were middle class or poor.

Through my father, others were able to access power. He was the connection between Valparaiso’ mostly white university and its only black church. 

In 2006, my dad received Martin Luther King, Jr. Day award recipient for his work on race relations at Valparaiso University.

One of his colleagues noted: “Much of what he did early on laid the groundwork for where we are with diversity issues today.”


As I think about the next couple decades of my life, I hope I can live out both of these lessons.

It is so important to strive to see the humanity in others and to expand who has access to power.

In their own ways, both my parents were able to do this in the town where we grew up. And at the university they called home for decades.

Do all boats rise when charter schools expand?

I. A Hypothesis 

All organizations are founded on a hypothesis. Deliberate organizations are explicit about their hypothesis.

The City Fund’s hypothesis is that educational opportunity in cities will increase if:

(1) Non-profit schools enroll more students.

(2) Cities adopt a unified enrollment system to increase equitable access to all public schools.

(3) Elected officials encourage the best schools to expand and selectively transform struggling schools with new non-profit operators.

We don’t yet know if this is true, though early signs are promising.

Cities such as New Orleans, Denver, Newark, and Washington D.C. have seen strong gains using these strategies (as well as a focus on instruction and talent in district schools).

II. Fordham’s New Study on Charter Enrollment 

Fordham just put out a study that attempts to measure whether increases in charter enrollment in a city leads to all students learning more, including children in district schools.

Fordham found that, in urban areas, higher charter schools enrollment is associated with achievement gains for all black and Hispanic students in the city.

If it holds, this is an important finding on the benefit of expanding non-profit schools.

So how much weight should we give to the study?

On the positive side, the authors methodology is reasonable: they track a bunch of cities that are home to increasing charter enrollment, and then use a set of controls to try and determine if this increase in enrollment is associated with positive citywide results for minority students.

There are some clear limitations to this approach, most of which the authors acknowledge. The trickiest issue is causation: it’s hard to know if charter enrollment itself is causing the gains. For example, perhaps cities that see increasing charter enrollment also tend to be home to strong economic growth, and it’s the city’s economic gains that are driving better student performance.

Another major limitation is how much we can extrapolate from the cities in the data set.

Given that very few cities rapidly grew charters (ie, went from 10% enrollment to 50% enrollment), it’s hard to know how much we can draw from the study.

Perhaps citywide gains spike when charters increase from 10% to 30% (due to increased competition) but then reverse when charters go from 30% to 60% (due to financial pressures on the district). We won’t know until more cities reach higher charter enrollment.

III. What Can We Learn From the Study? 

The Fordham study should nudge us a bit toward the idea that increasing charter enrollment can increase learning for all students.

But, perhaps more importantly, it should cast serious doubt on the claim that the current rate of increased charter enrollment is significantly harming traditional public schools.

We can’t know if increased charter enrollment is causing citywide gains, but we can clearly observe that current charter enrollment is not causing major drops in district performance.

This is a very important finding. It refutes the major argument made by charter detractors.

This result mirrors some of what we’ve seen in CREDO’s recent analysis of city performance.

CREDO found an all boats rising effect in three of the most mature choice cities in the country. In Denver, Camden, Washington D.C., district schools improved as the charter enrollment increased.

It’s notable, though not dispositive, to us that these cities all have unified enrollment systems and transparent school performance information.

IV. How Can We Learn More?

Doug Harris and his team at Tulane are going to attempt a similar study but use a quasi-experimental approach. This should shed some more light on the issue.

We will also keep working with CREDO to hold the mirror up on the cities The City Fund is working most deeply with.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that understanding citywide impacts is important but not the only way to understand charter growth.

We should care a lot about the fact that charter school enrollment is increasing in the first place: it’s a clear sign that families are hungry for a better public education for their children. And that they view charter schools as way to meet their children’s needs.

Large scale correlational studies are not a substitute for simply observing that millions of parents are choosing charter schools in hopes of finding a great school for their children.