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Meet Arlene Ackerman

No person deserves more credit for introducing a robust school choice system to San Francisco than Arlene Ackerman, 59, the district's superintendent since 2000. The city had experimented with open enrollment since the '70s, but it was Ackerman who made the size of a school's budget dependent on the number of students who attended the institution, thus introducing a market-like feedback mechanism; it was Ackerman who gave schools the autonomy to use those budgets as they saw fit; and it was Ackerman who made parental preferences the first criterion for school assignment.
No person deserves more credit for introducing a robust school choice system to San Francisco than Arlene Ackerman, 59, the district's superintendent since 2000. The city had experimented with open enrollment since the '70s, but it was Ackerman who made the size of a school's budget dependent on the number of students who attended the institution, thus introducing a market-like feedback mechanism; it was Ackerman who gave schools the autonomy to use those budgets as they saw fit; and it was Ackerman who made parental preferences the first criterion for school assignment.

Despite her departure, Ackerman is optimistic about the future of the reforms she put into place. She is now bound for Columbia University Teachers College, where she will run a leadership program for aspiring superintendents.

This article, written by Lisa Snell, appeared in the April 2006 publication of www.reason.com.

Published Monday, Apr. 10, 2006

Meet Arlene Ackerman

No person deserves more credit for introducing a robust school choice system to San Francisco than Arlene Ackerman, 59, the district's superintendent since 2000. The city had experimented with open enrollment since the '70s, but it was Ackerman who made the size of a school's budget dependent on the number of students who attended the institution, thus introducing a market-like feedback mechanism; it was Ackerman who gave schools the autonomy to use those budgets as they saw fit; and it was Ackerman who made parental preferences the first criterion for school assignment.

Despite her departure, Ackerman is optimistic about the future of the reforms she put into place. She is now bound for Columbia University Teachers College, where she will run a leadership program for aspiring superintendents.

This article, written by Lisa Snell, appeared in the April 2006 publication of www.reason.com.

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