Brandon Dutcher | November 13, 2015

School ‘accountability’ in the 21st century

Brandon Dutcher

Photo credit: MikeDotta / Shutterstock.comShe's trapped in the past, 44-year-old Marco Rubio recently said of 68-year-old Hillary Clinton. “And her take on Airbnb, Lyft, Uber, these sorts of things, is a perfect example of someone who’s trapped in the past, and cannot understand how much the world is changing, and how much it’s going to change in the years to come economically,” Rubio said.

“She’s trying to apply 20th-century constructs to a 21st-century innovative industry,” he said.

Regrettably, the same is true in education. Many policymakers—including some in Oklahoma—insist on applying 20th-century accountability constructs to a 21st-century education system, a system which includes vouchers, tax credits, and education savings accounts. But the world is changing, and many analysts are recognizing the need to adapt.

  • It’s time for “a new approach for a new era of education,” Adam Peshek writes. “Applying the accountability practices of the public school system to an ESA program makes as much sense as making sure that Uber has the same regulations as the taxi cab commission.”
  • “Whatever your views on public school accountability, it remains vital to recognize the limits of state accountability systems,” Matthew Ladner adds. “ESA programs will require a new approach to transparency and accountability because they take multi-provider customization to a whole new level.”
  • Rather than relying on 20th-century regulatory constructs, writes Jason Bedrick, it’s far better to “provide private certification and/or expert reviews of schools. If we want to ensure that even the world’s poorest children have access to a quality education, schools should be held directly accountable to parents empowered with the means to choose a school and the information to choose wisely.”

As the Uber-ization of Oklahoma’s education system proceeds apace, it’s important to think about what “accountability” looks like in the 21st century.

Photo credit: MikeDotta /

Brandon Dutcher Senior Vice President

Brandon Dutcher

Senior Vice President

Brandon Dutcher is OCPA’s senior vice president. Originally an OCPA board member, he joined the staff in 1995. Dutcher received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Oklahoma. He received a master’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in public policy from Regent University. Dutcher is listed in the Heritage Foundation Guide to Public Policy Experts, and is editor of the book Oklahoma Policy Blueprint, which was praised by Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman as “thorough, well-informed, and highly sophisticated.” His award-winning articles have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, WORLD magazine,,, The Oklahoman, the Tulsa World, and 200 newspapers throughout Oklahoma and the U.S. He and his wife, Susie, have six children and live in Edmond.

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