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CMRE Friedman Lecture


The CMRE Friedman Lecture 2016: ‘Why school competition is key to school reform’ by Professor Paul E. Peterson


The second annual Friedman Lecture was delivered by Professor Paul E. Peterson at the Hoare Memorial Hall, Church House, Westminster, on Tuesday 26th January 2016.

The lecture was kindly sponsored by The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, as part of School Choice Week UK.

When Nobel-prize-winning economist Milton Friedman first proposed school vouchers, he did not claim that students would do better in one particular type of school but, rather, that the 'pace of progress' would be greater if one had 'a healthy increase' in school competition. Yet scholarly research on school choice typically focuses on whether 1) private schools are more effective than state schools or 2) whether less closely regulated schools (charters in the United States, academy schools in England) perform at higher levels than more tightly regulated schools operated by local authorities. A few studies, using cutting-edge experimental and quasi-experimental techniques, have nonetheless assembled international evidence that consistently provide empirical support for Friedman’s 'competition' hypothesis. They are finding that learning rates increase substantially when competition is introduced. Professor Peterson overviews these studies and suggests ways in which competition among schools can be enhanced when introducing or expanding opportunities for school choice.

Professor Paul E. Peterson is the director of the Harvard Program on Education Policy and Governance; a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University; and editor-in-chief of Education Next: A Journal of Opinion and Research.

Professor Peterson's lecture was subsequently written up as ‘The End of the Bush-Obama Regulatory Approach to School Reform: Choice and competition remain the country’s best hope’ for EducationNext  (Summer 2016 / Vol. 16, No. 3), alongside of which you can listen to a Podcast discussion with Marty West also. The essay also appears as 'Post-regulatory school reform' in the September/October edition of Harvard Magazine.


The Inaugural CMRE Friedman Lecture: ‘School choice matures: lessons for policymakers’ by Professor Sir Julian Le Grand

The inaugural CMRE Friedman Lecture was delivered by Professor Sir Julian Le Grand at the Hoare Memorial Hall, Church House, Westminster on Tuesday 27th January 2015 on the subject of school choice. 

In the past decades, school choice has emerged as an important policy option for improving education worldwide. Professor Sir Julian Le Grand drew upon his experience as a world-leading theorist and architect of public service markets to consider the lessons learned and the road ahead in education.

Professor Sir Julian Le Grand is the Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics.

Click here to read a summary of the lecture or listen to an audio recording.