John Merrifield

Dr. John Merrifield is a professor of economics at the University of Texas San Antonio and editor of the School System Reform Journal. He has published widely on school choice, environmental economics and public finance.

Good Districts Aren’t Enough

Good School Districts

A recent Wall Street Journal story, “Homeowners’ Quest for the Best Schools,” highlighted an age-old dilemma that far too many American families face when it comes time to determine the best K–12 education for their children. Because our school system has historically been based on geography instead of student needs, families who can afford to […]

Why Milwaukee’s Voucher Program Isn’t the Litmus Test for School Choice Everywhere (Despite Its Positive Results)

School choice in Milwaukee

Milwaukee, Wisconsin has a 25-year-old school voucher program (MPCP) restricted to low-income students, district-run chartered public schools and some privately funded vouchers. Because the MPCP is the oldest publicly funded U.S. voucher program, its results have attracted a lot of attention.  Sadly, much of what has been said and written, from school choice expansion proponents […]

Improving America’s Classrooms Through School Choice Part II

Improving America's classrooms

In a Part I of this series, I shared my wife’s and my history with K–12 public schooling before listing seven reasons why problematic public school classroom conditions have survived decades of education reform efforts. I discussed only the first three: Weak, often poorly targeted, incentives for educator effectiveness and parental involvement Classroom composition policies […]

Improving America’s Classrooms Through School Choice

School choice could help with improving America's classrooms

Problematic public school classroom conditions have survived decades of education reform efforts. With federal lawmakers considering reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act—and new state lawmakers pursuing different types of education reforms—it is worth reviewing the root causes of our school system’s ineffectiveness and the policy reforms that would eliminate those problems—for the benefit […]