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The portfolio strategy creates interesting new bedfellows: people who think that government should oversee public education align with those advocating choice, competition, and entrepreneurship. It cuts across political lines and engages city governments and civic assets (e.g., philanthropies, businesses, universities) much more deeply than earlier reform initiatives. New York and New Orleans were portfolio pioneers, but the idea has spread rapidly to cities as far-flung as Los Angeles, Denver, and Chicago.
Results have been mixed overall but generally positive in places that implemented the strategy most aggressively. Reform leaders such as New York's Joel Klein have been overly optimistic, however, assuming that the strategy's merits would be so obvious that careful assessment would be unnecessary. Serious policy evaluation is still needed.
Gene Sperling, author of the seminal 2004 report published by the Council on Foreign Relations, and Rebecca Winthrop, director of the Center for Universal Education, have written this definitive book on the importance of girls’ education. As Malala Yousafzai expresses in her foreword, the idea that any child could be denied an education due to poverty, custom, the law, or terrorist threats is just wrong and unimaginable. More than 1,000 studies have provided evidence that high-quality girls’ education around the world leads to wide-ranging returns:
Better outcomes in economic areas of growth and incomes
Reduced rates of infant and maternal mortality
Reduced rates of child marriage
Reduced rates of the incidence of HIV/AIDS and malaria
Increased agricultural productivity
Increased resilience to natural disasters
What Works in Girls’ Education is a compelling work for both concerned global citizens, and any academic, expert, nongovernmental organization (NGO) staff member, policymaker, or journalist seeking to dive into the evidence and policies on girls’ education.