Elkins Promotes Online Comparisons for Healthcare. How About School Comparisons?

Elkins_on_Guns_(4).jpgRep. Steve Elkins (DFL, Bloomington) recently wrote about his work to enable online cost transparency sites for healthcare.

He wrote in his official incumbent legislator’s email:

If you want an idea of how this work would be useful to you as you shop for healthcare, visit the Turquoise Health website and enter your zip code and the name of a healthcare procedure that you’ve had performed at a hospital. You’ll be able to see the cost of that procedure at different Twin Cities hospitals, by health plan. …. The ultimate objective is to create a working marketplace for healthcare in which providers would compete on the basis of both price and quality like other businesses.

As consumers of healthcare, we can truly see the value of sites that allow cost comparisons of providers with similar quality ratings.

We can also see where parents of the school age children (and taxpayers, for that matter) would greatly value similar sites that would compare school systems. The Minnesota Public Schools Report Card is a starting point, but comparing schools side-by-side isn't possible. And all schools aren't included.

To make sure the ratings were fair, they should be applied to all schools (public, private, and charter). We would suggest the use of such metrics as student performance, student-teacher ratios, teacher-administrator ratios, average teacher tenure, and per-capita school funding.

Of course, parents may elect, after reviewing the ratings, to move their children to a different school. They should be encouraged to do so through the ability to transfer their student’s share of the per-capita school funding with them. Agree, Mr. Elkins?