The Public Interest

Educational outcomes do matter

Bruno V. Manno

Spring 1995

PRESCRIBING learning results that all American students must master—a project known as outcome-based education (OBE)--has become the subject of one of the nation’s fiercest education battles. Though initially a conservative idea for improving education standards, an idea bitterly resisted by the left, it is today as much championed by the left as it is decried by conservatives. Chester E. Finn, Jr., an Assistant Secretary of Education in the Reagan Administration who once promoted OBE, now complains that “the word ‘outcomes’ has become tainted,” and pleads, “Mea culpa.

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