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What States Are Doing
Selected Research & Readings
Other Web Sites
 Deregulation/Waivers/Home Rule
 Local/Mayoral Takeovers
 School Boards
 Site-Based Management
 State Boards/Chiefs/Agencies

Choice of Schools
Choice of Schools--Charter Schools
Choice of Schools--Charter Schools--Charter Districts
Choice of Schools--Choice/Open Enrollment
Choice of Schools--Magnet or Specialized Schools
Choice of Schools--Vouchers
Governance--Deregulation/Waivers/Home Rule
Governance--School Boards
Governance--Site-Based Management
Instructional Approaches--Homeschooling
Postsecondary Governance and Structures

When many state leaders talk about governance reform in public education, they usually refer to changes in governance structures - for example, a state proposes that the governor, instead of the state board of education, should appoint the state superintendent of education. While these structural decisions are important, it is equally - if not more - critical to examine governance reform by looking at who makes what decisions about public education within a state's governance structure. In fact, over the last 20 years, state, district and school leaders have been moving on two apparently contradictory paths of this type of governance - or decisionmaking - reform, sometimes with very little coordination among the disparate parts.

On the one hand, states have provided more money for public education. In providing more funding for schools, states have become more involved in making decisions about policies that were previously left for school districts to decide. Among other things, states have established content and performance standards; developed student and teacher assessments; and created accountability systems that attempt to ensure students, teachers and schools achieve established standards. Furthermore, states have begun to intervene, and in some cases, take over chronically low-performing school districts and schools.

At the same time that states have created more centralized approaches to governing schools, states and districts have instituted more decentralized governance arrangements. For example, many states, districts and schools are experimenting with various forms of site-based management, in which the locus of certain decisions is moved from the school district to the school. In addition, many states, districts and schools are experimenting with various forms of school choice, including magnet schools, intra- and inter-district open enrollment, charter schools, vouchers, tax credits and tax deductions, and home schools.


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