School governance in the principal's hands

RAND Education posted a paper Friday proposing another look at decentralized decision-making for schools (DDS). Its point being that the rigid bureauratic character of public education systems is increasingly perceived as "problematic" in the unpredictable and shifting environment of schools where needs are difficult to predict and "tasks being performed are not standardized."
The current interest in DDS, however, offers a new window of opportunity for testing the proposition that real improvement in student learning can be achieved within the public school system by radically altering the locus of decisionmaking and shifting authority over key decisions like budgeting and resource allocation to the school level.
Standards-based reform movement and the creation of new federal and state accountability systems, a new competitive environment of vouchers and charter schools, and the impending replacement of retiring principals with employees with different expectations of freedom of action, all contribute to possible motivation and success for DDS.

Decentralized Decision-Making for Schools - New Promise for an Old Idea?
(available in PDF, 150 KB, from RAND)



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