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Do decentralization reforms hold real promise for American education? Is there a relation between the structure of the system and its performance? What can we learn about decentralization from history, from other industries, from other public sectors and from other countries? And what risks does decentralization entail? In this book, eight contributors examine these and other questions related to the likely effects of decentralizing school governance on educational practices. Drawing on theoretical models, case studies and comparative analyses of other sectors and countries, the authors argue that governance reforms are likely to have little impact on what actually happens in schools. They explain the cyclical and reactionary nature of decentralization debates and show how they are endemic to modern society. And they tell why decentralized structural arrangements alone are unlikely to establish conditions necessary for general improvement in educational practice.
JANE HANNAWAY is associate professor in the School of Education at Stanford University, where she also directs the master's program in policy analysis. MARTIN CARNOY is professor of education and economics in the School of Education at Stanford University, where he also has headed the International Development Education program.