Public Schools: Decentralization Dilemma

There are two persistent complaints about the nation's big-city school systems: 1) they are burdened down with top-heavy bureaucracies, and 2) they are unresponsive to the special needs of the neighborhoods they serve. One obvious way to ease both problems is to break up big systems into smaller ones — and, indeed, almost every major U.S. city is now considering some form of decentralization. Not surprisingly, New York, which has both the biggest system and the worst problems, is debating the most drastic remedy: a plan to create up to 60 semiautonomous neighborhood school districts.

The proposal was put forward...

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