Public Schools: Trouble for Decentralization

Decentralization is the latest battle cry in public education. The concept has been widely heralded as a cure for the ills of the New York City school system, which—like many big metropolitan systems—is cumbersome and plagued by bureaucracy. In November, an advisory panel headed by Ford Foundation President McGeorge Bundy proposed that New York be divided into as many as 60 semiautonomous districts with their own parent-dominated policy boards. Such local control, the panel argued, would make the schools more responsible to the needs of the community; it would also keep parents from blaming the city's board of education, a...

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