ERIC Number: ED401376
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996
Reference Count: N/A
"Site-Based Management" and Reform. Toledo Public Schools, a Case in Point.
Lopez, Thomas R.; Balzer, David M.
The expression "site-based management" (SBM) has become part of the rhetoric of reform of U.S. public schools. The United States has been involved in school reform efforts for many years now, including attempts at SBM. The case of the Toledo (Ohio) public schools serves as a prime example of an urban school district that, like many others, shows powerful immunity to efforts at improvement. The Toledo schools have been experimenting with SBM at three elementary schools in the last several years. In spite of the modesty of the experiment in terms of shifting authority and resources to the schools, what has been remarkable so far is the inability of the school board and the administration to implement SBM in other schools through enticing volunteers or convincing union officials to agree to expanding the modest start. Nor has there been much success in publicizing the progress at these three schools. Suspicion on the part of the teachers' union and the reluctance of principals to commit to what was seen as a high risk proposition have kept SBM at a stall. The good things that have happened, and that will happen, at these three schools result from good work done by good people, but not because of anything done by administration or union leadership. It is safe to predict that the Toledo SBM experiment will be declared "successful," but that it will not be replicated. The ironic thing about SBM is that a real shift in school governance requires a strong central authority to bring about SBM and to sustain it. If SBM could be used effectively to reflect different ends and means, it could reflect and promote needed diversity. However, the adage that people have the kind of government they deserve is no less true of the public schools. Toledo will continue to have the kind of schools it deserves. (SLD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A