ERIC Number: ED410688
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Loosening the Reins: How Flexibility Policies Contribute to Student Achievement.
Education Commission of the States, Denver, CO.
Many states give individual schools the authority to make decisions in response to local conditions while still meeting state and district goals. Providing flexibility to local decision-makers is also a potential means for improving student achievement. This report provides a snapshot of several states' recent experiences with flexibility and deregulation, with a focus on how states promote flexibility in their education systems and what impact their efforts have had on student achievement. The report reviewed state education statutes; interviewed 44 policy activists from business, education, politics, and communities; and conducted a literature review. Findings show that the people who grant the flexibility must be prepared to live with nonuniform results; it is still too early to assess the overall impact on student achievement. In addition, structural reforms to improve student achievement have little impact by themselves. Policy evaluation, in general, is a weak link in the policy chain that can be strengthened by examining the impact of policy decisions and using the results to improve decisions and reallocate resources. Flexibility is a necessary but insufficient piece of a comprehensive education reform plan--one of several important strands in a comprehensive approach to improving student achievement. Appendices contain a list of the 44 interviewees, the interview guide, and examples of statutory language. (Contains 25 endnotes.) (LMI)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Decentralization, Educational Improvement, Educational Policy, Elementary Secondary Education, Policy Analysis, Program Effectiveness, School District Autonomy, School Restructuring, State Legislation, State Regulation, State School District Relationship, State Standards
ECS Distribution Center, 707 17th Street, Suite 2700, Denver, CO 80202-3427 (No. SI-97-1, $12 plus postage and handling).
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Education Commission of the States, Denver, CO.