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ERIC Number: ED478525
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Aug
Pages: 56
Abstractor: N/A
Legal Issues Involving Educational Privatization and Accountability. Occasional Paper.
Kemerer, Frank R.
This paper examines accountability in public and private schools. It discusses the considerable authority the state has to regulate all schools, whether public or private, and focuses on how state constitutions constrain the states' ability to delegate to private actors the responsibility and funding for public education without accompanying accountability measures. Best labeled "unconstitutional delegation law," this doctrine is evident in the first charter-school litigation to reach a state supreme court. Legal decisions on privatization in corrections, in the federal Section 8 public-housing vouchers programs, and in contracting out special-education services have affected the autonomy of private organizations. The paper describes the repercussions of these actions and explores their effects on accountability in three states: Arizona, Massachusetts, and Michigan. It finds that only Arizona approaches a pure market-approach to accountability. The last part of the paper reviews accountability issues in publicly funded voucher programs. The challenge for states is to navigate between too little accountability, which raises unconstitutional delegation concerns, and too much oversight, which draws attention to unreasonable regulations. In the absence of judicial precedent and empirical research, private entities cannot assume that they will be able to operate publicly funded programs without surrendering some of their autonomy. (RJM)
Teachers College, Columbia University, Box 181, 230 Thompson Hall, 525 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027-6696. Tel: 212-678-3259; Fax: 212-678-3474; e-mail:; Web site: For full text:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Columbia Univ., New York, NY. National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education.