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ERIC Number: EJ759600
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Mar-21
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0277-4232
Easing Rules over Schools Gains Favor
Gewertz, Catherine
Education Week, v26 n28 p1, 14-15 Mar 2007
This article reports on Massachusetts' recent decision to offer charterlike freedom to four of its lowest-performing schools. This decision has renewed debate about the role autonomy plays in school improvement: Should it be earned through good performance, or given as a vital tool for improvement? Is it risky to extend it to struggling schools? Experience has shown that state takeovers do not often help ailing schools and that cutting a beleaguered school loose to "do its own thing" does not often deliver good results. As a result, school leaders are experimenting with combinations of regulation and independence based on a school's performance, approaches some refer to as "differentiated autonomy." Districts and states are using widely varying starting points. Some districts start from a place of control, obligating schools to follow district rules until their performance earns them greater autonomy. Others start with autonomy, then revoke it for schools whose troubles suggest a need for outside direction. The move by Massachusetts illustrates a growing recognition in the field that neither autonomy nor intervention, by itself, is a cure. The state is freeing the four schools from many operating restrictions, but it also plans to support and closely monitor them, and hold them to specific performance goals, in a bid to ensure that they gain ground.
Editorial Projects in Education. 6935 Arlington Road Suite 100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5233. Tel: 800-346-1834; Tel: 301-280-3100; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts