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ERIC Number: EJ763233
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Academic Freedom
Ouchi, William G.
Education Next, v4 n1 p21-25 Win 2004
Decentralization has been a popular theme in school districts for a long time. Indeed, most districts claim that they are decentralized, having latched onto the "site-based management" movement of the 1980s. Superintendents and central-office personnel point to their local school councils, staffed by parents, teachers, and school administrators, and claim that they have moved decision making down to the school level. However, they have neither achieved nor even attempted "true" decentralization, which requires that power over the budget be given to each school--and taken away from the central office. In "Making Schools Work," Lydia Segal and the author detail the results of an empirical study of nine school systems that vary dramatically in their degree of decentralization. The findings from the study demonstrate that true decentralization yields benefits in both efficiency and performance. As in other large organizations, faraway bureaucrats in central offices are in a poor position to know what should be done in each of a hundred or a thousand schools. Thus local autonomy along with accountability is essential to success in education. Decentralizing power to school principals and funding students rather than schools would be a good start. (Contains 1 figure.)
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Canada (Edmonton); Illinois; New York; Texas; Washington