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ERIC Number: EJ862342
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr
Pages: 18
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 43
ISSN: ISSN-0077-5762
The Politics of Localism in an Era of Centralization, Privatization, and Choice
Henig, Jeffrey R.
Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, v108 n1 p112-129 Apr 2009
Recent state and national policy has both reflected and helped to further an image of localities as parochial, reactionary, ineffective, and appropriately marginalized in the enterprise of school reform. Growing state and national roles (on one hand) and growing market and private sector inroads (on another) have the potential to undermine localities as sites for both pragmatic policy making and for political mobilization (exercising power in the other sectors). This chapter begins with a discussion of the image of local obsolescence, a set of loosely connected ideas that has helped to convince political leaders and school reformers that by-passing local school districts is not only advisable but the logical and inevitable consequence of broad historical trends. While intellectually coherent and politically compelling, this myth of local obsolescence is empirically suspect. Centralization, privatization, and school choice are each powerful policy initiatives that are shifting the educational landscape, but localities are likely to remain a critical fulcrum in the ways these unfold and mature. Local forms of education and the decision-making processes that affect these are indeed changing and will continue to change. These changes, though, are widely misunderstood. The precise role of localism, the author suggests, has evolved along the way, but neither federalism nor pragmatic privatization constitute zero sum games in which the expansion of activity by one level or one sector necessarily comes at the expense of the others. Local is different, but different is not dead. Rather than becoming obsolescent, the author concludes that local school governance is entering a new stage marked by its growing absorption into general purpose government and the more dynamic politics that comes along with that venue shift. (Contains 1 table and 3 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A