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ERIC Number: EJ898335
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2000
Pages: 47
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1096-2719
The Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program
Sherman, Lawrence W.
Brookings Papers on Education Policy, p125-171 2000
In this paper, the author analyzes the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities program and reveals the inherent flaws of what he calls "symbolic pork." The program is popular because it addresses subjects about which the public is deeply concerned: school safety and substance abuse. He notes that since 1986 the program has received more than $6 billion, yet "there is no evidence that this half-billion-dollar-per-year program has made schools safer or more drug-free." He cites several examples of how program monies have been spent wastefully and explores the causes of, and alternatives to, the democratized waste of the Safe and Drug-Free Schools funding. The causes are linked to the politics of "symbolic pork," or the spending of money on problems without needing to show any outcome from previous spending. This paper documents that claim with respect to the Safe and Drug-Free Schools program and then considers alternative ways to restructure the program to increase its effectiveness. One alternative is a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-style, Washington-driven program based on the best knowledge available nationwide. Another is a local accounting model, in which every community develops performance and results measures for every expenditure. A third alternative, which the author defines as "evidence-based government," combines the best national knowledge with the best local outcome measures in a participatory process of accountability for risk-adjusted, value-added results. Comments by Christina Hoff Sommers and Bruno V. Manno are included. (Contains 1 figure, 2 tables, and 73 notes.)
Brookings Institution Press. 1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-536-3600; Fax: 202-536-3623; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maryland
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Act