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ERIC Number: EJ976083
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0161-956X
Centralization and Decentralization in American Education Policy
DeBoer, Jennifer
Peabody Journal of Education, v87 n4 p510-513 2012
This article examines the trend toward centralization in American education policy over the last century through a variety of lenses. The overall picture that emerges is one of a continuous tug-of-war, with national and local policymakers stumbling together toward incrementally more standardized and centralized policies. There is a center of power that increasingly wants to dictate even the minutiae of research methods but cannot immediately manage the oversight and regulation of a large, complex, piecemeal system of education. The diversity of needs, philosophies, and opportunities overwhelms this system. Local policymakers are approaching the use of a common language from different corners of the country, but they have historically been so separated that they continue to grapple with this newfound integration. The national government sees its best interest in centralization. International competition is a major driver for policies at the national level, which may be diffused to local levels as well, and rhetoric citing the efficiency of foreign education machines is productive fodder for political rallying cries. The United States, though historically one of the most decentralized education systems, finds itself slowly moving away from one end of the decentralization spectrum. Although this implies that the United States is becoming more similar to most other national education systems, it also indicates that the United States is going against the prevailing trend in contemporary education governance to decentralize institutions.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States