Don’t miss this evaluation (PDF) of the Chancellor’s District in NYC by the Institute for Education and Social Policy. Though the initiative is over, there are plenty of lessons for today’s policy debates. The intro does a great job laying out the parameters of today’s debate:
“…the Chancellor’s District initiative challenges several influential currents of recent reform theory that link the necessity for decentralization with the need to provide maximum autonomy at the school level to achieve successful schools. In Politics, Markets and America’s Schools, John Chubb and Terry Moe argued that the key characteristic that distinguishes academically effective private schools from less effective public schools is the extent of autonomy at the school level…
Chubb and Moe’s influential arguments stressed the inevitability of bureaucratization and consequent poor school performance unless schools are severed from district control and governed by market principles.”
Though it manifests itself through a variety of issues and political disputes, that’s the crux of today’s debate. And that’s why this study is worth reading.