Published Online: November 17, 1999
Published in Print: November 17, 1999, as The Century Series: Who's in Charge?

Who's in Charge?

American education grew up from the community outward. From Colonial times onward, local citizens built the schools, raised the money, hired the teachers, and chose which books to use. They also elected local leaders to oversee the job.

The process was often fractious, and more players have entered the fray in the 20th century. The voices of elected board members and their constituents have been joined by a discordant chorus: a new breed of education professionals, the courts, the federal and state governments, teachers' unions, and advocates for a host of other competing groups and interests.

Meanwhile, new legislation and rules have spawned bureaucracies and moved decisions further from local communities. The result is what the historian David B. Tyack calls "fragmented centralization."

Today, that system is also under challenge from market-based approaches as Americans once again ask questions about who controls their schools and how they are run.

The ninth installment of "Lessons of a Century," a yearlong Education Week series of monthly special sections, looks at "Who's in Charge?"

Vol. 19, Issue 12, Page 1

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login | Register
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories

Viewed

Emailed

Recommended

Commented