Politics, Markets, and America's Schools

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Brookings Institution Press, 1990 - Education - 318 pages
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During the 1980s, widespread dissatisfaction with America's schools gave rise to a powerful movement for educational change, and the nation's political institutions responded with aggressive reforms. Chubb and Moe argue that these reforms are destined to fail because they do not get to the root of the problem. The fundamental causes of poor academic performance, they claim, are not to be found in the schools, but rather in the institutions of direct democratic control by which the schools have traditionally been governed. Reformers fail to solve the problem-when the institutions ARE the problem. The authors recommend a new system of public education, built around parent-student choice and school competition, that would promote school autonomy- thus providing a firm foundation for genuine school improvement and superior student achievement.
  

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Contents

The Root of the Problem
1
The One Best System
3
Academic Excellence and Educational Reform
6
Politics Social Science and Educational Reform
11
Institutions and Effective Organization
18
Theory and Data
20
Asking the Right Questions
25
An Institutional Perspective on Schools
26
The Causes of Student Achievement
101
Economic Resources
102
School Size
104
Family Background
105
Modeling Student Achievement
111
A General Model of Student Achievement
115
The Results
125
Conclusion
137

Politics and Markets
27
Authority and Decisionmaking
28
Constituents and Consumers
30
Bureaucracy and Autonomy
35
The Organization of Schools
47
Central Tendency and Variance
60
Conclusion
66
The Organization of Effective Schools
69
Measuring School Performance
70
The Achievement Test Results
72
An Exploratory Analysis
76
Goals
78
Leadership
83
Personnel
86
Practice
92
Conclusion
99
Institutional Context and School Organization
141
Control and Organization in Americas Schools
142
Institutions and Control in Americas Schools
166
Conclusion
183
Better Schools through New Institutions Giving Americans Choice
185
Schools and Institutions
186
Educational Reform during the 1980s
192
A Proposal for Reform
215
Politics Ideas and Americas Schools
226
Data
230
Measures and Indicators
235
Special Issues in Modeling Student Achievement
248
Achievement and Organization in Public Schools
259
Notes
278
Index
313
Copyright

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About the author (1990)

Chubb is a founding partner of Edison Schools and a nonresident senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution.

Moe is professor of political science at Stanford University and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

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