Helen Ladd, Professor of Public Policy and Economics at Duke University, and her husband Edward Fiske, former education editor of the New York Times, have written a comprehensive review of England’s radical experiment in school autonomy. The United Kingdom has been thrashing around in search of a managerial solution to school problems. It introduced a national curriculum for Schools in England, Wales, Northern Ireland in 1988, defining what every student should know in every grade, soon followed by national tests. (Wales soon delinked from the national curriculum.) Dissatisfied by the results, England is now embarking rapidly on radical decentralization of its schools.
What began as a limited program under a Labor government seeking “third way” reforms to encourage wealthy investors to take charge of some secondary schools has mushroomed under a Conservative government into a full-blown effort to devolve governmental responsibility for most of the nation’s state-run schools.
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