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Federalism, Equity and Accountability in Education

Kenneth K. Wong

Turgay OZKAN
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Introduction income inequality, racial/ethnic disparities and the urban environment in society

60 % of the students

One third of enrollment

Growing Latino population Dropout problems 2/29

Introduction

Decentralization is clearly prevalent in public education, where power and decisions are dispersed among 50 states and 15,000 districts.
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Introduction The tension between decentralization and inequity constitutes a central concern in the discipline of political science. 1. The US constitution recognizes the rights of the states to handle their own affairs, including public education, 2. There is pressing public responsibility to address the needs of those who are less fortunate.

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Introduction

the evolution of the federal role

evolving theories of intergovernmental relations

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From Dual Federalism to Marble Cake Federalism


Layer Cake Federalism: Federal government ---> permissive role Constitution ----> enumerated powers A line of demarcation between the federal government and the states Public education was primarily an obligation internal to the state.
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From Dual Federalism to Marble Cake Federalism


1960s and 1970s ---> Federal involvement in education sharply increased
- Post-WW II G.I. Bill - 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas - 1958 National Defense Education Act - 1964 Civil Rights Act

1965 ---> a major antipoverty education program, Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
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From Dual Federalism to Marble Cake Federalism


Marble Cake Federalism: National and subnational governments share responsibilities in the domestic arena. - Creation of a complex intergovernmental policy system - To avoid centralization of administrative power at the national level, the congress increased its intergovernmental transfers to finance state and local activities.
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From Dual Federalism to Marble Cake Federalism


Marble Cake Federalism: By the end of Jimmy Carter Administration ----> 500 federally funded categorical programs - To promote racial desegregation - Protect the educational rights of the handicapped - Assist English language learners - Provide supplemental resources to children from at risk backgrounds

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From Dual Federalism to Marble Cake Federalism


Federal engagement in redistributive policy is evident in its contribution to the overall education spending. 1996-2003 $7600 to $9000 per pupil spending

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From Dual Federalism to Marble Cake Federalism

During the 32 year period (19702002): from 36% to 63% of the total federal spending in elementary and secondary schools.

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From Dual Federalism to Marble Cake Federalism


Institutional characteristics: Grants-in-aid arrangement Categorical or single purpose grants Supplementary and nonsupplanting guidelines Bipartisan support Incentives for local government to meet antipoverty objectives

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The New Politics of Performance-Based Federalism


Political challenge in the mid-1990s. Republicans gained majority in Congress in forty years. Newt Gingrich : federal gov. ---> the major cause of poverty, federal bureaucracy ---> major source of waste of taxpayers dollars, private sector ---> the solution to social inequality.
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The New Politics of Performance-Based Federalism


1994 Improving Americas School Act ---> beginning of federal efforts to address accountability in its antipoverty program. 2001 NCLB --> broadened federal involvement toward educational accountability for all children - Annual testing of students - Highly qualified teachers - Corrective actions - The law enables parents to take their children out of failing schools - Legislative intent in closing the achievement gaps among racial/ethnic subgroups To support these efforts --> fed. Gov. resources --> by $1.7 billon
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Policy implementation: conflict and accommodation


The redistributed goals have relied on federal funding, but support from state and local agencies has been mixed. Intergovernmental studies: 1. Period of policy formation 2. The federal grants-in-aid system 3. Accountability and innovation

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Policy implementation: conflict and accommodation


First perspective --> late 1960s and the 1970s --> period of policy formation Compensatory education Busing programs to achieve integration Job training Employment programs in economically depressed communities

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Policy implementation: conflict and accommodation


Federal Title I funds were being used for - general school purposes, - to initiate system-wide programs, - to buy books and supplies for all school children in the system, - to pay general overhead and operating expenses, - to meet new teacher contracts which call for higher salaries.

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Policy implementation: conflict and accommodation


They often found confusion, conflict and failure to meet national social objectives. Federal resources set aside for at-risk populations often failed to go to the intended beneficiaries.

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Policy implementation: conflict and accommodation


Second perspective --> the federal grants-in-aid system As the federal government increasingly clarifies its antipoverty intent, state and local agencies seem more ready to meet programmatic standards. Two major implementation patterns: 1. Conflict often occurred in redistributive programs. 2. Local and state agencies were also reluctant to change their practices in light of the federal focus.

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Policy implementation: conflict and accommodation


Third perspective --> to focus on accountability and innovation Intergovernmental system began to institutionalize its operational routines. NCLB act of 2001 elevated performance-based accountability to the nation-wide agenda that applies to all students and all school.

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Policy implementation: conflict and accommodation


Research offers two competing approaches; 1. First, NCLB grants state and local agencies substantial authority in monitoring school progress and taking corrective actions to turn around failing schools. 2. The second approach looks for market-like mechanisms to improve education.

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Policy implementation: conflict and accommodation


First approach: The challenge of capacity building NCLB requires school districts to fully document measurable gaps among subgroups within school. Schools that were seen as academically successful prior to NCLB would have difficulty in meeting the AYP benchmarks for subgroup achievement. States have chosen several methods to ensure that students reach proficiency; - Equal yearly goals approach, - The steady stair-step approach - Accelerating curve approach
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Policy implementation: conflict and accommodation


AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) deficiencies: - AYP does not rely on value-added assessment on students and school progress. - It does not indicate the amount of academic improvement students in a school may make over the course of an academic year. - For school that have a lower percentage of students meeting proficiency, the status model for monitoring adequate yearly progress may seem unrealistic. - The AYP also does not take into consideration the changing school population and student mobility from one year to the other.

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Policy implementation: conflict and accommodation

In light of these potential limitations, the US Department of Education has begun to consider using growth models in states where longitudinal student level achievement data is available. School districts are turning to external organizations to help building the data analytic infrastructure.

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Policy implementation: conflict and accommodation


NCLB poses new challenge to urban leadership to broaden its civic support for public school reform. Parental engagement is another area for civic support. When schools do fail, parents have the right to transfer their children to higher-performing schools. There was some implementation problems. The plaintiffs argued that NCLB imposed federal mandates without adequate financial support.

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Policy implementation: conflict and accommodation

Second Approach: Efforts to expand school choice Low performing, inner city schools have been the target of charter schools and experimental vouchers, where the latter enable parents to move their children from low performing public schools to better performing public and non-public schools.

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Policy implementation: conflict and accommodation


Second Approach: Efforts to expand school choice Arguably the most recent and politically visible development is the federal demonstration program in school vouchers in Washington DC.
Eligible students ---> income level fell within 185% of the poverty line. (district of Columbia) In the first year, 1848 eligible applicants received vouchers. 7 of 10 came from public school. A randomized lottery was conducted. In the first year evaluation, they scored better in reading and mathematics test then others.
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Policy implementation: conflict and accommodation


Federal government intends to support the use of vouchers as a school reform strategy. This particular initiative was facilitated by several factors. First, the legislation stated that the DC public schools would be held harmless and that departing students (i.e. voucher users) would not result in financial loss for the district. Second, the experimental nature of the program tends the limit the allotment of vouchers. Finally, the unsatisfactory academic performance of the DC public schools called for more drastic actions.
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Policy implementation: conflict and accommodation


Conclusion: Federalism beyond NCLB Intergovernmental system will have to consider several policy option. First, what is the appropriate level of federal financial support to enable students and schools to meet the NCLB expectations? Second, accountability-based politics has been facilitated by issue expansion in education among governors, mayors and state high courts.
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