Local Control in the Era of Accountability: A Case Study of Wisconsin PreKReport as inadecuate

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Education Policy Analysis Archives, v24 n60 May 2016

The opposing principles of local control and increased standardization are a prominent tension in the United States' education system. Since at least the early 1990s, this tension has taken shape around the accountability movement, defined by educational reforms that hold schools, teachers, and students accountable for performance on new standards, assessments, and curricula. While many scholars have examined the manifestations of the current accountability movement, few have looked at this phenomenon within the growing public preK movement. Drawing from interviews with state policymakers and district-level actors, this paper describes how the seemingly contradictory principles of local control and increased state and national standards (what we refer to simply as standardization) are shaping the policy and practice of Wisconsin's preK system, known as 4K. We argue that rational models of policy making fail to explain the coexistence and blending of the strands of local control and standardization we found in our data, and suggest that Deborah Stone's (2001) policy paradox provides a better theoretical framework for our findings.

Descriptors: School District Autonomy, Accountability, Case Studies, Preschool Education, Educational Policy, Public Policy, State Standards, National Standards, Policy Formation, Models, State Policy, Educational Change, Public Education, Politics of Education, Educational History, Semi Structured Interviews, Stakeholders, Policy Analysis, Program Implementation

Colleges of Education at Arizona State University and the University of South Florida. c/o Editor, USF EDU162, 4202 East Fowler Avenue, Tampa, FL 33620-5650. Tel: 813-974-3400; Fax: 813-974-3826; Web site: http://epaa.asu.edu

Author: Graue, M. Elizabeth; Wilinski, Bethany; Nocera, Amato

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=1258&id=EJ1103349


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