This compelling new book asks: How can American education policy be consistent with democratic ideals? Robust democracy is the combination of participation, self-rule, equality, understanding, and inclusion, but these norms can produce contradictory policy. Local control in education policy can undermine educational equality. Participation in teachers unions can improve working conditions but thwart self-rule by local taxpayers. The Democratic Dilemma of American Education draws on contemporary research in political science and education policy to offer remarkably balanced insights into these challenging issues. Expertly navigating through local, state, and federal layers of education policy, Arnold Shober examines contemporary controversies over education governance, teachers unions and collective bargaining, school funding, school choice, academic accountability, and desegregation. Shober describes the inherent practical dilemmas of current policy and the difficulties policymakers face in overcoming them to produce lasting educational reform in a democratic, federal system of government. Timely, engaging, and accessible, this is the ideal resource for courses in public policy as well as education and politics.
1. Out of Many, One? Public Policy Democratic Norms Conclusion Suggested Readings 2. Structuring Democracy in American Education Governing American Education Federal Institutions State Institutions Local Institutions School Institutions Conclusion Suggested Readings 3. Including Americans The Problem: What's Race Got to Do with It? Healing Hearts Through Desegregation … Or Healing Minds Through Academic Achievement? Evaluating Federal Action Conclusion Suggested Readings 4. When Equity Is Not Adequate The Problem: Provision or Production? Measuring Policy Effectiveness: Inputs, Outputs, and Outcomes From Financial Equity to Adequacy Inequity and Its Remedies Conclusion Suggested Readings 5. Participation and the Picket Line Growth of Group Politics in Education Group Benefits and Contemporary Teachers' Unions Contesting Union Strength Unions and Merit Pay: Teaching for Results Conclusion Suggested Readings 6. Understanding History, Understanding Students Defining Understanding Parents, Puritans, and Progressives National or Federal Understanding? The Growth of Curriculum Standards Conclusion Suggested Readings 7. Self-Rule and Structuring Success Education's Toll Road School Choice as Self-Rule Conclusion Suggested Readings 8. Devolving the Dilemma? Inclusion Equity Participation Understanding Self-Rule Out of Many, One? Appendix: Timeline of American Educational Policy