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The record of American public education is characterized by sporadic alterations between centralization and decentralization of influence and control. In times of greater centralized authority, large managerial structures such as state and local boards of education maintain control over educational decision making and management. When the trend swings toward decentralization, much of this power shifts to smaller managerial units such as smaller schools and an array of school councils.

During the last 20 years or so, educational systems in the United States have been evolving from largely centralized to more decentralized structures. In fact, virtually all jurisdictions have laws in place that either mandate or permit decentralization, whether at the state (or commonwealth) level as in Kentucky or on a district level as in Chicago. While ...

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