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Centralization Versus Decentralization

Centralization in the context of education policy refers to shifting the locus of decision-making authority for school administration and funding from local educational authorities to a more centralized level. This could entail the shift from individual schools to a national educational agency or in the case of the United States from local school districts to state governments. Decentralization refers to a shift in the opposite direction, from central to more localized authorities. Many salient policy issues about the role of government versus markets in educational provision entail debates about the merits of centralization versus decentralization. This entry illustrates issues in the definition and description of centralization and decentralization. It then turns to the variation in trends in each direction throughout the world and details the ...

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