Course: Designating Control
as you will continue to refer to it throughout your program.)
While the topic for this paper is set for you, reading chapter 4 in Who Says? The Writer�s Research
(Holdstein & Aquiline, 2016) will help you with clearly and articulately crafting the thesis for your paper.
This is seminal to setting the stage for an effective argument in your paper. Review the material closely
and spend time ensuring that you have written a quality thesis for your assignment. (Please keep this text
According to the articles in your assigned readings, the most significant question considering all three
groups of stakeholders is: Who should be in charge? More specifically, context is provided to argue
where control should be assigned. Proponents of local control believe control belongs at the district level
through oversight of school boards and teacher unions. Opponents of local control believe administration
oversight belongs to state departments and political offices.
Write a 3- to 4-page argument about where control of educational issues belongs. You may argue for
state and federal control, local control, or a compromise between the two.
I have attached this weeks readings.
DESIGNATING CONTROL 2
Opinion is divided on the level of control that should be exacted on schools. While some
point at local control as the most appropriate way of managing schools, others vouch for state or
national control of schools vis-à-vis political offices. Both groups of course have well-founded
and solid reasons that inform heir standpoints. Apart from giving out reasons for their
standpoints, statistical data are adduced to inform their persuasion, as shall be seen in the ensuing
discourse. Schools are best managed when under a mixture of both local or district and national
control, in lieu of strictly national control.
There are several reasons that inform the need for mixing local and national control,
rather than solely focusing on national control of schools. For one, although there are experts and
observers who argue that standardized and centralized educational policies promote effectiveness
in school performance, yet much evidence shows that most significant improvements are
registered when more responsibility is bestowed upon individual schools.
It is also a well known fact that national or federal control also readily comes with
sluggish bureaucracy and self-contradicting regulations and goals which are not automatically or
readily domesticatable to the varying multiple local contexts. For instance, educationists have
encountered firsthand, multiple situations wherein state policies which had been designed to
facilitate curricular alignment with statewide tests contradicted wit policies that had been
implemented to attract and consolidate outstanding teachers who needed the chance to hone their
DESIGNATING CONTROL 3
skills, creativity and independence. Again, the fact of states being emphatic on standardized
exams narrows the educational curriculum, just as Greene (2004) points out.
One other factor which necessitates the integration of local and national control of
schools is funding. Most of the funding for schools is from the national government as local
governments cannot sufficiently fund the schools under their jurisdictions. Equally, it is
contradictory to argue for national intervention in the funding of schools while opposing the very
idea when it comes to management. Funding schools automatically makes the national
government a major stakeholder and should therefore be accompanied with the power to oversee
the management of these schools. According to Hess and Meeks (2010), it is therefore important
that even as the board takes charge over the affairs of local schools carry out their duties, they
should be answerable to the federal or national government for accountability.
The need to integrate local and national control over schools is further underpinned by
the perennial presence of the shared moral order between local and national government. Both
the local and national government are interested in ensuring the inculcation of necessary skills
and knowledge and certain values in the learners who are to eventually make up the nation’s
workforce. Delivering this ultimate goal therefore demands that the national government through
its departments and offices works together with the local boards and local education authorities.
The proposition that there be a balance between local and state control of schools is
underscored by the need to nurture higher standards while encouraging local initiatives and
teacher creativity. A way in which this feat can be achieved is by having the state emphasize its
desire and calculated outcomes broadly without making prescriptions on procedures and content
in detail. This will leave local schools to be bound to a common core of skills and knowledge,
and thereby allowing the schools develop their own unique characters or identity, while pursuing
DESIGNATING CONTROL 4
shared educational goals. The California School Improvement Program (SIP) aptly exemplifies
this proposal. SIP is a comprehensive effort which nurtures responsibility through goal-setting
and self-assessment processes.
Educationalists such as Ambach (2004) rightly observe that another effective way
in which local and national control can be merged to ensure effective management and control of
schools is by having local boards to be more instrumental and assertive policymakers who
assume the duty of ratifying federal and state mandates, direct supervisory and managerial
functions of educational directors and craft the standards for educational excellence, on the one
hand. On the other hand, the boards can make their roles more powerful and much stronger by
clarifying their own policies and goals, reviewing and amending their own policies,
acknowledging key areas of policy-making and administration, undertaking and facilitating
systematic training for individual members of the board.
It will therefore also be incumbent upon the local boards to work hand-in-hand with all
the stakeholders such as teacher organizations to help generate more tenable state education
policies, rather than merely reacting to state-founded proposals.
From the foregoing, it is therefore clear that education is too sacrosanct to be left in the
sole control of the national or local government. The shared values that are vested in education,
funding, the need to manage teachers effectively without interfering with their creativity and
productivity, the need for schools to cultivate and consolidate their unique identity are all factors
that do not only define comprehensive management of schools, but also unequivocally call for a
collaborative integration of local and national direction.
DESIGNATING CONTROL 5
Ambach, G. M. (2004). State and Local Action for Education in New York. Phi
Delta Kappan 86: 202-04.
Greene, B. Z. (2004). Curriculum: The Board’s Role. Updating School Board
Policies 25 (1984): 1-3. ED 239-418.
Hess, F. M. & Meeks, O. (2010). Governance in the Accountability Era: School
Boards Circa 2010. The National School Boards Association.