Who makes which decisions?
In the United States, authority on educational matters is distributed across federal, state, and local boundaries. Decision makers include elected officials, state and federal bureaucrats, school boards, administrators, textbook committees, parents, teacher unions, and individual classroom teachers. What happens in the classroom and what children learn is shaped by all these players, who can sometimes be at odds with one another. Think about the following questions as they relate to your school or community:
Questions for parents to consider today:
- Who makes decisions about curriculum, textbook selection, testing, and graduation requirements?
- Who is responsible for hiring teachers and establishing teacher pay and benefits?
- Who decides how and when to discipline students?
- Who makes decisions about special education?
- Who is best qualified to make decisions in the interest of all students?
- Does everyone in your community with an interest in local education have access to the decision makers?
- Which voices tend to have the most influence? How has this changed over the years?
- At which level - local, state, or federal - are key decisions made that impact student learning and teachers jobs?
- In what areas should each of the following have decision-making authority? Teachers? Principals? Parents? Students? School committees?
- How much influence do textbook companies have on setting the curricula in your schools?
- How do your communitys local tax policies affect education in your community?