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Money, Mandates, and Local Control in American Public Education
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"This book is outstanding. . . . [N]o one has delved into the issue of school financing with such depth, data, and thoughtful analysis. It is simply the best in the field." ---Susan B. Neuman, University of Michigan, and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education "The most pressing question in American education today is how to allocate school financing and policy-making responsibility among local, state, and national governments. Bryan Shelly's valuable book sheds new light on this question and should be of great interest not only to those who study education policy, but also to scholars of federalism, public finance, and public policy more generally." ---Patrick McGuinn, Drew University "Bryan Shelly offers an insightful and persuasive analysis of the relationship between centralized funding and local control in American public education. His findings---of 'local control' as a reified ideal and political weapon in the politics of redistribution, and of the power of unfunded mandates operating at the margins of local school budgets---will provide a welcome addition to the study of the politics of school finance in the United States." ---Scott Abernathy, University of Minnesota Pointing to the disparities between wealthy and impoverished school districts in areas where revenue depends primarily upon local taxes, reformers repeatedly call for the centralization of school funding. Their proposals meet resistance from citizens, elected officials, and school administrators who fear the loss of local autonomy. Bryan Shelly finds, however, that local autonomy has already been compromised by federal and state governments, which exercise a tremendous amount of control over public education despite their small contribution to a school system's funding. This disproportionate relationship between funding and control allows state and federal officials to pass education policy yet excuses them from supplying adequate funding for new programs. The resulting unfunded and underfunded mandates and regulations, Shelly insists, are the true cause of the loss of community control over public education. Shelly outlines the effects of the most infamous of underfunded federal mandates, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), and explores why schools implemented it despite its unpopularity and out-of-pocket costs. Shelly's findings hold significant implications for school finance reform, NCLB, and the future of intergovernmental relations. Jacket photograph: ©

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Contents
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. 1. Equity and Control in School Funding
  2. pp. 1-16
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  1. 2. Mechanical Advantage? : How the Piper Link May Work
  2. pp. 17-30
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  1. 3. The More Money We Come Upon : Finance Centralized and Negative Local Autonomy
  2. pp. 31-46
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  1. 4. Sharks and Wolverines : The Effect of School Finance Centralization in Vermont and Michigan
  2. pp. 47-89
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  1. 5. Taxes and Tocqueville : Local Control and Public Opinion in School Finance Reform
  2. pp. 90-118
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  1. 6. What Boiled the Frog : Unfunded Mandates and the Real Problem with Centralized-Level Funding
  2. pp. 119-131
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  1. 7. No Child Left Behind and the Power of 5 Percent
  2. pp. 132-154
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  1. 8. Brave New World : Local Control and the Future of American Education
  2. pp. 155-166
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 167-178
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  1. References
  2. pp. 179-192
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 193-200
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