Flexibility and Accountability in Public Education
James E. Ryan
University of Virginia School of Law
UVA School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 02-20
This article examines what has become the dominant paradigm in education law and policy at both the state and federal level. The paradigm rests on the seductively simple idea that schools should be given greater flexibility in exchange for greater accountability for results. Although quite popular, this paradigm remains largely abstract and unexamined. This article begins by explaining the rise of the flexibility-for-accountability paradigm, which is largely a story of the modern standards movement and the modern school choice movement. After describing the current approach to balancing the two principles, it then explores alternative approaches to both accountability and flexibility, largely in an effort to demonstrate that these principles or concepts are remarkably complicated and capacious. There are, for example, numerous actors who could be held accountable and a number of different bases on which to hold them accountable, and there are a number of ways in which schools, teachers, administrators, parents, and students could be given flexibility or autonomy. Education law and policy currently advance some forms of accountability and flexibility, but not others, and the article suggests that the current balance is not optimal. The last part of the article considers whether there might be a coherent and principled way to think about how best to combine these two partially compatible and partially competing goals.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 71working papers series
Date posted: November 30, 2002
© 2013 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This page was processed by apollo4 in 0.671 seconds