Education Reform and the Limits of Policy: Lessons from Michigan


While there is no doubt that an abundance of newly enacted education policies abounds across the state and across the nation, more fundamental questions remain. What is the nature of these reforms? What do they hope to accomplish? How successful have they been? In this book, we attempt to provide some answers to these questions by examining a major set of education policy reforms undertaken in Michigan and across the country over the past 20 or more years. These innovations include finance reform, state assessment of student performance, a series of school accountability measures, charter schools, schools of choice, and, for Detroit, a bevy of oft-conflicting policies and reform efforts that have belabored but seldom helped its public schools. In the pages that follow, we examine the decidedly mixed outcomes and effects of this large array of reform policies and programs. Each chapter addresses a specific policy area, outlining reform activity across the nation with an emphasis on Michigan's efforts as well as on one or two states that led these changes.


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