Should public schools have more autonomy?

A significant achievement gap exists between white students and students of color: 70 percent of white students graduate in four years, but for African-American and Latino students it’s less than 37 percent. Only a quarter of American Indian students graduate on time.

“In the latest effort to boost student performance, the Minneapolis school district wants to give more autonomy to individual schools,” writes MPR News reporter Tim Post.

“Under the effort schools would have discretion over budgeting, hiring, scheduling and curriculum.

“It’s not exactly a new idea: School districts across the country have experimented with similar systems over the last 15 years, and researchers say the results so far have been mixed.”

“If you’re going to hold principals and teachers accountable for their results, you’ve got to get them the freedom to do what’s right,” said Christine Campbell, a senior research analyst and policy director at the University of Washington’s Center for Reinventing Public Education. “Otherwise, they’re simply implementing the mandates of the district, and somehow it’s their fault that it didn’t work.”

Today’s Question: Should public schools have more autonomy?