School-Based Management

A COMMONLY PRACTICED form of choice is that of school-based management (SBM). SBM (also known as democraticization and school empowerment) is a direct response to the overburdened, district-level bureaucracy. Under SBM, the powers of reform-making and implementation are relegated to the individual schools, uniting teachers and administrators, as well as parents and students, in the hope of fostering locally determined, majority mandated reform. In Chicago, for example, local school councils (LSC's) were formed within the schools in 1989. The LSC's were then given the prerogative of leading reform efforts within that community. In other words, decisions are made from the bottom up, with consensus assisting in the decision making process. Currently there are almost 550 groups with over 12,000 members. An evaluation by Hess (1994) reports that the LSC's successfully created 'add-on' programs, such as after school music classes, increased multicultural planning, and expanded summer school offerings, with greater levels of change occurring within lower-income schools.

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