Battling Corruption in America's Public Schools / Edition 1

Battling Corruption in America's Public Schools / Edition 1

5.0 2
by Lydia G. Segal
     
 

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ISBN-10: 1555535844

ISBN-13: 9781555535841

Pub. Date: 11/14/2003

Publisher: Northeastern University Press

Introducing a brand new perspective on why our public schools are failing and what to do about it, Lydia Segal reveals how systemic waste and corruption cripple education and offers a feasible prescription for how to tackle their root causes and reclaim our schools.

This eye-opening book exposes how embedded waste and fraud deplete classroom resources, block

Overview

Introducing a brand new perspective on why our public schools are failing and what to do about it, Lydia Segal reveals how systemic waste and corruption cripple education and offers a feasible prescription for how to tackle their root causes and reclaim our schools.

This eye-opening book exposes how embedded waste and fraud deplete classroom resources, block initiative, and distort educational priorities and explains how to remedy the problem. Drawing on extensive interviews and investigative research in America's three largest districts, New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago, Segal argues that the problem is not usually bad people, but a bad system that focuses on process at the expense of results. She shows how regulations that were established to curb waste and fraud provide perverse incentives. Districts following rules designed to save every penny spend thousands of dollars to hunt down checks for amounts as small as $25. To fix leaky toilets, caring principals may have to pay workers under the table because submitting a work order through the central office, with its many fraud checks, could take years. Meanwhile, those who pilfer from classrooms may get away because the pyramidal structure of large districts makes schools inherently difficult to oversee.

Drawing on initiatives in successful districts, Segal offers pragmatic solutions and a detailed blueprint for reform. She calls for radically restructuring districts, empowering principals, and establishing new, less stifling forms of accountability that put a premium on performance.

As reformers grapple with the dismal state of education in America, this timely work offers a bold, far-reaching plan for improving public schools.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781555535841
Publisher:
Northeastern University Press
Publication date:
11/14/2003
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Diagramsix
Forewordxi
Prefacexiii
Acknowledgmentsxvii
Introduction: Corruption and the Future of America's Great City Schoolsxix
Part IThe Pathology: Laying the Record Bare
1.Public Education as Big Business3
2.Charting Corruption, Waste, and Abuse13
3.Where the Money Goes24
4.The Toll on Education28
Part IIThe Remedies Tried: The Frenzied Search for Accountability
5.The Quest for Accountability41
6.The Centralization Mess53
Part IIIThe Diagnosis: Getting to the Root Causes
7.Toward a Theory of School Waste and Fraud63
8.Watching the Pennies but Missing the Millions73
9.The Cost of Managerial Paralysis87
10.Creative Noncompliance: Informal Power Networks101
11.When Anticorruption Machinery Breeds Corruption109
Part IVThe Wrong Medication: How Not to Fix the Problem
12.Lessons from Local Political School Control119
13.Lessons from Bureaucratic Autonomy133
14.Lessons from Resistance to Reform140
Part VThe Prescription: How to Fix the Problem
15.Establishing Independent Inspectors General155
16.Removing the Dominant Coalition164
17.Restructuring School Districts to Push Power Downward170
18.The Model of Edmonton, Canada177
19.Loosened Top-Down Controls and Trust187
Notes197
References229
Index251

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Battling Corruption in America's Public Schools 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Battling Corruption in America¿s Public Schools by Lydia Segal is a true eye opener and a call to action. As a mother of two from one of the richest counties in New Jersey, my property taxes are sky-high. I had always been told that the bulk of our taxes went to public school classrooms. If true, that would have been fine. But I always doubted that it was true. It just did not jibe with the inferior conditions in my children¿s public schools ¿ the lack of essential services, absence of well-trained personnel, substandard computers,etc. After years of frustration, I finally enrolled my children in private school, even though it is financially difficult. But I never stopped wondering what really happened to our school tax dollars. It was only after reading this excellent and insightful book by Lydia Segal that I began to understand where the money went and grasp the source and the magnitude of the problem. The book filled me with outrage and made me feel that we all need to act now to stop the appalling waste and abuse that Segal so vividly describes for the sake of all our children. Anyone who is a parent, a guardian of a schoolchild, or who cares about public education should read this book. It is the only way people will know what is really going on in their school system underneath all the spin. The book covers over five city school districts in depth, but I have no doubt that the truths it exposes apply to virtually every city school system in the United States. I was lucky because I managed to muster up the money to enroll my kids in private school. But I worry about all the children whose frustrated parents cannot afford this. After reading Lydia Segal¿s book, I would tell everyone ¿ your first step must be to read this book! We need to understand what is wrong in order to be able to fix it. This book is not only an eye opener for those who wonder about the source and nature of the problems in America¿s school systems, it¿s also an eye opener for those who seek real solutions. Segal outlines how a number of school districts across North America have reduced waste and fraud and made sure the money actually went to serve children. She shows exactly what these districts did, step by step. If they can do it, so can we! Segal¿s book is a true contribution to all concerned parents and a gift to our children ¿ for which we can truly thank her. I urge everyone who cares about children to read this powerful account and join forces in pushing for the implementation of Segal¿s astute and practical solutions.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a page-turner. It is chock-full of fascinating and shocking information and insights presented in a well-organized, entertaining way. The book made me feel indignant about how money is siphoned away from the classroom through waste and abuse. The author rightly says that the problem is 'not bad people' but a 'bad system' that invites abuse. This book is a cry for help to all of us -- parents, teachers, counselors, citizens, union workers, politicians -- to support the author's recommendations and fix the problems described. I think this is a must-read for anyone who cares about our children's education.