Under attack are closed, professional decision making by government bureaucracy, disempowerment of local stakeholders and low student achievement levels.
As the most highly centralized educational system in the U.S., Hawai'i attempted to change the structure of governance from a highly centralized to shared decision-making model with the passage of Act 51
(HRS, 2004) and charter school legislation (Act 272,
SLH, 1994). This legislation attempted to generate changes in beliefs and cultural paradigms at the school level in spite of a number of studies indicating the difficulty in implementing reforms that increase democratic decision making in a state where structures for grass-roots political participation are lacking.
This work consists of a historical review of
Hawai'i's experience with educational decentralization, and attempts to discern how the rhetoric of school governance change at the systemic level translates into changes in practices at local school levels.