The Iowa Education System : Do We Really Have What We Need? Do We Need What We Have?
Yelick, Cindy M.
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Despite multiple school reform efforts in recent years, none has considered the impact of the structure of the Iowa Education governance system on what happens in schools. This qualitative study investigated organizational roles and the relationships between Area Education Agencies, The State Board/State Department of Education, local school boards and their districts, institutions of higher education, and the State Legislature. Knowledgeable informants were also asked for recommendations on how to improve the system. The findings were organized first by organization and then by entire system. The discussion of these findings interwoven with the literature indicated several factors which impact the system and its future. Iowa highly valued local control yet education was becoming an increasingly important part of state politics. There was a lack collaboration across the system. No person, or organization, was responsible for the system as a whole. There was no clear answer on how to best redesign the system, but there were clues on where to begin. Three broad conclusions were drawn. First, the system had developed over decades, but with no real direction for interorganizational collaboration. Second, increased system alignment was valued, but it may not be a solution. Third, a deep belief in local control was juxtaposed with the support of a centrally controlled system. while Iowa's system was working, it was not clear that all pieces of the system were needed as they were currently constructed.
ii, 82 leaves. Advisor: Aubrey Pearre Johnston.