This chapter argues there is always the possibility of conflict, among the preferences of policymakers who define the purposes of public education, the taxpayers who pay for it, parents who surrender their children to it, and educators who are paid to deliver it. These conflicts are inevitable and can never be fully resolved, but they can be managed in any time period through agreements about rules and processes for making decisions and managing services. These rules, processes, and methods of managing conflict are governance. In the United States, governance arrangements are accidents of history: as a result they including competing and sometimes inconsistent roles for the federal, state, and local governments, for the courts. Teachers unions, which in some states are monopoly providers of teachers and strongly influence their terms of employment, are also part of governance. This chapter details the harms of our current governance system and the need for an alternative It summarizes earlier unsuccessful efforts to rationalize governance, and shows how they have fallen short. Finally, it introduces five criteria which any new governance system must be designed to meet: Efficient (both effective and productive); Equitable; Transparent; Accountable; and Democratic
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