This is a volume in the series: Research in Education Policy: Local, National, and Global Perspectives. Editor(s): Kenneth K. Wong, Brown University.
Federalism has played a central role in charting educational progress in many countries. With an evolving balance between centralization and decentralization, federalism is designed to promote accountability standards without tempering regional and local preferences. Federalism facilitates negotiations both vertically between the central authority and local entities as well as horizontally among diverse interests. Innovative educational practices are often validated by a few local entities prior to scaling up to the national level. Because of the division of revenue sources between central authority and decentralized entities, federalism encourages a certain degree of fiscal competition at the local and regional level. The balance of centralization and decentralization also varies across institutional and policy domains, such as the legislative framework for education, drafting of curricula, benchmarking for accountability, accreditation, teacher training, and administrative responsibilities at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels.
Given these critical issues in federalism and education, this volume examines ongoing challenges and policy strategies in ten countries, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States. These chapters and the introductory overview aim to examine how countries with federal systems of government design, govern, finance, and assure quality in their educational systems spanning from early childhood to secondary school graduation. Particular attention is given to functional division between governmental layers of the federal system as well as mechanisms of intergovernmental cooperation both vertically and horizontally. The chapters aim to draw out comparative lessons and experiences in an area of great importance to not only federal countries but also countries that are emerging toward a federal system.