Systemwide Education Reform:

Federal Leadership Could Facilitate District-Level Efforts

T-HRD-93-20: Published: May 4, 1993. Publicly Released: May 4, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed systemwide education reform, focusing on four districts' experiences and the federal government's potential role in systemwide educational reform. GAO noted that: (1) education reforms which could improve student achievement include linking educational components together and setting national student achievement standards; (2) school districts have developed standards for students at all grade levels; (3) linking student assessments to district curricula is a key component of district instructional reform efforts; (4) systemwide reform requires long-term vision and commitment, sufficient technical assistance, teacher support and involvement in setting standards and curricula, new and broader assessment methods to measure student achievement, and federal programs that support systemwide reforms; (5) although linking educational system components promotes student achievement assessment and enables school personnel to work together, the federal government and states need to allocate greater resources, establish a long-term commitment to education, and overcome financial difficulties; and (6) Congress needs to support development of high national educational standards, ensure technical assistance is available to implement reforms, reexamine and make appropriate changes to federal educational programs that foster reforms, and disseminate information on successful reform efforts.

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