Site-Based Management (SBM)

MANY OF THE CURRENT EFFORTS in management reform stem from a broad category of efforts known as Site-Based Management, (sometimes School-Based Management) or SBM. SBM is a direct response to the overburdened bureaucracy at the state and district levels. Under SBM, the powers of reform-making and implementation are relegated to the individual schools, uniting teachers and administrators, as well as parents and students, in the hope of fostering locally determined, majority mandated reform. Schools implementing SBM create special councils in which all management decisions are made. According to Market Data Retrieval, 73% of US schools have implemented some form of site-based management, up 36% from 1997. In many communities, SBM has also led to other reform efforts including teacher professionalization and merit pay programs.

In Chicago, for example, local school councils (LSC's) were formed within the schools in 1989. The LSC's were then given the prerogative of leading reform efforts within that community. In other words, decisions are made from the bottom up, with consensus assisting in the decision making process. Currently there are almost 550 groups with over 12,000 members. Chicago's LSC's successfully created 'add-on' programs, such as after school music classes, increased multicultural planning, and expanded summer school offerings, with greater levels of change occurring within lower-income schools.

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