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Not just location: LEAs and inequalities among schools

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Purpose - With growing decentralization, local education authorities (LEAs) face new tasks and responsibilities in providing schools with administrative services and resources. This study aims to use a multilevel framework to assess the extent to which LEAs differentially affect the provision of resources and administrative services to schools, and the differential extent to which organizational effectiveness and LEAs' corporate social capital account for between-LEA variation in these outcomes. Design/methodology/approach - Using an Israeli national sample of 464 schools in 76 LEAs, the study uses an HLM methodology to test which of the two theoretical models best fits the data. Findings - The analysis reveals that background characteristics of a locale are not related to administrative services and resources that LEAs provide to schools in their jurisdiction. In contrast, LEAs do differentially affect these services and resources, with the variables of organizational effectiveness accounting for most of the observed inter-LEA inequalities. Research limitations/implications - The study is based on cross-sectional design, therefore precludes any causal definitive conclusions. Originality/value - The study concludes by suggesting that inequalities in LEAs' organizational capacities trickle down to the school level and LEAS are important organizational units in any attempt to curb inequality of service to students.
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Keywords: Decentralized Control; Israel; Local Authorities; Schools

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2005

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