Low wealth localities pose special challenges to centralized officials seeking to raise pupil performance. Similarly, there are concerns about the effects of high local taxes on the ability and willingness of localities to respond positively to centrally developed increased performance standards. The New York State Board of Regents recently funded a study that examines decision making processes and accountability mechanisms within low wealth and high taxation school districts. In this article, the authors report what has been learned from this study about these districts. They place their findings in the larger context of what needs to be known about the use of indicator data to improve the accountability of schooling-units. The research offers insights into how communities cope with exceptionally limited wealth bases and the attendant upward pressures on local tax rates. The article concludes with a discussion about implications.
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