Battling Corruption in America’s Public Schools

Battling Corruption in America's Public SchoolsBattling Corruption in America’s Public Schools by Lydia G. Segal. Published by Northeastern University Press, 2004. 257 pages.

Parents and educators alike tire of reading exposes on corruption and waste in big city school districts. Unfortunately, corruption and waste continue no matter how many “reforms” and “controls” are put in place. Why is there big city school corruption and why is it so difficult to root out?

The author, a lawyer who worked on the Special Commission of Investigations for the New York City Schools, gives the specifics of the extent of corruption, why it occurs, its many forms, and why it is so persistent. Her experiences were mainly in New York but she has studied several other big school districts and draws numerous examples from them as well.

Unfortunately, in discussing ways to address these critical issues, the author becomes more vague and theoretical. Deep-rooted corruption in a small number of districts reflects badly on public education everywhere and needs to be stopped. Perhaps this survey of the problem is a start.

– Bob Sibert