I bring to this essay a dual perspective: that of the federal education official and that of the local school district administrator. As a practitioner in urban schools I have been employed as a teacher, principal, district superintendent, superintendent of schools, and presently as deputy chancellor for instruction in the New York City public schools. As a federal education official, I worked in the Carter administration as assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education. Through both roles, I have developed strong beliefs that federal involvement in elementary and secondary education has resulted in increased access to education for all individuals and groups in our society; in the improvement of teaching and learning at the local level; in increased capacity to support and provide leadership at the state and local levels; and in developing, identifying, evaluating, and disseminating exemplary, research-based, educational practices nationwide.
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