This paper looks at practitioners’ capacities to learn from policy. Although policy researchers have for some time asserted that local capacity is critical in enacting policy reforms, few have defined this capacity. We examine and define some of the capacities that are key to local educators’ efforts to enact ambitious reform proposals in South Carolina. These reforms propose giving local educators greater control over curricular and instructional decisions and a more challenging pedagogy for all students. We raise questions about the effects of policy when it requires local school systems with unequal capacities to take on the authority state policymakers seem so eager to give them.
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