Governance is the configuration of power and decision-making authority in a given context. More specifically, the study of governance is the study of the policies, structures, and practices, which determine that configuration of power and authority.

The phrase can be used at various levels within public education. For example, state governance often refers to state policies that authorize school districts, charter schools, online learning options, and others to provide public education in that state. District governance often refers to how decision-making authority is held (for example, by an elected school board, mayoral control, etc.) and delegated (for example, through autonomous schools and pilot schools) to individual schools within a district.