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The Fight for Local ControlSchools, Suburbs, and American Democracy$
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Campbell F. Scribner

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501700804

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501700804.001.0001

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A Past Found

A Past Found

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction A Past Found
Source:
The Fight for Local Control
Author(s):

Campbell F. Scribner

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501700804.003.0001

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the interrelated changes in the United States' metropolitan landscape during the postwar era, which in turn explain the origins and evolution of local school governance. Across the country, the convergence of rural school consolidation and suburban growth generated conflicts over school board representation and building renovations. Yet these disagreements faded as rural and suburban residents discovered a common interest in the local control of schools. Faced with encroachment from growing cities and a growing regulatory state, outlying school districts offered conservatives what contemporaries on the Left might have called a “usable past”: a language, symbolism, and authenticity—and most importantly a grounded legal basis—for renewed assertions of local government. As these districts became flash points in struggles against state oversight, they established precedents for the autonomy of all suburban communities.

Keywords:   local school governance, rural schools, suburban growth, local government, state oversight, suburban communities

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