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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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The Long History of School District Consolidation

The Long History of School District Consolidation

(p.35) 2 The Long History of School District Consolidation
The Fight for Local Control

Campbell F. Scribner

Cornell University Press

This chapter outlines the history of rural school consolidation, which began in the 1890s but remained contested seventy-five years later, long enough for suburban newcomers to clash and then cooperate on the issue with their rural neighbors. The legal and political success of consolidation campaigns enabled states to assert a new role in education, one that was in no way confined to rural areas. Bureaucratic supervision, judicial arbitration, and rising expectations for school funding and administration would become central to later debates about educational opportunity in cities and suburbs. Indeed, the successful consolidation of rural school districts implied that states had both the right and the responsibility to mitigate inequalities between other districts.

Keywords:   rural school consolidation, rural education, rural school districts, educational opportunity

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