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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 Exurban Exchange

The Exurban Exchange

(p.57) 3 The Exurban Exchange
The Fight for Local Control

Campbell F. Scribner

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the impact of suburbanization on rural school districts and looks at the invocation of local control to oppose court-ordered busing for racial desegregation. The history of metropolitan busing in Wisconsin offers a particularly clear example of conservatives' conflation of rural and suburban school policy. Although the Wisconsin (Rural) Schools Association failed to stop the consolidation of rural districts during the 1950s, a decade later it gained popularity among suburbanites in Oshkosh, Green Bay, and Milwaukee with its pledge “to oppose the relentless disruption of our present school system.” When Milwaukee tried to install a race-based busing program in 1975, the Brookfield city council insisted that if “suburban home rule” were not preserved, villages and school districts in adjacent counties would be “consolidated, attached, dismembered, or reduced” at the whim of urban politicians.

Keywords:   suburbanization, rural school districts, local control, racial desegregation, race-based busing, metropolitan busing, suburban school policy, rural school policy

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