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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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Redefining Parents’ Rights

Redefining Parents’ Rights

(p.162) 8 Redefining Parents’ Rights
The Fight for Local Control

Campbell F. Scribner

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses how campaigns for local control of curriculum surged nationwide in the late 1970s. Conservatives often championed both the rights of school boards and those of individual parents, combining two seemingly contradictory interpretations of local control—one based on the principle of majority rule and the other on minority rights. These positions began to diverge during the late 1970s as courts limited the ability of local majorities to determine curriculum and strengthened the rights of individual parents, students, and teachers. The legal shift decoupled not only conflicting notions of democracy but the conservative movement's “radical” and “respectable” segments as well.

Keywords:   local control, curriculum, parents' rights, democracy, conservative movement

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