Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 January 2009
The purpose of this essay is to examine aspects of educational policy-making at the local level in the USA. I shall present some empirical evidence to support the claims that local control by citizens is an illusion rather than a reality and that the professional educators have a large measure of discretion in determining the organization of education in their local communities. The evidence is adduced from an intensive study of the budgetary process in four school districts and in essence shows that the size of the community is not a causative factor in determining the nature of control; nor is the form of government – namely town or city – found to have any appreciable effect upon the extent of citizen participation or control.
1 Marris, P. and Rein, M., Dilemmas of Social Reform, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.Google Scholar
7 Pois, J., The School Board Crisis, Chicago: Educational Methods Inc., 1964Google Scholar; Gittell, M., Participants and Participation, New York: Center for Urban Education, 1966Google Scholar; Gittell, M. and Beruhe, M. (eds.), Confrontation at Oceanhill-Brownsville, New York: Praeger, 1969Google Scholar; Gittell, M. and Hollander, T. E., Six Demonstration School Districts, New York: Praeger, 1968Google Scholar; Schrag, P., Village School Downtown, Boston: Beacon, 1967Google Scholar; Rogers, D., 110 Livingston Street, New York: Vintage Books, 1969Google Scholar; Levin, , op. cit.Google Scholar
8 Martin, R. C., Government and the Suburban School, Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 1962Google Scholar; Kerr, N., ‘The School Board as an Agent of Legitimation’, Fall, Sociology of Education, 1964, Vol. 38, pp. 34–59Google Scholar; Rosenthal, A. (ed.), Governing Education, New York: Doubleday, 1968Google Scholar; Summerfield, H.. The Neighborhood Based Politics of Education, Columbus, Ohio: Merrill, 1971.Google Scholar
10 Kirst, M. and Wirt, F., The Political Web of American Schools, Boston: Little Brown, 1971.Google Scholar
13 Campbell, R. et al. , The Organization and Control of American Schools, Columbus, Ohio: Merrill, 1967.Google Scholar
14 Coons, J., Clune, W. H. and Sugarman, B., Private Wealth and Public Education, Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap, 1970.Google Scholar
16 Bailey, S. and Mosher, E., ESEA: The Office of Education administers a law, Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 1967.Google Scholar
19 Martin, , op. cit.Google Scholar; James, H. T. et al. , Determination of Educational Expenditures in Large Cities of the USA, Stanford, California: School of Education, 1966Google Scholar; Gittell, , op. cit.Google Scholar; Rosenthal, A., Pedagogues and Power, Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 1969.Google Scholar
20 op. cit.
21 Lipset, S. M., Political Man, London: Heinemann, 1959Google Scholar; Almond, G. and Verba, S., The Civic Culture, Boston: Little Brown, 1965Google Scholar; Dahl, R. A., Who Governs?, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1957Google Scholar; Alford, R. A., Bureaucracy and Participation, Chicago: Rand McNally, 1969Google Scholar; Lipsky, M., Protest in City Politics, Chicago: Rand McNally, 1969.Google Scholar
22 Hunter, F., The Community Power Structure, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1953Google Scholar; Mills, C. W., The Power Elite, New York: Free Press, 1956Google Scholar; Coleman, J., Community Conflict, Glencoe: The Free Press, 1957Google Scholar; Vidich, A. and Bensman, J., Small Town in Mass Society, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1958Google Scholar; Gans, H., The Levittowners, New York: Pantheon, 1967Google Scholar; Polsby, N., Community Power and Political Theory, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1963.Google Scholar
24 Meltsker, A. J. and Wildavsky, A., ‘Leave City Budgeting Alone’, in Crecine, J., Financing the Metropolis, Chicago: Aldine, 1968.Google Scholar
25 op. cit.
26 op. cit.
27 op. cit.
28 Bachrach, P. and Baratz, M., Power and Poverty: Theory and Practice, London: Oxford University Press, 1970Google Scholar; Wildavsky, A., The Politics of Budgetary Process, Boston: Little Brown, 1964Google Scholar; Lindblom, C. and Braybrooke, D., A Strategy of Decision, New York: Free Press, 1963.Google Scholar
34 School buildings are generally financed through the issuance of bonds. The school committee has to make a special request to the municipal officials and the citizens to raise the loan. It is treated as a separate and independent transaction.
35 op. cit.
36 Lipset, S. M., ‘Ideology of Local Control’, in Bowers, C. A. (ed.), Education and Social Policy, New York: Random House, 1970.Google Scholar
37 Pitkin, H., The Concept of Representation, Berkeley, California: California University Press, 1967.Google Scholar
38 op. cit.
39 McCarty, D. and Ramsey, J. E., The School Managers, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood, 1971.Google Scholar
43 Mansbridge, J. J., ‘Town Meeting Democracy’, in Working Papers for a New Society, 1973, vol. 1, no. 2.Google Scholar