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Professionalism and Participation in School Budgeting in the USA*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2009

Miriam E. David
Lecturer in Social Administration, University of Bristol.


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.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1976

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