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Ten Thousand Democracies: Politics and Public Opinion in America's School Districts


reviewed by David N. Plank April 28, 2006

coverTitle: Ten Thousand Democracies: Politics and Public Opinion in America's School Districts
Author(s): Michael B. Berkman and Eric Plutzker
Publisher: Georgetown University Press, Washington, DC
ISBN: 1589010760, Pages: 206, Year: 2005
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One of the canonical virtues of the American education system is democratic control of schools, through the institution of local school boards.  Like many other virtues, however, the tradition of “local control” is mainly honored in the breach.  The critical importance of democratic control is never so clearly on display as when it is rhetorically deployed to resist policy innovations adopted and imposed by central authorities, ranging from school desegregation in the 1960s and 1970s to school choice and No Child Left Behind in the current decade.  By the same token, challenges to the insularity and ineffectiveness of school board governance in big city and other school districts are often met with vehement defenses of local control and charges that local voters are being disenfranchised. In fact, we know relatively little about the democratic character and performance of most school boards.  Are they truly representative of the communities they nominally serve?... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: April 28, 2006
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12501, Date Accessed: 10/17/2017 5:50:53 AM

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About the Author
  • David Plank
    Michigan State University
    E-mail Author
    DAVID N. PLANK is Co-Director of the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University and Professor in the College of Education. His current research focuses on the changing role of the state in national education systems. His most recent book is Choosing Choice: School Choice Policies in International Perspective, which he co-edited with Gary Sykes.
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