ERIC Number: ED233455
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Why Communities Protest School Closings.
Berger, Michael A.
Previous literature investigating community protests of school closings may be divided into four perspectives emphasizing (1) lack of comprehensive planning, (2) lack of participative decision-making, (3) loss of community maintenance (or sense of community), and (4) contextual factors, such as district size and type. The present study examines the validity of these explanations by means of a case study survey of declining enrollment in 65 school districts over a 10-year period. After data collection by means of a questionnaire/checklist, community opposition tactics were analyzed according to severity, from writing letters to board members to voting down referenda or budgets. Ordinary least squares regressions of the four types of variables--planning, participation, community maintenance, and context--reveal that (1) comprehensive planning tends to exacerbate rather than reduce community opposition; (2) of the various participation variables, only teacher involvement reduces opposition; (3) the only community maintenance factor increasing opposition is the lack of superintendent-board compatibility; and (4) urban districts experience greater opposition than do suburban or rural districts. Taken together, the findings suggest that orthodox principles in times of growth, such as comprehensive planning and participative decision-making, may be ineffectual or counterproductive during decline. (JBM)
Descriptors: Case Studies, Check Lists, Citizen Participation, Community Action, Community Role, Conflict Resolution, Declining Enrollment, Educational Environment, Educational Planning, Elementary Secondary Education, Hypothesis Testing, Participative Decision Making, Questionnaires, School Closing, School Community Relationship
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Meta Analysis
Note: Portions of this paper were presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, March 19-23, 1982). For related documents, see EA 015 726 and EA 015 871-876.