ERIC Number: ED030502
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1969-May
Reference Count: 0
The Political Aspects of Small Town and Rural Schools.
Gehlen, Frieda L.
Schools are political in that they are creatures of the state and are supported by tax monies. Political pressure is applied from groups of local citizens and local chapters of national pressure groups. Many argue that the real locus of power affecting schools rests in the power structure of the community. The type of power structure may be related to such factors as size of the community and its past tradition of political involvement. Mass communications, transportation, and the increasing authority of the state have caused a shift in power away from rural domination. The small, rural school is characterized by a limited curriculum, conservative tax picture, conservative faculty and staff, and a student population homogeneous in background and values. Controversial areas in which conflict would be likely are changes that would demand more money, changes in the curriculum that would deal with value-laden subjects, and consolidation which would involve loss of the local school. The literature suggests that the power structure decides economic issues independent of public debate but lets various community factions decide noneconomic issues. Change however, can come as a result of the will of the small, rural community to improve educational opportunities, a sophisticated understanding of the resources available from outside the community, and a sympathetic understanding of existing community values. (JH)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC. Bureau of Research.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools, Las Cruces, NM.
Note: Paper presented at National Working Conference on Solving Educational Problems in Sparsely Populated Areas (Denver, Colorado, March 17-19, 1969).