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ERIC Number: ED444791
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Democracy, Schools and Communities.
Fontaine, Carla
Historically, participation in school affairs gave rural people a working knowledge of how democracy functioned. In the late 19th century, power shifted from the voice of the many to the voice of a few, as "expert" opinion increasingly influenced state legislators, governors, and national political leaders. The push to consolidate schools resulted from that thinking. Legislation has undermined the ability of citizens to make decisions at the local level, effectively disenfranchising a populace that had once so spiritedly engaged in local government, education, and community. As rural communities lost their core with the consolidation of their schools, their economic viability also dwindled, resulting in a loss of employment-seeking youth and community identity. Today, citizens are making efforts to exert more local control, as evidenced by the charter school movement and efforts to resist further consolidation of consolidated schools. In a recent Gallup Poll, most respondents wanted public schools to prepare students to be responsible citizens; favored community service as a requirement for graduation from high school; and saw local teachers, not nonlocal leaders such as state legislators, as most committed to local public school improvement. It is possible that local schools and rural communities will thrive once again as concerned citizens exert more influence in the democratic process. (TD)
Publication Type: Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A