Building the Federal Schoolhouse: Localism and the American - download pdf or read online

By Douglas S. Reed

ISBN-10: 0199838488

ISBN-13: 9780199838486

During the last fifty years, the federal government's efforts to reform American public schooling have reworked U.S. colleges from locally-run organisations into complicated platforms together built by means of federal, country, and native actors. the development of this federal schoolhouse-an academic procedure with universal nationwide expectancies and practices-has essentially altered either schooling politics and the norms governing academic coverage on the neighborhood point.

Building the Federal Schoolhouse examines those concerns via an in-depth, fifty-year exam of federal academic rules in the neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, a prosperous but socially different suburb of Washington, D.C. The epochal social differences that swept via the US some time past part century hit Alexandria with specific strength, remodeling its Jim Crow institution procedure right into a new immigrant gateway district inside generations. alongside the best way, the college approach has struggled to supply caliber schooling for distinct wishes scholars, and has sought to beat the legacies of monitoring and segregated studying whereas concurrently holding upper-middle type scholars. such a lot lately, it has grappled with kingdom and federally imposed responsibility measures that search to spice up academic results. All of those coverage tasks have contended with the present political regime inside Alexandria, from time to time forcing it to a verge of collapse, and at different instances reconstructing it. all of the whereas, the neighborhood expectancies and governing realities of directors, mom and dad, politicians, and citizens have sharply restricted federal tasks, restricting their scope while in clash with neighborhood commitments and amplifying them once they align.

Through an intensive use of neighborhood data, modern debts, tuition information, and interviews, Douglas S. Reed not just paints an intimate portrait of the conflicts that the federal schoolhouse's construction has wrought in Alexandria, but in addition files the successes of the federal dedication to bigger academic chance. In so doing, he highlights the complexity of the yankee schooling kingdom and the centrality of neighborhood regimes and native ancient context to federal academic reform efforts.

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Without an attention to the dynamics of localism, the stories of both federal efforts to reform public education and the construction of the education state are incomplete. The conflation of educational governance reform and boosting educational achievement emerges, in no small part, from the complicated nature of US public education. Since its advent in the 1840s, public education in the United States has been a primary responsibility of states and local governments. 9 Beginning in the mid-twentieth century, however, the federal government undertook its initial efforts to reshape American education, but not always with educational goals in mind.

These two concerns—finances and personnel—structure much of the formal incorporation of a school system within an urban regime. These features are not the only elements, however, that define a school system’s relationship to the local regime. A school system may also be more or less fully incorporated into a local regime if informal arrangements and agreements create an interdependence, despite structural separation. ”35 In other words, the formal relationships may determine the configuration of the playing field, but they do not necessarily determine how the game is played.

Stephen Skowronek’s classic work Building a New American State takes the reconstruction of existing state forms and powers as the central dynamic of state-building in the 20 Building the Federal Schoolhouse United States. That book, which has inspired a generation of scholarship, contends that the American state was built by the explicit actions of politicians and administrators who dismantled the pre-existing forms of state authority to fashion a more centralized and rational state structure. ”43 In other words, the governmental structures that existed prior to the rise of a national administrative apparatus had to be taken apart and refashioned in order for a national system of governance to emerge.

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Building the Federal Schoolhouse: Localism and the American Education State by Douglas S. Reed

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