Redefining State Responsibility in Education

in School, Society, & State

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780226772097
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226772127 | DOI:
Redefining State Responsibility in Education

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During the National Education Association's Department of Superintendence meeting in 1918 to discuss “centralizing tendencies in educational administration,” Payson Smith, state superintendent of Massachusetts, called for a stronger state government role to safeguard equal opportunity by addressing inequities wrought by social, economic, and demographic changes. Many of those who attended the meeting agreed with his call for expanded state responsibility, but others were not as enthusiastic. This chapter focuses on the expansion of the state government role in education and explores public debates over state and federal aid, the growth of state administration, and the complex ways that states negotiated with and utilized local control. It first looks at state government promotion of local schooling before World War I before turning to equal educational opportunity and the nation-state interest in schooling during the war. The chapter also considers postwar state school administration and argues that the state role in schooling from 1890 to 1940 was one of expansive legal authority and steadily growing involvement by state boards of education, state superintendents and departments of education, state legislatures, and state courts.

Keywords: Payson Smith; state responsibility; education; federal aid; state administration; local control; local schooling; equal educational opportunity; school administration; state legislatures

Chapter.  15391 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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