the dual authority' of state superintendents and the U.S. Department\r\nof Education?\r\nOnly a hundred years ago, most public schools were really\r\ncommunity schools under the direct control of the parents and\r\nrelatives who paid the taxes, elected a board from among themselves,\r\nand meddled in school affairs with impunity. The simple\r\ntest of any school reform plan is to ask in which direction it\r\ngoesâ€”toward or away from the community school. In the case\r\nof most voucher plans, the answer is plain: power is flowing to\r\nthe state capitol and to Washington. With other plans, like\r\ncharter schools, the answer is not so simple. In some cases, a\r\ncharter school is simply an educationist's gimmickâ€”an allcomputer\r\nschool, a fine arts school, even a hotel-management\r\nhigh school. These specialized academies divide neighborhoods\r\nand contribute to the social fragmentation that leaves us\r\nhelpless.\r\nBut it may also be possible for groups of parents to establish\r\nschools that reflect the character of their neighborhood and\r\ntheir ethnic and religious traditions. In time, such little experiments\r\nmight serve as centers of the community and pockets of\r\nresistance against the homogenization being pushed by Republican\r\nbureaucrats like Checker Finn and the promoters of the\r\nNational History Standards.\r\nMost conservatives have learned, now that it is almost too\r\nlate, that the individual cannot take his stand alone and unaided\r\nagainst the powerful...
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