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Keywords:

  • colonization;
  • local control;
  • education governance;
  • United States;
  • inequality;
  • cumulative disadvantages

Abstract

Colonization of public education—the process by which schools are overwhelmed and penetrated by non-educational imperatives—is usually believed to be caused by capitalism and the hegemonic ideological structures it produces. In this paper I argue that in the case of the United States an additional mechanism produces strong colonizing effects: the institution of local control. In the context of contemporary institutional conditions, local control is the lynch-pin for the production of socio-economic segregation, cumulative disadvantages, and the mythology of popular control disguising the growing control of public schooling through unaccountable bureaucracies and private corporations.