Education, despite assertions of professional neutrality by teachers and administrators, is a political process. While the political implications of such policy matters as student civil liberties and racial integration are clear, even as seemingly innocuous a matter as selecting textbooks may arouse the wrath of some organized groups if the books are assertedly "soft on communism," or "culturally biased." The locus of the political activity-the focal point for political discussion-is essentially local: while Washington may proclaim national aims (recall the brief national "right to read" campaign), and while such state education officials as Max Rafferty may become national political spectacles, essential policy questions are largely debated and decided in the . superintendent's office and the school board meeting room.

This inverse political pyramid-the locals running the show, state education departments providing . technical assistance, the Office of Education watching from the sidelines-is not fortuitous. For it is the local officials who control curriculum policies, decide whom to hire, and-most important-raise and spend the lion's share of educational dollars.

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