TitleThe Willingboro NJ school district and the politics of decline
NameKearns, Andrew (author), Lugg, Catherine A. (chair), Adamus, John W. (internal member), Hyland, Nora E. (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School of Education,
SubjectEducational Administration and Supervision,
School districts--New Jersey--Willingboro (Township)--History
DescriptionBoyd (1976; 1982a; 1983b) examined a concept called “decline” as it applies to school districts. From this perspective, as communities lose resources to support
their schools, there are inevitably cut backs to programs and personnel. While school districts are supposed to operate as harmonious organizations that make the best, rational decisions (Callahan 1962; Tyack, 1974), the decline of resources makes that difficult, if not impossible. As a school district is forced to make decisions about how to use limited resources, conflicts occur that tear at the fabric of the harmonious, rational school district. While Boyd (1976; 1982; 1983b) identified how political decline can impact a school district, he did not examine how a school district reacts to the politics of decline. Often the causes of decline are larger economic and demographic issues
outside of the control of the school district (Orfield, 2002). Nonetheless, the school district must cope with these forces and manage the challenges they present in the best way possible. This dissertation examined how a particular school district, Willingboro, New Jersey, navigated the politics of decline during the 1970s. Willingboro was examined using historical research during the decade in question. Many of Boyd’s (1976; 1982; 1983b) original findings were confirmed.
Furthermore, race and racial conflict played a role in Willingboro’s decline. Finally, the failure of the board or the district superintendent to manage the conflict prevented the Willingboro school district from navigating the decade of decline without damaging the school district. As a result, the Willingboro of the 1970s was crippled and followed a downward spiral as both a community and school district.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Andrew Kearns
CollectionGraduate School of Education Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.