Community control of inner-city schools first was proposed by parents in the Harlem section of New York City in 1966. The proposal aimed at improving the quality of public schools serving low income minority youngsters by providing for school accountability to parental representatives. In practice, the two cities that have tried to provide some measure of community control - New York City and Detroit - have utilized for this purpose decentralized sub-districts based upon the suburban school district model rather than upon the original school staff accountability model. It is argued here that while suburban districts do facilitate community control, this occurs because such districts are fiscally dependent upon a population which possesses a relatively high level of organizational skills, two characteristics lacking in most inner-city sub-districts. To ensure community control in the inner-city will require provision of functional substitutes for the two characteristics that prove important for control purposes in the suburbs.

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