From 1901 to 1924 social work education in the mid and southwest was provided by the Missouri School of Social Economy (MSSE). In 1924 the MSSE suddenly closed and was almost immediately replaced by an entirely new program, the Washington University Training Course for Social Workers. This paper explores the reasons for the demise of the MSSE, finding that it was apparently too liberal for the taste of university administrators and not responsive enough to the needs of the local practice community. The case of the MSSE provides an interesting and useful example of community control of social work education.

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