This paper examines the governing structures of state and local school systems as reported for 1880. Three distinctive models of governance are identified for the Northeast, the South, and the Midwest in the method of appointment or election of school officers at the state and local levels. An explanation for these patterns is presented that centers on the structural relationship between local, corporate communities and the methods of choosing education officials at the state and local levels of government. The northeastern town, the southern county, and the midwestern township are seen as historical antecedents to the specific regional pattern of school governance.
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