This paper advances a series of propositions outlining a model of educational change in American state school systems. It is argued that the enactment of compulsory school attendance laws marks the formal beginning of a state school system and determines a system's institutional and practical development and change. Once the previously unassociated parts of a state's educational system are linked, an institution is formed that, in part, undergoes self-generating change. Numerous aspects of this system are measurable, and the statistics that result reflect its development and progress. State school systems must mature sufficiently before they are able to review their own practices and affect change. Also, a state's geographical location, whether in the core of a group of states or at the periphery, influences the development of its educational system.
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