A rather unedifying investigation of ""the way in which education is governed."" The author has accumulated a good deal of significant data, but he fails to extrapolate conclusions about how key decisions are made, or indeed what the key decisions are. The book moves from upper to lower levels of public school ""control."" Various trends in federal policy are identified: national teachers' unions are discussed at far greater length than testing and accrediting organizations, while the power of foundations, educational-technology corporations and textbook publishers is bypassed. On the state level, Koerner discusses the fad for commissions. Acknowledging the difficulty of generalization, he typifies school boards and PTAs, claiming that ""parents and the body politic are normally effective only when they support local school administrations."" He notes the new decentralization drive in city schools far too perfunctorily. For those concerned with concrete issues like curricula and taxes, not to mention the attitudes of students, teachers, and administrators, the book seems to proceed in a vacuum.