This straightforward, substantive essay begins with a survey of school boards variable sizes, structures and powers, noting the disappearance of self-sufficient ancestral towns which really controlled their schools, and describing the special history, of Southern public education. Bendiner stresses the boards' incapacity to deal with militant unions and local tax-base erosion, much less to institute equality of educational opportunity. While local boards everywhere become insolvent and impotent, he argues that autonomy can hardly solve the problems of ""a teeming fraction of a fluid city in a totally interdependent metropolitan area,"" (like Ocean Hill-Brownsville). Concretizing and ramifying issues which involve bonds, per-pupil expenditures, federal-state relations, etc. etc., Bendiner makes good use of recent studies and case histories (desegregation in Evanston and Berkeley, structural reform in Toronto, teachers' strikes in Michigan). His recommendations are debatable, of course. From the Coleman Report he concludes that poor kids should be put with richer kids. With the Kerner Report he calls for sharing suburban funds and promoting racial integration. The book is accessible to the under informed, worthwhile for experts, pertinent to all regions and strata.