Schooling Suburbia: The Politics of School Finance in Postwar Long Island
Michael Glass

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



Princeton University

Primary Discipline

Schooling Suburbia explores the politics of school finance in post-World War II Long Island. It analyzes the relationship between public education, property markets, and state and local politics by following the money in seven school districts. The study is divided into two parts. The first half uncovers the source of educational inequality among these districts by examining how various institutions?such as federal housing agencies, village zoning boards, public housing authorities, real estate developers, financial lenders, and commercial enterprises?shaped the educational landscape. These chapters show that, because school funding depended on the property tax, the composition of the tax base and the drawing of the color line in each district set into place durable inequalities that compounded over time. The second half of the dissertation assesses several political campaigns when people directly challenged these inequalities: grassroots school desegregation movements, legislative reforms of state aid, and litigation efforts that briefly overturned the property-tax basis of school funding throughout the state of New York. By revealing the origins of wealth disparities and examining the political conflicts they provoked, this study offers the first comprehensive history of suburban educational inequality.
About Michael Glass
Mike Glass is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at Princeton University, where he studies twentieth century United States urban, education, and political history. His research explores the history of educational inequality by focusing on the relationship between real estate, municipal debt, property taxation, and politics. His previous work has been published in the Journal of Urban History and The Gotham Center for New York City History. At Princeton, Mike has taught a community college course at the Southwoods State Prison through Princeton's Prison Teaching Initiative, precepted for undergraduate courses, and contributed to the Princeton and Slavery Project. As a Woodrow Wilson Scholar Fellow, he also participates in an interdisciplinary seminar series. Prior to graduate school, Mike worked as a high school teacher for seven years in New York City public schools, where he taught United States and global history. He holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Chicago, an M.S. in Education from the City College of New York, and an M.A. in history from Hunter College.

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