This compelling new book asks: How can American education policy be consistent with democratic ideals? Robust democracy is the combination of participation, self-rule, equality, understanding, and inclusion, but these norms can produce contradictory policy. Local control in education policy can undermine educational equality. Participation in teachers unions can improve working conditions but thwart self-rule by local taxpayers. The Democratic Dilemma of American Education draws on contemporary research in political science and education policy to offer remarkably balanced insights into these challenging issues. Expertly navigating through local, state, and federal layers of education policy, Arnold Shober examines contemporary controversies over education governance, teachers unions and collective bargaining, school funding, school choice, academic accountability, and desegregation. Shober describes the inherent practical dilemmas of current policy and the difficulties policymakers face in overcoming them to produce lasting educational reform in a democratic, federal system of government. Timely, engaging, and accessible, this is the ideal resource for courses in public policy as well as education and politics.