The structure of schooling is always political and, because it is political, it is always contradictory. Complete social consensus on the purposes and justifications for public schooling has never been achieved, and probably never will be. Despite such ongoing tensions, however, state schooling has gone ahead, propelled by the interests of its various constituencies. As different groups push forward their agendas, and as professional research and practice impact upon the field, schooling has been modified and restructured (though its core remains remarkably stable and resilient). Compromises are struck periodically among the interests of business, parents, elected officials, professional educators, and school staffs. Often these compromises serve only to raise new conflicts, and to exacerbate the logical inconsistencies of the system. Logic usually takes a back seat to power, however, when political settlements are arranged.