Education Empire

The Evolution of an Excellent Suburban School System

By Daniel L. Duke

Subjects: Education, Educational Administration, Leadership Studies
Series: SUNY series, Educational Leadership
Paperback : 9780791464946, 215 pages, July 2005
Hardcover : 9780791464939, 215 pages, July 2005

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables

1. A Classroom a Day

2. A Ten-Year Trial

3. Growing Bigger and More Diverse

4. The Intensification of Educational Politics

5. Good Isn't Good Enough

6. It Takes an Excellent School System to Ensure Excellent Schools

7. Fairfax County Public Schools and the Future of Suburban Education


Traces the organizational history of Fairfax County public schools in Virginia, from 1954–2004, revealing the system's record of academic success.


Despite the fact that more than one-half of the students in the United States are educated in suburban schools, relatively little is known about the development of suburban school systems. Education Empire chronicles the evolution of Virginia's Fairfax County public schools, the twelfth largest school system in the country and arguably one of the very best. The book focuses on how Fairfax has addressed a variety of challenges, beginning with explosive enrollment growth in the 1950s and continuing with desegregation, enrollment decline, economic uncertainty, demands for special programs, and intense politicization. Today, Fairfax, like many suburbs across the country, looks increasingly like an urban school system, with rising poverty, large numbers of recent immigrants, and constant pressure from an assortment of special interest groups. While many school systems facing similar developments have experienced a drop in performance, Fairfax students continue to raise their achievement. Daniel L. Duke reveals the keys to Fairfax's remarkable track record.

Daniel L. Duke is Professor of Educational Leadership and Director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for Educational Design at the University of Virginia. He is the author of many books, including The Challenges of Educational Change.