The paradigm of the Chinese Box Puzzle served as the analytic framework for this study of school board member recruitment. It directed attention to the process of selection and elimination that narrows the population of a school system to the very few who are elected to the school board. In terms of the paradigm, between the largest box — the many who are governed — and the smallest box — the few who govern — are intermediate boxes that identify the social and political processes that successively narrow the population. The study did not advance specific hypotheses, but rather sought to trace the collective careers of sixty school board members and to draw implications from the modal patterns. The essential finding, that the recruitment process propels into office school board members who are different in many respects from those whom they represent, has important implications for educational governance.
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