City leaders increasingly have hoped that school reform can spark a renaissance in struggling communities. Using the lens of building civic capacity, this article examines efforts to revitalize "Milltown"-a small urban community that has been devastated by the loss of manufacturing jobs. Analysis of interview and written documents identifies several paradoxes that highlight the ways in which the conceptions of individuals and the nature of this former manufacturing community contrasted dramatically with the realities of the emerging global economy. Findings detail these paradoxes and describe the role of the town's school district in driving the reform efforts intended to address these dilemmas.
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