Informed by his work with schools and communities for over thirty-five years, Charles Willie, a sociologist and well-known scholar in the field of community education, provides an overview of the emergence and contributions of community education. He presents a theory of complementarity in which interdependence and reciprocity contribute to the advancement of both individuals and groups. He uses this theory to challenge the generally asserted dichotomy of educational excellence versus equity. The Controlled Choice student assignment plans he developed with Michael Alves illustrate his theory of complementarity in practice. From his own work, Willie presents a comparative analysis of districts in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Charleston, South Carolina. Willie leaves the reader with the challenge faced by those who study community education: to simultaneously enhance the individual and advance the community.

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