Southern educational reformers such as Page and McIver made their earliest impact during the first decade of the twentieth century, when they organized highly effective public crusades and succeeded in mobilizing single-issue, pressure-group organizations. Most communities expected schools to have a neighborhood identification. Although the pre-world war South had experienced a generation of urban growth and town-building, the bulk of its population still lived, and was schooled, in the rural countryside. In the wake of the school crusades, southern educational bureaucracy grew significantly in the decades surrounding World War I, expanding their control over local schools. Southern rural schools were very much a part of a national pattern of public education. Although it would go too far to describe American schools as a 'system', there was much in the rural schools of the South that resembled rural schools across the country as they developed in the nineteenth century.