Item Details

Running From Radicalism: Washington's D.C.'s Public Schools, 1973-1975

Cohen, Benjamin
Format
Thesis/Dissertation; Online
Author
Cohen, Benjamin
Advisor
Harold, Claudrena
Abstract
Barbara Sizemore’s tenure as the superintendent of the Washington, D.C. public schools from 1973-75 is the story of an epic clash between her vision of progressive educational reform and the D.C. Board of Education’s (DCBOE) pro-growth framework. Hired by the DCBOE in 1973 after years of radical experimentation in Chicago’s school system, Sizemore planned to radically alter D.C.’s public schools by emphasizing community control and decentralization, multicultural and multilingual education, and by rethinking assessments and school organization. The Sizemore-DCBOE battle climaxed with a months-long conflict over the D.C. Youth Orchestra Program (DCYOP) in 1974, in which the DCBOE successfully contracted out public services to the private sector. In doing so, the DCBOE practiced “black regime politics.” This phrase, coined by Adolph Reed, Jr. and Clarence Stone, describes informal alliances brokered between public bodies—oftentimes post-Civil Rights Movement urban African American politicians—and private interests to generate public policy. Black regimes seek corporate investment in exchange for managing urban conflict. Usually, such governance comes at the expense of progressive redistributive policies. Compromised by her bitter defeat in the DCYOP controversy, Sizemore waged an ideological (and sometimes personal) war against the DCBOE in the pages of the Washington Post, in public board meetings, and in speeches to local organizations. Eventually this conflict led to her firing.
Language
English
Date Received
20140503
Published
University of Virginia, Department of History, MA (Master of Arts), 2014
Published Date
2014-04-29
Degree
MA (Master of Arts)
Collection
Libra ETD Repository
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