EVOLUTION OF DISTRICT 12: THE IMPLEMENTATION OF PUBLIC POLICY IN A DECENTRALIZED NEW YORK CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT, 1969-1982
This study sought to examine and analyze the implementation of public policies by District 12's Community School Boards (CSB) and superintendents under the Decentralization Law of 1969.^ The Law did not give communities total control over the schools. It did, however, grant decentralized districts significant powers including the hiring of superintendents, principals, teachers, and school aides. With respect to curricula, the Boards in District 12 were empowered to implement and evaluate their own programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, 1965). There were, however, forces outside the schools that influenced the CSB's and the superintendents.^ District 12, especially the Charlotte Street area, had the highest concentration of poor people in New York City in 1970. Illiteracy, welfare, drug abuse, gang activity, fires and crime naturally had an impact on the schools.^ Federal and State policies, as well as Board of Education By-Laws, allowed community groups greater participation in the educational process. As a result, several community organizations financed through the Office of Economic Opportunity, demanded their share of community control over the resources allocated for the schools. The CSB, then, was not an independent entity, and, as District 12's policies clearly indicated, the improvement of the schools was incidental to the Boards' other priorities.^ Policy-implementation in District 12 changed through the 1970's as the Boards changed. The issue of patronage made it clear that politics, not education, dominated District 12's later School Boards.^ In examining the issues, the main focus was to determine the extent of community participation and control. In view of the Boards' interaction with different forces from without the schools, did the concept of decentralization allow the superintendents and the Boards in District 12 to formulate their policies for the improvement of schools?^ The data strongly indicated that decentralization provided District 12's residents the opportunity of participating in the educational establishment. There were no data, however, that showed any of the programs implemented by District 12's Boards significantly improved the schools. On the other hand, decentralization gave hundreds of residents jobs and gave parents the right to elect and confront their own CSB members. ^
JIM LESLIE GELBMAN,
"EVOLUTION OF DISTRICT 12: THE IMPLEMENTATION OF PUBLIC POLICY IN A DECENTRALIZED NEW YORK CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT, 1969-1982"
(January 1, 1984).
ETD Collection for Fordham University.