Only One Oar in the Water: The Political Failure of School Desegregation in Yonkers, New York
Failer, Judith L.
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CitationFailer, Judith L., Anna Harvey, and Jennifer L. Hochschild. 1993. Only one oar in the water: The political failure of school desegregation in Yonkers, New York. Educational Policy 7(3): 276-296.
AbstractPolitical efforts to desegregate public schools do not fail solely because of political opposition. They fail when political opposition joins and interacts with an institutional structure that ambiguously divides educational authority between state and local actors. Both factors-a high level of political controversy and a shared system of educational authority-were present in Yonkers, New York during the 1960s and 1970s, and jointly explain the district's failure to desegregate its schools. Using a "regression by hand," the authors show that neither factor taken alone necessarily undermines a policy's success in the political arena. The political success of New York's policy to fund nonpublic schools demonstrates that controversial policies can be realized when the institutional structure that creates them does not divide authority between state and local actors. Conversely, the political success of efforts to reform Yonkers' programs in special education shows that shared responsibility can promote educational reform if the policy is not controversial. The authors conclude by cautioning against abandoning efforts to desegregate public schools and calling for changes in the structure of shared state and local responsibility for educational policy.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:3427432
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