The politics of racial integration in the Seattle Public Schools: Discourse, policy, and political change, 1954-1991

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Title: The politics of racial integration in the Seattle Public Schools: Discourse, policy, and political change, 1954-1991
Author: Hehnke, Jennifer Marie, 1978-
Abstract: This study examines the role of narrative in racial integration politics in the Seattle Public Schools between 1954 and 1991. In 1978, the Seattle School District in coalition with civic actors implemented a mandatory student assignment desegregation policy, "The Seattle Plan," without a court order. A decade later, another similar coalition of actors came together to shift desegregation policy towards a "controlled choice" method of student movement. In 1991, with the support of the newly elected Democratic mayor, the foundation of desegregation was dismantled. In Seattle, the shifts in desegregation conflicts can be explained as the transposition of certain arrangements of ideas into policy and the concurrent shift in the arrangement produced by new alignments of actors able to find enough common ground to coalesce and make policy. This dissertation explores the complexity of ideas about racial equality and the oftentimes-surprising arrangements actors created. I analyze the way elected, elite, and non-elite actors at the local level talked about, interpreted, and re-interpreted questions of racial segregation, equality, and the role of the public schools and explore the amalgamations of ideas about race and schools that explain the unique development of policy in Seattle with a way to account for change relying on micro-political developments. I examine the discursive arrangements generated within these conflicts, the coalitions built around these ideas, and how the ideas were implemented as policy. I analyze a broad range of archival materials, newspaper accounts, and interviews with actors who were involved in these events.
Description: xiii, 302 p. : ill. A print copy of this thesis is available through the UO Libraries. Search the library catalog for the location and call number.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1794/10550
Date: 2009-12


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