New York City School Decentralization

The 1969 New York Education Act grew out of a movement demanding decentralization of the New York City school system. The ultimate goals of this movement were to: (1) encourage community awareness and participation in the development of educational policy, and (2) create sufficient flexibility in the school system to enable administrators to resolve the diverse needs of the varying communities within the city. Support for the plan arose out of more than a decade of dissatisfaction with the centralized system by educators, school administrators, and parents. Supporters of decentralization had pointed in particular to the failure of the centralized system to achieve racial integration and to raise the achievement levels of black and Puerto Rican students. They also relied upon the findings of the Coleman study, conducted under the auspices of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, to show the need for decentralization.