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Community in Conflict : : Race, Class, and the Struggle for Educational Equity in San Diego City Schools, 1954-1985


This dissertation explores local debates in the city of San Diego between and amongst African American, Asian American, Latino, and white community members of divergent socioeconomic backgrounds, over the meaning of educational equality, equity, and disparity from 1954 to 1985. It argues that no universal consensus existed within or across racial groups regarding what constituted educational justice for all children enrolled in the San Diego Unified School District. During the age of ascendant neoliberalism and shifting demographics in the 1960s and 1970s, individuals from diverse racial backgrounds who supported civil rights educational programs, such as racial integration and bilingual and bicultural education, clashed with a multiracial group of parents, students, and community members who believed that such programs perpetuated educational disparity and injustice for their children, wasted tax payer dollars, and/or unnecessarily allowed the government to intrude in local school district affairs. Thus, this dissertation argues for the importance of listening to individual voices within the African American, Asian American, Latino, and white populations, as parents, students, and community members lay claim to divergent understandings of educational justice based on their racial and ethnic identity, socioeconomic position, cultural values, and political ideologies. This multiracial study not only explores community tensions over the expansion of educational equity and civil rights, it also examines the contradictory multiracial visions of educational justice that resulted from clashes between civil rights and neoliberal ideologies

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