Date of Conferral
Gerald R. Rasmussen, Ed. D.
On January 20, 1970, Judge Manuel L. Real directed the officials of the Pasadena Unified School District to prepare and implement a school desegregation plan to take effect at all levels within the district by the opening of school in September of 1970. This study dealt with the efforts of the Pasadena Unified School District to meet the provisions of this court order. Such examination involved an extensive perusal and analysis of the desegregation plan developed in response to this order. That response is known as the Pasadena Plan.
This dissertation considered four issues in addition to its examination of the Pasadena Plan: (1) major factors necessitating court action in Pasadena, (2) the degree to which the meeting of Judge Real’s directives has led to racial stability within the schools and community, (3) possible alternatives to the Pasadena Plan, and (4) implications for other school districts as a result of the Pasadena experience.
Organization of the study involved a division of the three hundred and seventeen pages of the main text into ten chapters, followed by a bibliography and two appendices. Chapter I introduced the problem and included a series of hypotheses, basic assumptions, and definition of terms commonly used throughout the dissertation. Chapter II outlined the scope and method of investigation used in the study. The methodology of the study was based upon procedures of historical research. Historical review within this dissertation consisted of a review of pertinent literature, including books, newspapers, magazine articles, school records, statistical data related to school enrollment and racial distribution within the Pasadena Unified School District, and interviews with selected members of the district staff and community. Viewed together, these two initial chapters met the specific purposes of describing, defining, and delimiting the problem.
The next seven chapters contained the body of the dissertation. Chapter III provided a summary of salient national factors affecting school desegregation, and Chapter IV discussed the sequence of local events that significantly influenced the direction toward court action regarding racial balance of schools in Pasadena. Chapter V analyzed the court order of Judge Real, Chapter VI described and examined the provisions of the Pasadena Plan, and an analysis of the first two years of operation under the Pasadena Plan was developed within the next two chapters. Chapter VII analyzed the operation of the desegregation plan in 1970-71, including the preparation and planning that preceded actual implementation. Chapter VIII provided additional analysis based upon planning and operation of the plan during the 1971-72 school year. Chapter IX presented an overview of the current picture within Pasadena as of March 25, 1972 discussed apparent strengths and weaknesses of Pasadena Plan, suggested implications that the Pasadena experience provides for other school districts, and examined possible alternatives to the Pasadena Plan.
Chapter X contained conclusions, recommendations, and suggestions for further study. Conclusions were made regarding the original hypotheses present in Chapter I, and additional conclusions were formed on the basic information contained in Chapters III through IX.
Major conclusions of this study included the following: (1) the pattern of accelerated racial transition that preceded the Pasadena Plan had intensified during the first two years of desegregation in Pasadena; (2) racial transition within the Pasadena public schools had reached the point that the Anglo-Caucasian student majority became a minority within district schools prior to termination of this study; (3) problems attributed to the to the Pasadena Plan actually resulted from school board and community decisions that preceded adoption of that plan; (4) viable alternatives to the present desegregation plan should be considered as possible means of decelerating present rates of racial change within the community and schools of Pasadena; (5) the Pasadena Plan represented an effective mechanical means of desegregating public schools; (6) the court order limited the flexibility of implementing desegregation in Pasadena; (7) there was conclusive evidence of “white flight” and some evidence of “bright flight” from Pasadena public schools during the first two years of desegregation; (8) fiscal problems in Pasadena adversely affected the future of effective desegregation within the schools of that community; (9) the efforts of the Pasadena Unified School District provide potential guidelines for other school districts facing similar challenges and opportunities, and (10) the Pasadena experience strongly supported that desegregation of schools does not guarantee integration within those schools.
The following recommendations were made regarding the future courses of action available to the Pasadena Unified School District: (1) the Pasadena Unified School District should request Judge Real to amend that portion of the 1970 court order which directs that no school may contain a majority of any single minority group within its school population; (2) if Judge Real refuses to amend the court order directing student assignments, the Pasadena Unified School District should legally appeal the current application of that directive on the basis of its wording; (3) if a revision in the percent court order regarding student assignments cannot be obtained through either a request for such revision or appeal procedures, the Pasadena Unified School District should implement a massive redistricting program; (4) efforts should be made to retain as large percentage of the currently qualified probationary teachers as possible; (5) greater efforts should be made to promote qualified minority personnel to positions of leadership; (6) more attention should be given to employment of non-Negro minorities at all levels of the professional staff; (7) in-service summer workshops should be initiated to sensitize certificated and classified staff members regarding problems related to racial transition and school desegregation; and (8) a crash program of remedial and diagnostic instruction in reading and mathematics should be instituted immediately.
Areas suggested for further study include projects which would: (1) concentrate upon viable methods of merging the special interests of such groups as the Black Task Force, the Mexican-American Task Force, and the Sierra Madre Task Force into a single and constructive community interest group in Pasadena; (2) compare school desegregation within Pasadena and such desegregation within similar committees not confined to the specifics of a court order; (3) evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the educational park concept as applied to desegregated schools; (4) examine alternative methods of funding by which the present financial burden upon local school districts incident to desegregation may be reduced; (5) assess the strengths and weaknesses of phased programs of desegregation as compared to those exhibited within total and immediate desegregation programs; and (6) explore intensively those means by which school desegregation may be more effectively and readily translated into significant movement toward school integration.