Interview with Albert Shanker

Okay, um, now in, in November of '67 McGeorge Bundy, who, who led this commission, empowered by John Lindsay, they issued their report for recommendations for uh, uh, decentralization. What, what was your personal reaction to that report, seeing how you didn't have an, an involvement with the Ford Foundation at that time?


Well, my personal reaction was that it was, ah, my personal reaction was that the recommendations that were made were a, were very bad recommendations. They were going to, ah, they were going to permanently, ah, build segregation into the system. They were going to, ah, create, ah, governing structures, ah, around the city. I mean ori-- the original Bundy report recommended a much large number of districts as I recall. I don't remember if it was 64 or maybe even more than that. Ah, it was, ah, ah, I felt that it was going to be very, very destructive of, of education in the city. And I, ah, matter of fact I had a, a meeting with McGeorge Bundy, I had several, and, ah, at one point I, I asked him, "Do you really think that dividing the city up into 64 districts and having parents pick Boards and principals and teachers that, is that going to make Johnny read?" And he said, "Well, ah, no but they won't blame you and they won't blame the mayor." It was kind of, "Well, we couldn't do it in Vietnam, ah, either they do it themselves." It was sort of the Vietnamization program except it was bring brought to, ah, to Ocean Hill-Brownsville. Ah, I wasn't happy with that kind of an answer because I felt that it would result in a kind of political turmoil in almost every district in the city. It would drive professionals out, ah, and that it would result in the deterioration of education.