Finding My 1999 Final Report: Metropolitan Milwaukee and Federal Educational Policy, 1945-present

My friend Sherman Dorn saw a reference to an unpublished report I wrote two decades ago, and asked me to send him a copy. Although I haven’t even thought about this project in many years, the files magically appeared in my hard drive. Over the years I’ve spent a bit of time backing up and maintaining my digital archives. (As old friends know, I’ve kept nearly all email that they have sent or received from me, going back to 1991.) I researched and wrote this report for one of my grad school advisors, Carl Kaestle, in 1998-99. This was a year after I had completed my PhD, and was under-employed while living in Nashville TN, before taking a job at Trinity College in the summer of 1999. Carl kindly provided me with funding, and more importantly, a sense of purpose as a new historian hired to contribute to his research project on federal education policy since 1950. I recall presenting this work at a Brown University workshop, either in summer 1999 or 2000. But I never published it, since my writing energy needed to focus on my book, More Than One Struggle, about African-American school reform movements. Still, this report shows an early stage of my interest in telling city-suburban educational history, my next major research topic.

Today I decided to convert the files and upload them to this site. Lessons learned in the process:

  • Looking back at your old writing is both refreshing (I had so much energy back then!) and painful (some sentences, paragraphs, and pages are just awful, and did we have spell-checkers back then?).
  • All of these files were written using Microsoft Word for Mac version 6 from the mid-1990s. But today’s MS Word 2016 for Mac does a lousy job of converting old .doc files.
  • Libre Office, the open-source competitor to MS Office, does an amazing job of converting old .doc files, including all of the embedded Excel charts. (I think I lost only one image, which probably was saved in a different location.)
  • Using Libre Office, I converted the original files into two formats: PDF (easy to open and read) and ODT (Open Document Text, which preserves character-level data)
  • After arriving at Trinity College in 1999, I uploaded this report to a Trinity web server, which according to the files, was done using Microsoft Frontpage 2.0 (ugh, I definitely forgot all about that lousy web authoring tool!). Trinity stopped using that server more than a decade ago, but fortunately I downloaded all of the relevant folders and files to my hard drive.
  • Although the Internet Archive’s wonderful “Way Back Machine” captured my Educational Studies Program web pages in 2000, I couldn’t find any sign of the “/federal” subfolder where these items resided. Perhaps I did not publicly link to this unpublished work, so maybe web crawlers did not archive the online files? Good thing I downloaded them when the College changed web servers…

Here’s the result, which looks very similar to how it originally appeared at the time:

Jack Dougherty, “Final Report: Metropolitan Milwaukee and Federal Educational Policy, 1945-present: A Case Study for the Federal Role in Elementary and Secondary Education Project.” (Unpublished report, Trinity College, Hartford CT, June 1999.)

Prepared for: The Federal Role in Elementary and Secondary Education, 1950-present Professor Carl Kaestle, Principal Investigator
Department of Education, Brown University Funded by The Spencer Foundation

  • Part 1 Research Questions and Sources
  • Part 2 The Two-Way Street: Milwaukee and Federal Education Policy (main narrative)
  • Part 2B Supplemental Charts on School Finance and Demographics
  • Part 3 Federal Involvement in a Milwaukee Suburb - The Whitefish Bay School District
  • Part 4 Exploratory Study of the State’s Role - The Wisconsin Example
  • Part 5 Lessons Learned by the Guinea Pig

Files converted and archived in 2019 at