The Battle of Westwood Hills

Part of the Historical Studies in Education book series (HSE)


The debate over the schools was muted during the Second World War, but the tension among competing visions of both politics and education was only repressed, not extinguished. One of the earliest expressions of the political struggles over education in California was the controversy that emerged in the mid-1940s over the University Elementary School, which Time magazine later called “The Battle of Westwood Hills.” Although the conflict originated in the complaints of a small number of disgruntled parents, the attack on the school and its defense soon hardened into battle lines between Los Angeles conservatives and liberals. Critics of the school raised the question of whether Seeds and her methods were not only academically suspect but political subversive as well. It was probably the most difficult and formative episode in Corinne Seeds’s career.1


Oral History School Building Progressive Education City School Collective Farm 
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  1. 1.
    A summary of the conflict over the UES appears in Geraldine Clifford and James W. Guthrie, eds., School: A Brief for Professional Education (University of Chicago Press, 1988). Their account is heavily influenced by Robert Treacy’s 1972 dissertation, “Progressivism and Corinne Seeds” (PhD. diss., University of California Los Angeles, 1972).Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    Corinne Seeds, “U.E.S.: The History of the Creative Elementary School” (Oral History Project, University of California Los Angeles, 1963), 126–27.Google Scholar
  3. 53.
    Edward Barrett, The Tenney Committee (Cornell University Press, 1951), 158–67. See also Martha Kransdorf, A Matter of Loyalty (Caddo Gap Press, 1994).Google Scholar
  4. 98.
    Robert Kirsch, “Pupil Aptitude Studied in Fundamental Skills,” Westwood Hills Press, June 26, 1947: 1.Google Scholar

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© Kathleen Weiler 2011

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