Regardless of the outcome of tomorrow's D.C. school board election, Supt. Vincent E. Reed will probably not face much opposition from his new bosses, according to a survey by The Washington Post.
Only two of the 23 candidates in the race expressed strong reservations about Reed, whose three-year contract expires in 1982 -- during the terms of those who will be elected or reelected on Tuesday. Nineteen candidates generally supported Reed and two could not be reached for comment.
Reed has been riding a wave of popularity since the firing of his controversial predecessor, Barbara A. Sizemore. Sizemore's tenure as superintendent had been an issue in the 1975 school board election.
Emily Y. Washington, a teacher at Ballou High School is running for the Ward 7 seat, charged that Reed ignores School Board policy decisions and is controlled by his subordinates. "If Vincent Reed were competent, he could set the pace," Washington said.
Incumbent John E. Warren of Ward 6, who voted to renew Reed's contract last year, said Reed is not responsive to the board and often does not implement its decisions. "My support for him is like each day's weather," Warren said. "It depends on what he's doing."
Candidates also supported -- though not as enthusiastically -- Reed's competency-based curriculum (CBS), the back-to-basics program that is the cornerstone of his plan to upgrade city schools. The school system has ben phasing in CBC operations for the last three years to try to upgrade its low achievement levels.
Most candidates said that CBC was a step in the right direction, but not a panacea. At present, for example the curriculum does not meet the needs of gifted children, slights achievement in the humanities and may produce students who are only able to follow instructions, they said.
However, tired of changing the educational program every time the superintendent changes -- five times since 1967 -- many of the candidates said they are happy that there is finally a standard curriculum.
"Since we have spent a lot of money trying to improve with CBC, we need to stick with it," said Ward 6 candidate Linda J. Gilbert, a youth counselor at Southeast Neighborhood House.
Many candidates said it is too early to say that the program is clear success. "I don't believe it's had enough of a trial period, nor have the teachers been exposed to it enough," said mayoral assistant Mathew F. Shannon, a candidate in Ward 5.
Some candidates expressed no reluctance to discard the program if it does not work. "If CBC will provide students with the basics, I support it. If CBC does not relate to giving students the basic educational skills, it should be scrapped for something else," said community activist Reginald H. Booker, a candidate in Ward 1.
A few candidates were clearly skeptical about the plan. Lapolis Ashford, director of the Southeast Neighborhood House and a candidate in Ward 4, said, "CBC is a big question with me. . . I think CBC is very confused. Teachers supporting me in my campaign feel it is more for press relations than an actual program."
Incumbent Warren in Ward 6 was asked how the program has worked. "I don't know," he said bluntly. "I could give you a whole lot of lies and charts, but I don't know how well it's worked. I don't believe what those people (in the school administration tell me."
Edward L. Hancock, a toolmaker and former board member seeking election again in Ward 7, said CBC is a "trap for us. . . it's not the way out of the system. It's supposed to bail out the educators. Parents and teachers don't understand it.
"If you really want a system to work," Hancock said," go back to the track system. But make sure it is properly administered and properly monitored" to prohibit discrimination by race or economic status and to forbid arbitrary actions by school administrators.
Reed does not appear to be in issue in the race to fill five ward seats and one at-large post on the 11-member board. He and CBC are supported by both incumbents and challengers, and by at least five of the six candidates backed by Mayor Marion Barry.
"I don't think it's neccessary for the superintendent to be controversial," Reed said in a telephone interview yesterday. "Too much of that happened in the past, and people have focused on the superintendent rather than the system."
Reed said that he, too, did not anticipate any problems working with the new board. He agreed that CBC has not yet passed the test. "It reallyy hasn't had a full trial," he said.
The system should show tangible improvements in educational achievement over the next two or three years, Reed said. But he also said that his effectiveness as superintendent should be judged on more than that single program.
"There's more to a school system than just the so-called CBC," Reed said. Reed was reappointed last year by a 10-0 vote of the board. Board member R. Calvin Lockridge of Ward 8 abstained.
Many of the candidates interviewed said Reed has brought stability to the school system. "He came in in troubled times and he sort of stabilizedd (the school system)," said Ward 4 candidate Linda W. Cropp, a high school counselor.
Incumbent Bettie G. Benjamin of Ward 5 said, "I've had a very fine relationship working with Superintendent Reed. We don't always agree, but when we disagree we can always discuss it."
Candidate Lorraine Bennett in Ward 6 said that in the past, the school system was viewed more as an employer of teachers than as an educator of children. "I think he's keeping children and quality education as his prime motivations," Bennett said. "I think Vince Reed is putting priorities back in the right place."
Incumbent Conrad P. Smith of Ward 1 said that for the first time in 12 years, test scores are up in the city and elementary school students are performing on par with other children nationwide. "Most of the credit for that should go to Vince Reed" and CBC, said Smith, who has criticized Reed publicly in the past.
But there were some concerns expressed about Reed, even among those who support him. "My only criticism of Reed," said Ward 4 candidate Phillip E. Pannell, "is that he seems to be fixated with basics and meeting national norms. National norms are dropping and I am afraid we are going to be leading our kids down a path of mediocrity."
Ward 7 candidate Washington critized Reed for failing to implement a 1977 school board directive to stop promoting students who had failed to meet required achievement standards, but had reached a certain age. "Anytime he [Reed] hasn't done that, something is wrong with that man," Washington said.
Reed said he has begun to abolish this promotion practice this year. He did not do so earlier, he sad, because "it would have been premature and the system wasn't ready for it."
The candidates in the race, which has attracted little public attention, are: Incumbent Conrad P. Smith, a lawyer, planner Frank Smith, Booker, mechanic Anwar Saleem and ANC member James W. Curry in Ward 1; Incumbent Victoria T. Street, a retired teacher, Pannell, Ashford and Cropp in Ward 4; and Benjamin and Shannon in Ward 5.
Also incumbent Warren, a public management specialist, Bennet and Gilbert in Ward 6; Washington, retired teacher American C. Nelson, lawyer Nate Bush and toolmaker Ed Hancock in Ward 7; and incumbent Eugene Kinlow, teacher Jeanette Freely, budget analyst Charlotte R. Holmes, U.S. Labor Party organizer Stuart Rosenblatt and adult educator Joseph Webb in the at-large race.