End of forced busing?

The Globe says that the city’s new school busing policy is down to two options:

Panel members would not disclose details of the two plans, but they have previously said they strongly favor either keeping the present system of three attendance areas or dividing the city into six zones, so that more students can attend school closer to home. They have ruled out creating a system of all neighborhood schools and one that allows students to attend school anywhere in the city.

I have a lot of ambivalence about this. When the decision was made to force busing in the 70’s, my parents were among the angry, white protestors. I look back on their opposition to busing as a mistake based on ignorance and racism. Toward the end of her life, my mother also came to the conclusion that she’d been wrong. As she came to know more people of African American ancestry, she understood that her fears had been unfounded. My father, a man who’d been a teacher in Dorchester during my toddler years, never changed his mind. He spoke of the black students sent to his formerly all-white school as if they were terrorists, bent on destroying his life. He taught fourth grade.
But now 85% of Boston’s public school students are non-white. Thirty years after forced busing began, the problem it was meant to solve is still there in a different form. The majority of the white kids go to private schools and busing does nothing to resolve that. If the school system can reduce transportation costs, the money saved could help improve the worst-performing schools.
It’s hard to let go of something that was so hard-won. But large-scale busing of children no longer makes sense.

1 Comment so far

  1. dave (unregistered) on May 29th, 2005 @ 5:25 am

    I first wanna say I am not at all racist. But forced bussing was a horrible thing. Judge Garrity was a piece of sh*t. It wasnt right taking kids and switching schools. It was forced. It was a bad thing and I’m sorry your mother and yourself changed opinions.

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