Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Busing in Boston: A bitter lesson from ‘the best and the brightest’

The connection between schools and the government should be cut. It leads to poor quality education and decisions about education that are sometimes made by crazed interventionists or for political reasons. Below James Bovard discusses the experiment of busing students out of their neighborhoods on a daily basis for government "education," in racially integrated schools.

A bitter lesson from ‘the best and the brightest’

By James Bovard

The Boston School Committee announced last week that it will finally end almost 40 years of forced busing — long after the policy effectively wrecked local schools. Forced busing in Boston and elsewhere presumed that schoolchildren are cannon fodder for the visionary schemes of judges, politicians and others. While the era of forced busing is coming to an end, politicians and bureaucrats retain far too much power over schoolchildren.

In May 1974, Boston residents voted 15 to 1 against busing schoolchildren to achieve racial integration. A month later, U.S. District Judge Arthur Garrity ignored the popular vote and made himself czar of Boston schools. Garrity effectively decreed that because the schools were supposedly unconstitutionally segregated, neither parents nor students nor anyone else had any rights. Garrity ordered the speedy imposition of a “master plan” that he later admitted he had not bothered to read. The judge scorned a proposal to rectify racial disparities by permitting parents to voluntarily send their children to schools in other neighborhoods.

Forced busing was the equivalent of throwing a bomb into a classroom. Under Garrity’s decree, schools in Roxbury, a poor black area, and South Boston, a poor white Irish area, were merged. The New Republic noted in 1983 that “the early years of busing [in Boston] furnished to the student passengers an educational experience of value only to those aspiring to careers in urban guerrilla warfare.” The National Guard was called out to restore order in Boston after violent public protests and racial clashes in the areas around the schools. Even the 82nd Airborne Division was put on alert for Boston duty.
Violence within schools also soared, and members of the Boston School Committee denounced the busing program for causing “bloodshed and racial hatred.” Boston Mayor Kevin White banned all public meetings or gatherings of more than three people in South Boston to try to limit the opposition to busing.

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  1. Classic "divide and conquer". Driving a wedge between social groups. Scared of those violent blacks? Call 911 for your friendly government "protector". With luck, they won't shoot YOU.
    But didn't desegregation "fix" the discrimination problem? Ha.
    Read Thomas Sowell, or Walter Williams.

  2. My middle school and high school embraced the busing strategy in the 80s and it failed miserably. Still, the statist I know, who are confronted with these facts refuse to give up the utopian fairy tale. Perhaps one more bite out of the middle classes entrenched cultural values made entire escapade worth it.