What is Busing?
At Thursday's Democratic debate, Sen. Kamala Harris said she was bused to school as part of desegregation programs — but what does that mean?
What is busing?
During the second Democratic presidential politics debate, Senator Kamala Harris of California confronted former Vice President Joe Biden regarding a topic that has received little attention in recent presidential elections: school desegregation. What is “busing” in the United States? In 1971, during the desegregation movement in the U.S., the Supreme Court ruled on mandatory school busing of students to achieve school integration. The U.S. has a history of de facto segregation in schools, largely because of housing inequality.
Thousands of American children are riding buses to school, many under court ordered education desegregation plans. 22,000 youngsters were bused to new schools and come and return to the city. Despite widespread opposition, busing is a key ingredient in most proposal to remedy the nation’s school segregation problems. American children would be sent to schools in different neighborhoods to promote racial balance in schools. But the decision led to protests across the U.S. integrating public schools met fierce resistance. Opponents would argue that the neighborhoods were unsafe, impacting the children’s overall education. The time of the busing, and the conditions of the busing were not so tied and interfered with their health considering their age as to materially affect their ability to learn.
This led some white residents to migrate to the suburbs to avoid mandatory busing in urban areas. In the South in 1968, 77% of black kids attended schools with almost exclusively minority students. By 1988, 57% did according to The Civil Rights Project/UCLA. Mandatory busing faded by the late 1980s and early 1990s. But Boston still has a program which buses students of color from the city into white suburbs for school.
There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bussed to school every day. And that little girl was Kamala Harris.