Court’s decision on June 28, 2007, to prohibit race-based integration
in local tax-funded schools by bringing in students from outside
the neighborhood was a wise one. Local students, who would otherwise
have to be bused out in order to make room for the newcomers, will
no longer have to be bused out.
This is a good
thing for children who will not have to spend time on buses. I speak
from experience. I was bused in 1950 to mandate race-based segregation.
In the summer
in between my third and fourth grade, my parents moved from Inglewood,
California — now known as "the hood" — to Augusta, Georgia.
My father was stationed at what was then called Camp Gordon.
started in the fall, I was put on a school bus and transported across
town. I hated it.
I had attended
a neighborhood school ever since kindergarten. I walked to school.
It was a lower middle class school, although I did not know this
at the time. It was just my school.
I attended what would today be called an inner city school. Years
later, my mother told me why. The neighborhood was going black.
The remaining whites in the neighborhood were unwilling to move
out, but they would have to if they had no school for their children.
segregation, the school district would have had to build a new school
for the whites in the neighborhood. That was a lot of money to spend
to educate a declining number of whites.
was the district’s solution. The district decided to bus the army
kids across town to fill up the whites-only school. We were pulled
out of our neighborhood, however temporary it was for us, and forced
to spend time in a bus.
I was so upset
that I faked sickness to avoid the second day. As far as I can recall,
I had never done this before. I sensed what most children sense
when pulled out of their environment. "This is not good."
As it turned
out, the school was quite good academically. I had to push myself
to keep up. When I returned to California in the spring term, I
had completed most of the English textbook. The California students
had only completed half of the same textbook. I coasted.
But I never
forgot the experience. I did not like being pulled out of my neighborhood
and forced to sit in a school bus.
I was part
of a racial quota system. The goal was segregation. Had it been
for integration, I would have hated it just as much.
political solution for reconciling the never-ending debate over
racially segregated public schools is simple: cease using taxes
to fund education. But that is too radical a suggestion in 2007.
So, the debate will go on.