Comments: Was forced busing in Delaware a huge mistake?

(We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)


As a disclaimer, I went to Catholic schools until college, so I can't speak with personal experience on public schools, but I never understood the logic of busing. I never understood how putting a kid on a bus for quite a while would improve his education by putting him with kids of a different skin color. The time and money would have been better spent improving the local schools and less disruptive to the communities involved.

On a related note, is the Hube/Tommywonk show tomorrow? I may be able to listen for the first time!

Posted by Paul Smith at June 15, 2007 09:23 AM

Paul: Tom and I got bumped this month. Dace has Pete DuPont scheduled. He's just a "little" more important than Tom and I. A "little." :-)

Posted by Hube at June 15, 2007 09:28 AM

Ah! The one time I don't have anything scheduled Saturday morning. I know one of duPont's aides pretty well, maybe I'll get his schedule to change suddenly.

Posted by Paul Smith at June 15, 2007 09:51 AM

I've always been curious about the beliefs of those who believe in strict proportions being required for racial integration.

1) Do they really believe that exposure to white kids make minority kids smarter?

2) If so, is it because they believe that whites are inherently superior to minorities, and that they therefore hope that the "white" will rub off onto the minority kids?

3) But if that is the case, why the opposition to "acting white" in so many minority communities?

Posted by Rhymes With Right at June 15, 2007 12:42 PM

http://kilroysdelaware.blogspot.com/2007/06/wilmington-kids-have-no-voice.html
My comment here should answer any questions about my point of view!
On Senator Henry's proposed committee

The goal of the committee is very noble but the size will work against itís self. The committee make up appears to be a more political love fest than and committee to address real educational needs.
*
agreed!
I like the idea of student summits.

~
Hube, the argument for forced busing was couched in terms of a remedy to racial segregation and so implemented but actual educational failures falls more along the lines of economic disparity in the inner city schools.

Equity in terms of the proper funding of schools in low-income communities is at the heart of these problems across the USA.

I was in the courtroom to hear the testimony that CSD places novice teachers in the worst (read poorest city) schools and work their way into the suburbans (nothing new here as most districts do this).

While giving the poorer kids a chance to experience a better educational environment, busing the kids across the county prevented low income parents the chance to get involved, many couldn't get transportation to PTA etc. one reason the city charter schools are so successful.

Posted by Nancy Willing at June 15, 2007 03:51 PM

Nance: Per pupil spending was higher in the Wilmington District in 1977 ($2,900) than the rest of New Castle County ($1,850).

But, as usual, you pontificate yet didn't answer the question I posed. I'm not surprised.

Posted by Hube at June 16, 2007 08:32 AM

"Was forced busing in DE a huge mistake?" -- Hube

No, it was not. Something drastic had to be done to initiate integration and provide hope for an underclass culture! And it worked: Attitudes toward race have been changed, have improved.

But I think you pose the wrong question, Hube. My answer therefore is another question: To overcome racism, was there another alternative for our children?

No, I think not. The races/cultures had to be forced to mix at that time, otherwise we would have continued to promote apartheid. It is as simple as that in my mind.

Whites still find ways to oppose racial mixing to this day: Private schools, selective charter schools, home schooling. And of course there are other reasons than reasons of race for this; but let us be honest, race is one of the reasons. So we still have a problem!

The question then comes down to whether or not to honor individual choice now. Thus, this is a very, very difficult issue.

In our current political culture, individual choice has to be honored. Therefore, what do we do?

It really is a matter of suasion to continue to change attitudes about race. Our younger generation gets it -- so therein lies the hope for the nation's future regarding race relations. The actions of the sixties have had a positive effect. Attitudes have been changed.

Now we must assign very good teachers and additional financial support to the inner city schools. We must make provision for special schools for the hopeless class of children that our centuries-long racism has generated, in a continuing and enhanced attempt to give them hope for success in life apart from crime. So it is going to be expensive.

Therefore, we must stop the busing now and put out the dollars needed for the inner city schools, as just stated. Quality neighborhood schools and teachers is the way to go now. But it is going to cost money in teacher incentives and physical plants; we have no other choice, in my view. And it is going to take a few more generations of kids to see the additional progress generated, so we must be patient as well.

Posted by Perry Hood at June 16, 2007 09:25 AM

No, it was not. Something drastic had to be done to initiate integration and provide hope for an underclass culture! And it worked: Attitudes toward race have been changed, have improved.

You make the case that forced busing is responsible for this change in attitude. Yet, you cannot make any link to such a causation other than you believe it to be so. Curious, then, how someone forcing something upon a whole community results in such a change. It is highly unlikely.

As mentioned, per pupil spending was highest in the old Wilmington School District. "Something" had to be done ...?

You obviously have not read even a part of Professor Wolters' detailed report about NCC busing. I suggest you do before you make further unsubstantiated comments, Perry, like this:

No, I think not. The races/cultures had to be forced to mix at that time, otherwise we would have continued to promote apartheid. It is as simple as that in my mind.

Apartheid, Perry? Please tell us how that worked regarding schools. Desegregation was DE law since the 1950s, Perry. You are making the highly erroneous case that suits like Brown v. Board of Ed. mandated racial integration. They did not. They mandated that legal barriers to desegregation be dismantled. IOW, no laws that mandate black-only and white-only schools, etc. They did not mandate that whole populations be tranferred across miles of distance in the name of "integration."

So, since desegregation was already law in DE since the 50s, Perry, how do account for yet another erroneous comment? Using your logic, not only should have schools been forcibly integrated using some sort of racial bean-counting, but to "eliminate apartheid" we should have also forcibly mixed whole neighborhoods. Why didn't we do this, Perry?

In addition, the state legislature adopted a voluntary busing plan which allowed [city] children to attend any schools they wished. This was insufficient for Judge Schwartz. Because, obviously, he was of the same "correct" social engineering mind as you.

Whites still find ways to oppose racial mixing to this day: Private schools, selective charter schools, home schooling. And of course there are other reasons than reasons of race for this; but let us be honest, race is one of the reasons. So we still have a problem!

Gee, why in the world would people choose such alternatives over the wishes of some unelected lone judge, eh? Why would people not wish their children to be bused miles away from home -- when a school is right down the street? That, and the vehemently non-academic "culture" (for lack of a better term) that a portion of the city pop. manifested (and manifests).

But the best thing about your comment is that NONE OF IT has anything to do with why busing was implemented in the first place ("improvement of racial attitudes"). It was about improving [city] student achievement (it didn't) and "getting back" at a legislature that was believed to have perpetuated segregation in schools (it didn't) and for failing to come up with a deseg. that satisfied the judge.

Posted by Hube at June 16, 2007 10:27 AM

No, Perry -- we must make provision for special schools for the hopeless class of fools that generations of liberalism have produced.

You know, people like you.

Posted by Rhymes With Right at June 16, 2007 03:39 PM

Hube, I confess to extrapolating my lifelong observations and experiences to DE, granted, a dangerous argument. But this is a discussion of opinions, yours and Wolfort's included.

I don't think anyone would argue that at the time of Brown in the 60's, ours was still a deeply divided nation along racial lines nationwide, including the schools. All one needs for substantiation is to review the statements of President Johnson and ML King, and to review the racial tensions that existed at the time.

Nor would anyone argue about the importance of education to provide the foundation for success.

Nor would anyone argue that progress has not been made since then, substantial progress. Without substantiation I think it is fair to assume that integration/busing played a positive role, probably a prominent role in this progress.

Wolfort complains that the CSD has ignored the Neighborhood Schools Act. My argument with the CSD is not that, rather that they have not effectively implemented the NSA, by starting their new young teachers with assignments in Wilmington, instead of experienced and good teachers. I would expect that approach to turn students further off, and to chase new teachers out of the profession. Now you tell me, has that been the actual outcome in the CSD?

Frankly, I find Wolfort's attitude pathetic. He has given up trying. Can it be that his approach is actually untenable/impractical? Why didn't he run for the school board himself? Moreover, he brings politics into his argument, you know, those dirty "liberals".

Again, I think it is all about attitude and money. I'm for neighborhood schools, with quality faculty, with ample money, and with special schools for the special needs students. Too many people find it easier to write off the disadvantaged/dysfunctional black children as being outside educational remediation. As a former teacher, I simply don't like that attitude!

This then negates all the points you made in your concluding paragraph, because apparently the CSD has not done the above. Instead they wish to continue the busing approach, mostly blacks to the suburbs. This is not what the judge wants. I think the judge is right!

Busing was merely a quick, temporary action. Unlike the 60's, now the black children need to be educated in their own neighborhood schools with a quality educational program with competent experienced people and with adequate funding, as a route to providing equal opportunity for all children. Must we wait another 40 years before we do this?

Posted by Perry Hood at June 16, 2007 04:04 PM

Dude, did you READ the article? The man's name is Wolters for heaven's sake, not Wolfort.

And this hemming and hawing is beyond tiresome. Busing was NOT implemented for the reasons you cite nor desire, as much as you want it to be. And yet, you cannot acknowledge even to a small degree what an utter failure busing was based on the premises on which it was established.

What will happen, Perry, when is done what you wish in your last paragraph, and the results are still dismal? Will you outright ignore people who want to know why it, too, failed, just like I'm asking now -- and demand some other "solution" yet again?

Posted by Hube at June 16, 2007 04:33 PM

BTW, it wasn't an article, but a study.

Posted by Hube at June 16, 2007 04:34 PM

Wow. There are many things I could address here, but one comment in particular really shocked me: "Whites still find ways to oppose racial mixing to this day: Private schools, selective charter schools, home schooling. And of course there are other reasons than reasons of race for this; but let us be honest, race is one of the reasons."

Do you associate with many homeschooling families that you can open call them racist? I have many, many homeschooling friends and race has nothing whatsoever to do with their decision. Wanting closer family relationships, wanting to tailor education to meet the needs of their children who may not fit in well to a regular classroom for various reasons, wanting to take a road less traveled: yes, yes, yes. There are surely other reasons too. But racism? No. Or shall I go tell my African-American friends who homeschool that they're just racist at heart?

Posted by Anna Venger at June 16, 2007 06:09 PM

Anna, if the shoe fits, ....

For you the shoe does not fit.

Hube, I did read your exerpt of the e-mail, but got the name wrong. However, I stand by my comments about Wolter's unhelpful attitude of failure. He threw up his hands long ago, by his own admission. What good can come of this?

As far as black achievement and the reasons for it, we have different opinions. I credit desegregation for being a factor. It is going to take a few more generation to correct the damage done by whites to blacks for centuries. It is the strongest among them that step out and forward first. Too many are yet held back by their anti-education attitudes, you know, being like the whites. I find that attitude understandable, as unfortunate as it is for them. All teachers know exactly what I am talking about, including you, Hube.

OK, Hube, I have given my solution. What's yours?

Posted by Perry Hood at June 16, 2007 08:17 PM

"My argument with the CSD is not that, rather that they have not effectively implemented the NSA, by starting their new young teachers with assignments in Wilmington, instead of experienced and good teachers"

Wrong, CSD does not "start new young teachers" in wilmington school, CSD fills vacancies with new hires. Why are the vacancies in wilmington? because the teachers contract allows teachers with senority to choose their school.
It's not CSD choosing to put inexperianced teachers in wilmington, it is experianced teachers choosing to leave wilminton.

Posted by steamboat willy at June 16, 2007 11:12 PM

as for "racial mixing"...

the only black kids in my classes (college prep and AP) were from Newark and would have been my classmates with or without bussing. The only time I "mixed" with the kids from wilmington was at track practice.

Posted by NHS at June 16, 2007 11:20 PM

Equity in terms of the proper funding of schools in low-income communities is at the heart of these problems across the USA.

*
fair enough that I confounded low income communities with spending per student in those community schools
~
Steamboat - I was there when the CSD rep admitted that novice teachers are placed in the lowest performing schools. This can only perpetrate the cycle of poor quality education in low income schools and probably denotes a large part of the outcome.
A responsible, equitable district policy would decry such a ridiculous and injust condition set upon these communities (read: the teacher's union contracts need to be adjusted appropriately).

The advantage of putting the best teachers in to teach the most challenged kids isn't rocket science.

Posted by Nancy Willing at June 17, 2007 10:53 AM

Perry: What you NEED to do is read not only this post, but Wolters' ENTIRE REPORT, found here, (.pdf file) and not just his scant comments (from his e-mail) added to that more recent post.

As far as black achievement and the reasons for it, we have different opinions. I credit desegregation for being a factor.

As the saying goes, your entitled to your own opinions, but not entitled to your own facts. Study after study has shown that forced busing -- and even non-forced -- has little to NO impact on improving [minority] student achievement. This was the case here in DE, and another notable example is Kansas City.

I also find your statement "It is going to take a few more generation to correct the damage done by whites to blacks for centuries" curious with regards to this discussion. While I certainly concur with the overall sentiment, how does this apply to education and attitudes, especially when in the era of de jure segregation not only was [black] education achievement better, but other cultural factors like illegitimacy rates were nowhere near what we see now. How is that "progress" in that regard, Perry? How does one account for myriad barriers for minorities being torn asunder, yet cultural factors like those I mention going down the tubes?

You haven't really offered a solution, Perry. Where is it? All I see is "we need to wait a while more." That's not very specific nor helpful. What is a good start is to cut a huge portion of educational BS that we see in schools today that helps to perpetuate the [negative] attitudes of minority children. Some of these we have discussed before, like programs in Seattle (and elsewhere) which seek to pin all the blame on white teacher racism for this lack of achievement, and where administrators allow and make excuses for disruptive and dangerous student behavior by claiming it's "their culture."

What you suggested earlier about putting better teachers in the "neediest" schools sounds good; however, you will have to overcome union rules and even teacher personal preference to make that work -- meaning, you'll have to pay these teachers more, in some cases a LOT more. Call it "hazard pay," if you will. It sounds negative, sure, but the sad fact of the matter is that many of these schools are just plain dangerous. Look at this past school year in Philly. You could offer to pay me $10K more per year - even $20K - to teach in Chester, and there's no way I'd do it. Myriad more feel as I. Can you blame them, (me) Perry, for feeling thusly? Should teachers overlook their personal well-being? (And I'm not referring to just the potential for physical danger -- more likely it is the huge increase in daily stress levels from dealing with many many more disruptive, disrespectful and apathetic students.)

The "increased funding" as you (and Nancy) mention again is a red herring. Schools such as we're discussing already have some of the highest spending per pupil. How high should it go, Perry? What sort of results should we expect?

More later, but feel free to chime in in the interim.

Posted by Hube at June 17, 2007 11:33 AM

The advantage of putting the best teachers in to teach the most challenged kids isn't rocket science.

Sure. Now, how do you GET these teachers there, Nance?

Posted by Hube at June 17, 2007 11:35 AM

Would that I knew, would that I knew.

Posted by NW at June 17, 2007 05:16 PM

hmmm, do you think forcing "Good" teachers to leave the schools they love and work in Wilmington (with a pay cut - Wilm Wage Tax) will have an affect on the performance of the "Good" teachers?

start with the basic question, why do teachers flee wilmington schools? and are these factors correctable by the school district?

Posted by steamboat willy at June 17, 2007 06:53 PM

what makes a good teacher? what makes the best?

is an award winning High School Calculus teacher going to still be a superstar if he/she is given a remedial math class to teach? or is moved to a middle school?

Posted by steamboat willy at June 17, 2007 07:01 PM

Perry your entire argument for busing as a means to eliminate racial prejudices is without merit. It should be a lesson for anyone who looks at these sorts of programs without first establishing a control group.

I grew up across the state line in Pennsylvania in the Penn-Delco School District. My district was almost entirely Caucasian due entirely to neighborhood demographics. I had many friends who grew up in Delaware in the Brandywine School District. We had similar racial, social, religious, and economic backgrounds. I was born in '77, so all my peers from Delaware experienced busing. Our views on race were identical. This leads me to conclude that Delaware's busing program had no impact of them whatsoever.

Frankly, I've always considered Delaware's busing program to be an anachronism. It really has no value in addressing racial prejudice. It may have some value in addressing educational spending and quality of instruction, but give Hube's figures I doubt it.

Posted by Jeff the Baptist at June 18, 2007 02:55 PM

The way I would characterize my position, Jeff, is that busing temporarily increased the quality of educations for blacks, simply because they were bussed to better schools from inferior schools. I think the growing number of blacks we see in leadership positions, in business, and in the middle income segment attests to that improvement, although I admittedly cannot prove a cause-effect relationship. It just seems to me that the emergence of these educated and successful blacks began to emerge in a pronounced way about 20-30 years after the Brown decision.

I suspect that we are past needing that tactic, and should now focus more on improving the neighborhood schools in impoverished neighborhoods. It will take plenty more money and very generous teacher incentives.

"The "increased funding" as you (and Nancy) mention again is a red herring. Schools such as we're discussing already have some of the highest spending per pupil. How high should it go, Perry? What sort of results should we expect?"

Good discussion, good points Hube, but I don't agree with your red herring conclusion. There has to be enough money to have a well equipped and stocked school with safety of teachers given the highest priority, plus a substantial bonus to entice people like you to volunteer to teach there. How about $30K more? We are at the point now where these students are hard core anti-education, so turning this around will involve the best efforts we can possibly put forward. But we have to do it, otherwise we will continue to have these talented people turning to crime in order to achieve their successes. In my view, this is the least we can do for these families still unrecovered from the racism they have experienced and still do to some extent.

Posted by Perry Hood at June 19, 2007 10:44 AM

Hi! Good site respect! Visit preteen virgins and preteen nymphets and preteen virgins and preteen nymphets Thanks!

Posted by Emily at July 5, 2007 04:51 PM