Watching the Democratic riots (aka “debates”) the other night, I was surprised that Biden didn’t tell the real truth about busing. Because this is a subject with which we are intimately familiar here. Garry covered Boston’s busing crises and has an Emmy for his work. He interviewed white families, black families, every family. He interviewed politicians, teachers, and the kids who got bused.
I think by the time he was done with the story, he had interviewed almost everyone in Boston. Everyone had an opinion, but the most pointed ones were from the families who were directly affected by busing and the kids who were bused.
Because you see, the outcome has been clear for years: BUSING DIDN’T WORK.
Educators and other organizations have done study-after-study about it. It did not improve race relations or education. It absolutely failed. However well-intentioned the idea, busing kids long distances to schools which did not welcome the students and where they would not make friends or get a better education didn’t solve any problems. It probably created new ones.
The real issue?
We need to invest in our schools. Money. Schools need money. Teachers need salaries. Schools need better textbooks and materials. Laboratories, computers. It’s not about better cafeterias and larger playing fields.
It’s about better learning.
Moving kids of different races, so you can say you have somehow achieved diversity, is nonsense. I’m surprised Biden didn’t bother to point it out. For that matter, I’m shocked that Kamala didn’t point it out either. I’m sure she knows as well as we do. Should Biden have supported busing despite not believing in it? Because it was the currently “right thing to do”?
I think not, but then again — I’m not a follower of trends or fads, no matter how well-meant.
Our school issues — local and national — are ruined by lack of funding. By an unwillingness of states, towns, and the federal government to spend enough money to make our schools what they ought to be. To pay teachers what they are worth. To make teaching an attractive profession.
Whenever a government runs short of money, the first thing they cut is education. They refuse to buy quality textbooks or even school supplies. The result is a nation full of stupid, ignorant people. Maybe some of them would have been stupid and ignorant anyway, but I’m sure the lack of education didn’t help.
It’s time to start questioning the idea that diversity automatically improves education and thus physically moving children from one school to another is in itself solving some educational problem. It isn’t.
In effect, what happened is anyone who could afford it sent their children to private schools. Since both sets of schools involved in Boston busing were in poor neighborhoods — no accident — the result was non-education for everyone.
If we don’t invest in education, we’ll never have educated students of any color. Bad schools produce poor education. If schools are sufficiently bad, the result is uneducated students.
We talk a good game per education in the U.S., but we don’t live it. We don’t contribute to it. So while we worry about college debt, how about we put a little of that concern into worrying about teaching kids to read and understand what they are reading? Teach them some real history, not the crap they get in their old, out-of-date (and probably never accurate even when they were new) textbooks.