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Busing: Birth of a Ruination

Summary:
Bobbi Fiedler was a prophet. Fiedler was the 38-year-old mom and housewife who damn near single-handedly slew the mandatory school busing dragon in L.A. in the 1970s. Her organization, Bustop, gained 30,000 members in its first month. Fiedler organized the takeover of the local school board, replacing pro-busing ideologues with people who actually cared about education, and she won a congressional seat by running on an anti-busing platform. In April 1989, the L.A. Times ran a retrospective on the busing controversy to commemorate the ten-year anniversary of Proposition 1, which effectively ended busing in California. While all of the other participants in the conflict, pro and con, acted as though mandatory busing was six feet

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Bobbi Fiedler was a prophet. Fiedler was the 38-year-old mom and housewife who damn near single-handedly slew the mandatory school busing dragon in L.A. in the 1970s. Her organization, Bustop, gained 30,000 members in its first month. Fiedler organized the takeover of the local school board, replacing pro-busing ideologues with people who actually cared about education, and she won a congressional seat by running on an anti-busing platform.

In April 1989, the L.A. Times ran a retrospective on the busing controversy to commemorate the ten-year anniversary of Proposition 1, which effectively ended busing in California. While all of the other participants in the conflict, pro and con, acted as though mandatory busing was six feet under with a stake through its heart, Fiedler knew better:

“The issue is not dead. I’m convinced that the proponents of forced busing will not give up.”

Twenty years, almost to the month, after Fiedler spoke those words, Democrat harpy Kamala Harris announced that she wanted to bring busing back.

As Camus so famously wrote, “The plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good.”

It also bears mentioning that Harris’ call to reanimate forced busing’s rotting corpse comes at the exact moment that Coca-Cola is bringing back New Coke. Coincidence?

In last week’s column, I approached the busing issue anecdotally. This week, in Part II, I’ll “dive” a bit deeper.

Let’s begin with the one thing busing’s proponents don’t want you to know: It was never about improving academic achievement. These days, the defeated veterans of the pro-busing movement of fifty years ago, and the neo-retards who are embracing it now, love to employ the talking point that forced busing was all about “helping black kids receive better schooling.”

That is simply and objectively not true. Busing was mandated by the courts for one reason and one reason only: to integrate schools for the sake of integrating schools. To fight against “separate but equal.” Academic considerations were secondary. Desegregating schools wasn’t a means to an end (i.e., “helping black kids get better grades”); it was the end. “Mixing” black and white was the goal, and more often than not, the experts spent their time not claiming that busing would help test scores or grades, but rather that it wouldn’t hurt them.

In Part I, I introduced you to Dr. John A. Finger, the court-appointed architect of the most commonly used busing plans of the era. In 1974, in a successful attempt to force Denver schools to adopt his plan, Finger told Judge William E. Doyle of the U.S. Court of Appeals Denver, Colorado, “I wish that the citizens of Denver would know and believe that the bringing of people together is better than the alternatives of keeping them apart.”

The goal was “bringing people together.” Grades and test scores were an afterthought.

A 1974 pro-busing (but honest) study by Baylor University Professor Lawrence Felice for the United States Department of Education, Health, and Welfare (DEHW) concluded that bused black students showed “slightly lower achievement levels than non-bused students,” but “while the results of this study are inconclusive concerning the benefits of busing for black student achievement performance,” the influence of busing on grades and test scores was secondary to “the influence of school desegregation on the development of attitudes favorable to integration and the development of interracial friendships.”

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