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Remembering Busing And School Desegregation In Los Angeles




Youngsters head for a school bus in Berkeley, California on Feb. 24, 1970, as part of a busing program to mix black and white students.
Youngsters head for a school bus in Berkeley, California on Feb. 24, 1970, as part of a busing program to mix black and white students.
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The biggest moment in last week’s Democratic presidential debate between California Senator Kamala Harris and former Vice President Joe Biden has brought back to the fore one of the most divisive policies facing education in the 1970s: to desegregate public schools by busing.

A handful of court decisions in the 1970s paved the way for busing as a way to integrate public schools in the Los Angeles Unified School Districts. The practice bussed African American students from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods to wealthier and white-dominated schools and areas -- and vice versa. Mandatory busing came to an end in 1979, with the passage of a state constitutional amendment.

Proponents say that busing, although not perfect, is an effective way to ensure racial and resource parity in LAUSD. One of the consequences of busing, like opponents had warned, was a “white flight” from LAUSD neighborhoods, and white parents taking their kids out of public schools to attend private schools.

Call AirTalk at 866.893.5722 if you attended LAUSD in the 70s and experienced the impact of desegregation busing.

Guest:

Howard Blume, education reporter at the Los Angeles Times, who has published a piece this week looking at the fight over busing in Los Angeles in the 1970s