In the United States, millions upon millions of children attend public schooling. These millions of children come from every background; African American, Caucasian, Asian, Latin, etc. All of these ethnicities go to our public schools. Not only are children categorized into different ethnic groups, but also economic groups. Children from low, middle, and high-income families all attend public schooling. Because of all these societal groups going to school together, public schooling can truly be characterized as an engine for multicultural education.
However, due to barriers within society (e. . acial discrimination and economic barriers and stereotypes), some students are not being taught in a multicultural environment. Due to this problem and the importance that most of society places upon multicultural education, school busing takes place. Busing is a very important and controversial method that is practiced to improve multicultural education to those who have had very little, if any, experience with it. Busing is also an engine used to end segregation within our schools. Equality was the reason for the start of busing in the first place.
We will discuss the definition of busing and whom it affects. We will discuss the important events that occurred before and after the landmark court case of Brown Vs. The Board of Education, which touched upon the issue of equality. Lastly, we will discuss the pros and cons of school busing. When most people think of the word school busing, they get the mental picture of a big yellow school bus. This big, yellow school bus goes out to the towns neighborhoods and picks up all the towns kids and brings them to school to receive their educations.
On most occasions, they are brought to the nearest school that is usually within their own neighborhood. Technically, this picture is correct, but it is not the same type of busing we will be discussing. The school busing we will be discussing is when a child from one neighborhood is picked up by a bus to attend a school in a totally different (sometimes far away) neighborhood. This is done even when a student lives close to the school within their neighborhood. So the question is, why is there a need for this type of busing and whom does it affect?
In order to answer these questions, we must discuss the revolutionary court case of Brown Vs. The Board of Education. Not only must we discuss the specifics of this case, but also we must look at why was there a need for this case and what are the after effects of this case. When the American Civil war took place in the early 1860s, the United States had already had a long-standing history of over 300 years of slavery. Millions of African Americans were considered slaves and because of this they were treated horribly and considered unequal to the White Americans.
In 1862, Abraham Lincoln, the Union President at that time, issued the Emancipation Proclamation. This proclamation stated that all slaves living within the Union are to be freed. This freed all slaves that were living in the Union states, but did not free the slaves that were in the Confederate States, of which there was a vast majority over the Union. The slaves in the Confederate states were finally freed when the Civil War ended in 1865, when the Confederate States rejoined the Union.
Soon after, in the late 1800s, the 14th Amendment was added to the United States Constitution, which stated that all citizens are to be considered and treated equally. Even though African-Americans were now considered equal in American society, most white Americans did not like the idea of sharing the same public facilities with African-Americans. Because of this, public facilities were segregated into Black facilities and White facilities. In 1896, after the Plessy Vs. Ferguson Court case, the Supreme Court found that segregation was not unconstitutional as long as the facilities were separate but equal.
In most cases, these segregated facilities were not equal. White Americans had nice, cold, clean, and well-maintained water fountains to drink from. African-Americans did not. White Americans had clean public restrooms while African-Americans did not. White Americans had clean, well-maintained restaurants. African-Americans did not. These are but a few examples in which African-Americans were found to be treated unequally. However, the most observable way in which African-Americans were treated unequally was in the educational system.
White students had well maintained schools. These schools were big and held many different grade levels. They were also financed very well and had the supplies and capabilities to educate their students very well and thoroughly. African-Americans, on the other hand, had poorly maintained schools. They were very poorly financed and held many different grade levels in very small numbers of classrooms. Not only were the facilities unequal, but also the curriculum was unequal. The curriculum was geared towards the White American society instead of the African-American society.
Also, African-Americans had to sometimes travel long distances to get to their segregated schools, even when a white school was in their neighborhood or very close to their own homes. This was the case for an African-American girl named Linda Brown. During the early 1950s, Linda Brown was a third grade student in the Topeka, Kansas School District. Due to her color, Linda had to walk one mile through a railway yard to reach her colored elementary school. Her father did not like this idea because a white elementary school was only a few blocks away from her house.
Her father, Oliver Brown, tried to enroll her in the white elementary school but was rejected by the principal of the school. Angered by this, Mr. Brown sought help from the local NAACP chapter. The NAACP did just that and in 1951, they requested an injunction that would forbid the segregation of Topekas public schools. On the dates of June 25th and 26th 1951, the U. S. District Court for the District of Kansas heard Browns case. The NAACP argued that segregated schools sent a false message to children. The false message that colored students were inferior to white students; therefore, the schools were inherently unequal.
One of the witnessess for the NAACP testified that: f the colored children are denied the experience in school of associating with white children, who represent 90 percent of our national society in which these colored children must live, then the colored childs curriculum is being greatly curtailed. The Topeka curriculum or any curriculum cannot be equal under segregation. The Board of Educations defense was that they were simply preparing colored children for the segregation they would face in adulthood. These two arguments gave the court a difficult task in deciding.
The judges did agree with the NAACP witnesses and stated that segregation does have a harmful effect on colored children because the sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. But on the other hand, the Plessy Vs. Ferguson court case allowed separate but equal school systems, and no Supreme Court decision over turned it yet. Because of this, the court ruled in favor of the Board of Education. Brown and the NAACP appealed to the Supreme Court on October 1, 1951, however their case was not the only case. Other cases from South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware were combined to challenge school segregation.
On December 9, 1952 the Supreme Court heard the first case, but did not reach a decision. On December 7-8 1953, the court heard the rearguement and requested that both sides discuss the 14th amendment. This reagruement did very little but the court had to make a decision. On May 17, 1954, Chief Justice Earl Warren read the decision: We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of races, even though the physical facilities and other tangible factors may be equal, deprive children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities?
We believe that it doesWe conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of separate but equal has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. It was then decided that desegregation must occur in order to have a truly equal educational system that equally and thoroughly educates students from both ethnicities. This is where the idea of school busing comes into play.