thumbnail of The Compass Weekly; Racial Imbalance Hearings
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
It is it. Live from the state house. A compass special. Complete coverage of the racial imbalance hearing. Good morning this is at baumeister with jewelry store and lee daniels. We're about to begin day two of the legislature's education committee hearings on. Proposed repeal of the state's
racial imbalance act. Day one yesterday was devoted to. Hearing people who favored repeal of the nine year old law. Today. Is devoted to people who favor keeping the wall. In the auditorium already. Is the spiritual leader of a lot of people who were here yesterday. When berto cardona deros was expected to testify today. In favor of keeping the state racial balance act. Is under that act that passed and there is parliament there i was in the audience. That is under this act that. The city of boston will require this fall to balance all of its schools. That balancing will involve bussing some students. And the inevitability of that. Brought about twenty thousand people to the state house yesterday. Not on here of course but they massed outside. The auditorium here was pretty much full all day here and yesterday ran from ten in the morning until seven forty five at night. Politicians parents. All were heard by the. Joint committee on education. This is the second and final day of these hearings.
What happens from here is the education committee. Takes a vote. Decides on whether or not to recommend to the legislature. A repeal of the law modification. Then the legislature. Act on it so this is a very preliminary step but it's the only step in the process where the people have a chance to be heard. The audience today is somewhat different from the audience yesterday. The racial composition the different yesterday's. Audience was predominantly white. Today it is a mixture of black and white. We have here besides the cardinal other church leaders other priests and. At least one minister i know is here. Educators. Parents of black children who are busting into the suburbs on. Under what is known as the met coal program which has pretty much a full house. This auditorium holds about five hundred fifty people.
Now and riley is a massive catholic conference. That's actually sort of a lobbying group here at the state house. And he's now talking. The situation here yesterday was quite different from what it is today. Outside there was a cordon of policemen were blocked off the front entrance to the state house so we know. Outpouring of twenty or twenty five thousand people today monday proponents of tension. But there is a good crowd here. That's interesting because yesterday. Hearing here at the state house and. Publicly because of the margin because of the very high feeling. I love hearing. It really. Much publicity. People didn't organize a demonstration we don't have the police cordon. Out. So i don't see how so he said yesterday in your garden right of course it's going very rapidly. And i think we
could have this process in here most of the day. Like you said earlier. Then as it seems to be a pretty good representation of people from the black community and last night we're all part of model city management i get the title as. I would expect as you mentioned that there are a lot of parents here. Childrens our children are in the operation exodus. For the metro. Programs which are a voluntary program which is operating in the black community for some time and i see alan jackson with an hour with a department of education the bureau what educational opportunity. Now in jackson was one of the principal founders of the operation. Exodus program way back your father would be interesting to hear what you said i understand that the commissioner thanked the mission of education. Just as a test of. It will be interesting. Well i guess it'll be interesting almost immediately. The hearing is about to begin let's go down to the
floor. The committee in education will convene allowing flexibility today. And a little bit more latitude unusual in committee hearings we were all out anyone testifying. To testify on any bill that is on our calendar. Today. Rather than take the bills and audra anyone wishing to testify. And we will sit here and listen to anyone. Wishing to testify. To direct their comments to any. Petition that is on your calendar.
As it is a policy this committee. And other committees. The first people testifying to the people representing the largest constituency. Are numbers of people. Then we listen to our legislators. In titular head. In education and any person. After that is wishing to testify. Evidence. Mr chairman and members of the joint committee and education. I am a card in the dia rhodes. Bishop of boston. I wish to thank you for the opportunity
to express my support for the racially imbalanced that. And i wish to record my opposition to any bill which would either read or weaken the attack in nine hundred sixty five. The great and. General court of massachusetts. Has the racially imbalanced law mandating. Limitations of racially imbalanced in schools and. Place. This state border with the state board of education. The power and. The responsibility for it to enforcement. The subsequent. Session. The legislature has been asked to repeal the imbalance of law or to make changes. Which would modify it.
In each of the legislative. Hearings. Concerning the archdiocese of boston. For years. And that card and of course. And then. My direction. Has urged the implementation of this law. Which despite sun. Weaknesses. Is an attempt to guarantee quality. Integrated education. To the children of this great commonwealth. We have supported the law. Because it is right. Because it caused a citizen to call the rates for the common goal. Of all we state again today. That the ratios in balance. Unfortunately. Existence in
some of our public schools. In fact. There are more schools in balance to invest state. Now than they were when the racially imbalanced as was bad. Many reliable. Social indices. Such as the colonel report. The coleman report the report of the united states commission on civil rights. Indicates that this imbalance. Represents a serious conflict with the american creed of equal opportunity. More specifically. In terms of my own position as archbishop and quick to predict. To the soul of the roman catholic church that was here before you today.
Witness my church which has always spoken out of social justice. I take my position on this law. Concern about the problems. Which would be entailed by its implementation. I do not wish to underestimate the gravity of these problems. Nevertheless. I see them as. Difficulties which. Overcome by the efforts of people who are convinced of then this city conciliation to justice for all. And this. And harmony. I myself. To worry every way possible. To promote such.
Reconciliation. As a priest and as a big ship. I urge legislators and school. Acts. And that. Now. Doing sure. The best education in the most balanced. Environment possible. The best information available to us. Suggests that such an education. The implementation of the ratios in bowden's law. They implementation of the racially imbalanced law. Will not by itself. Eliminate the problems of racial injustice in america. Not even in massachusetts. Indeed qualities are not limited to
education. Is every bit as much. And at least as. Seriously. In the areas of housing and employment. I stand with those who are convinced that the problems of racial injustice in a country will never be solved. Merican has equal opportunity. In the marketplace of jobs and the. Fully recognize his right to determine where he will leave. But via the racially balancing of our schools is not a total solution. It is a beginning. That we must. Made it is a beginning. Which will impose.
Difficulties. On many parents students teachers and education administrators an individual who i know. Cried with racists and then members of the sect of our society. But who must bear the burdens of history. And the redress of. Past and present injustice. I empathize. With their anxieties. My heart goes out to them. And i are just that every effort being made in this thing then. To overcome the difficulties. Which will be related to the implementation of this law school. That those who do not live where the implementation of this law will cause difficulties.
See the problem for what it is seven think which is not only the problem of our large cities. But which is the problem of our whole society. It is a modest sickness which is seriously. Our society. It will only bring all of us from big cities cities and suburban towns. From the poor little collapse. And the wealthy. As in the prove a servant of the malady and. Determine to struggling against aids. The implementation of the racially imbalanced law. Is only a step on the road to justice. It is this. Which will not be easy
for any our backs. But in the words of the chinese proverb. Which the late president john fitzgerald kennedy was fond of quoting a journey of a thousand my big singles. With confidence in the justice. Of this law and. Good sense of. And did the necessity of entrusting ourselves to divine providence. I call upon the citizens of good all citizens of good lean. To join hands and. Tape. The first. Ted. In the hope that i would share any would be made an anathema seer. Of reconciliation. I am a cousin i own prayer and. The words of that martin the apostle
of reconciliation. Dr martin luther king. The end of their story of always as has the nation to be to men the rate today. That is a hope. He said that the dr nile does racial prejudice. Will soon pass as a wade. And the deets fathers news to understanding. Will be days did. From ours be drenched to the unity tz. And in the not too distant tomorrow. The radiant sties of love and. Brotherhood. Will shine. Thank you lou.
Standing ovation for call them with their owners who have come out. Opposed to quote any bill that would repay you. Or we can write one valentine This.. The bishop of the episcopal diocese of massachusetts. Mr chairman. Members of the joint. Education committee. And of the general corps. I'm very honored to be here. To ask your support for us in our determination to maintain the racial. Imbalance of law i have appeared before this committee before. In its defense. I have also served on the racial imbalance advisory committee. And i am here today. Once again to urge your support for the retention of the racial. Imbalance law.
I'm sure that all of us present in this room. Agree unanimously. On one common goal. We are committed to the achievement of quality education for all our children. The racial balancing of our schools. Is the first and necessary first to step in and is he eating. This process a process which i think we would all agree. Has been delayed too long in the boston school system. The racial imbalance law provides us with a proper legal framework within which to begin. What we must keep. Foremost in our hearts and minds. Throughout this entire controversy. Is that by racially balancing our schools. We begin much more than the task of securing quality education. In addition we will drive a wage. Into the center of underlying questions. Of segregated housing. Restrictive zoning
in the suburbs. Urban decay. And lack of economic opportunity. Which afflicts. Black. Spanish speaking. And poor white people alike. If we do not address these issues which affect quality education. We will be doomed. To an endless repetition of the social evils. That have plagued the city of boston. And its school system. For the past fifteen years. No matter what happens. We should be wise enough and. Firm enough. In our commitment to quality education. That our attention and energies. Not be diverted from the real issues before us. By the rhetoric. Regarding busing. Finally they repeal or amend that or the racial imbalance act. Will not deal with the anguished cries of white parents who fear for the safety of their children. Repeal or amendment. Will
only increase. The sense of hopelessness and frustration. Of black parents who daily witnessed the failure of the educational system. Really to inspire and involve. Black young people. Certainly repeal or amendment. Will not assuage the fears of all people. That the implementation of the state plan. Or one directed by a federal court. Will provoke senseless violence or further polarization. There need be no violence. At any school affected by the balancing plan. Due to be implemented in september. If the citizens of boston. Join together in good will to see this plan through. In an orderly way. Therefore as a churchman i ask. Is it not better. To suggest that the focal point. Which this issue. Gives us. Be taken as our.
For tuna's easy to turn hesitancy. Into a dialogue. Hopeless this into a vision and they're into concrete solutions for change. For in fact the future belongs to our youth. And if in seeking to bring them together. We drive ourselves apart. What have we gained. I was there for her you and your colleagues in the legislature. To join with us in the church. And those of all persuasions. In the community. To seek ways to preserve the potential justice. In the racial imbalance act. And translate that justice. Into action. That can bring. Quality education to all. Thank you very much. Thank you lou.
The chairman members of the committee represented giles flair of cambridge in the third middlesex district. Pairing in opposition to the several bills before you to repeal the racial imbalance law. The chairman and distinguished members of the committee. If you had to sum up in a single word. The essence of american civilization. What would you say. Is a freedom democracy. Equality decency. Brotherhood. I would answer. Access. A safety asset. Let me explain. We have a declaration of independence. Which says that all men are up on. Free and equal. I hope. We are all born free. But we are born very unequal with our naval potentials. And ability. It has nothing to do with race class color religion or economic category. It has to do with individual differences.
I have four children of my own. And every one of them was want an equal. With an equal ability and potential. But we also have the idea in america. That there ought to be equal access to equal life chances. So that every. Unequally born youngster. Gets the chance to develop his unequal ability to the full. And that concept of x. that. We find the hot. Of the american civilization experience. One of the tests by which we can judge the health of our democracy. Is the extent to which. Access is becoming equal. The racial imbalance act has been an effort and that direction. It's repeal would be a slap in the face. To that majority of black americans who are actively working for freedom and justice. From their point of disadvantage. They see that american institutions public and private have a myriad of procedures practices and attitudes that effectively exclude people with non white skins and non
european ancestry. From full participation. Economic a political a social in american life. They see institutional racism in a public school system. That makes little or no effort to educate certain children. On the ground that the system failed to educate the parents. And therefore the children are quote. Culturally disadvantage. That is. Ineducable. They see institutional racism in vain. But then i credit the certain people on the grounds that they could never grant that such people credit. And that therefore they are uncertain credit risks. They see it an employer who set hiring standards the tree equally everybody who has credentials that certain people are almost sure not to have. They see it in policeman or arrests or people more often than others what petty offenses. And then site arrest the to sticks to prove that such people are prone to crime and should be arrested often. They see it in the highway department. That one freeways through certain neighborhoods. Like riled up land in those neighborhoods this cheap. That is that it doesn't matter if the homes of poor people.
Destroy a problem of justice with blacks. Has not on the national conscience. Of a sense this nation was founded. It is in an important sense. The american problem. If any problem. Is especially applique uli are. With roots and eye history. And cigars in our memory. This is it. No of the modern problem touches more profoundly the values we profess to cherish. And history has handed our generation. The task of solving it. I would suggest that repeal of the racial imbalance act. Is not part of that solution. And respectfully request. You reject this legislation. Thank you as a crowd of about one hundred people out of saigon on the floor now trying to get in waiting for me on a tory. Meeting on education.
I am bishop lawrence j. reilly and zilly every bishop of the roman catholic archdiocese of boston. With particular responsibility. Under his eminence cardinal monday rowse. For the central region of iraq's diocese. Which includes the city of boston. My statement is brief. Its tone is meant to be conciliatory. I am not be insensitive to the concern on the part of parents. For the safety and welfare of their children. This is a concern. Which is innate in all parents. Of all races. Of all creeds and of all. Economic backgrounds. I would like to stress also our basic obligation.
As human beings as children of god. As americans who have inherited the fundamental guarantees of the declaration of independence. And the constitution of the united states. I would like to stress. Our basic obligation to accord. To all men and women and children. Equality of opportunity. And the quality of education. This is a demand of justice. Because god is the father of our soul. And because we are all brothers and sisters to one another. Racial discrimination is immoral. Furthermore integration in education. Is the law of our land. And the massachusetts statute. Is oriented toward the attainment of that
integration. In the difficult days that lie ahead. We must aim to avoid. Inequities in the implementation of the statute. And we must aim to reduce to a minimum. The possibility of confrontation. Violence will solve no problem calling names and hurling efforts that will only worsen. An already tense situation. We have no right to question the motives. Are cast doubts on the good faith. Of anyone. Please god. Public officials. Education experts. And our citizens in general. Must strive without ceasing to devise some. Plan for
integration that. Need not resort to mandatory transportation of students. The potenza reality of suburban involvement. Must be seriously considered. Those who wield influence in the community. Whether by reason of holding public office. Or by reason of their position. In the religious or professional or business life of the community. They must bend. Every effort toward a universal acceptance of what our divine lord so impressively tossed in the sermon on the mount blasted. Are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of god. It is my fervent hope. And i think that i can speak with at least
a guarded optimism. It is my fervent hope. Please god. That the people of our city. With the proper a maro guidance. Will meet the test. This faces them. Thank you for your attention. Thank you mr brierly. There is a question from represented finnigan. Your excellency. I too hope that once of kemba comes. Boston will be a calm city. I'd like to ask you a question place. Is there any particular reason why in the archdiocese of boston. No bishop. Is assigned. In the as a dentist to any parish in
roxbury digest stuff. Or even the state of the diocese. The holy cross of the south then. No i don't believe there is any particular reason for that. When our diocese was our archdiocese was reorganized. Into three sections. Three regions. One the central section of the archdiocese and the other. The second the northern section of the thirdly. Southern section. An auxiliary bishop of boston was placed in each one of those sections by his eminence the card. At that time i happened to be pastor of a parish in boston. And his eminence allowed me to remain as pastor of the parish in boston. I have lived all of my life i was born in roxbury. Lived all of my life in the city of boston except for periods. When i started in europe and in washington. And i would consider myself a. Bostonian.
Who loves the city of boston and. Consider myself. Very much interested in concern about the problems of the city of boston. Thank you bishop. Mr brierly. No money and i am in the in the bishop but i think you can obtain a copy of that from. Monsignor grant the highness thank you thank you. Sure. I
didn't just chairman members of the committee. I am racist so your q. Chairman of the board of education of the commonwealth. Twenty years ago this was the supreme court of the united states. In the case of rome versus topeka. Rendered a landmark decision. In support of the basic principle of equal educational opportunity for all children in one nine hundred sixty vive. The general court of this commonwealth passed first racial imbalance law in the nation. With similar intent. To eliminate racial isolation. In one nine hundred seventy four. No responsible person would openly of all that the state or its people. Morally legally or educationally. Could consciously countenance segregation by race in our schools. The tragedy of our day however lies in our inability nine years after the enactment of the racial imbalance lats to end racial isolation which still persists in the schools in two of our great cities.
The deepest of our differences. Seem to revolve around our understanding of what the neighborhood school can and should do to ensure equal educational opportunity. The course of this commonwealth have sanctioned school district changes which create larger neighbors. Good schools that serve to unite our children of different backgrounds. This is the basis upon which the board of education has helped to make racial balancing plans. These are the grounds upon which the board of education appeals to parents. Legislators and others to sustain the racial imbalance act. You have a list of the bills we are opposing before you are within a dander with our reasons however there is one general statement i would like to make the commonwealth is currently a defendant in a harry segregation case involves an existing score. Therefore i respectfully remind your committee that in asked one of the bills which would repeal or cripple the racial imbalance act. Could expose the state. To further charges of day here a action. Which violates the equal protection clause of
the fourteenth amendment. The board of education has been advised that there may be a parallel here. With the proposition fourteen. Housing case in california right then versus more. And with the new york legislature's attempt to limit racial balance reassignments. Leave versus nyquist. Franklin d. roosevelt is another crisis period of our history reminded us that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. The board of education is a deeply conscious of the fears of black and white children and their parents. But america is great because people have at other times put fears aside and work together. Helping our children to learn to live together is our surest guarantee of sustaining this nation faces. There are still people outside their outside god not a tory in waiting to get in the auditorium is now filled to capacity. As a look at some of those people it's raining lightly out
there. Some people looking in the window at the hearings as they continue. Just about. Just. There are many members of the committee. My name is. Gregory and i am. Commissioner of education. For the commonwealth of massachusetts. A year ago. I have here before this committee for the first time as commissioner of education. The subject. Then is now. Was the racial imbalance law. And proposals to repeal or weaken it. I urge you then to stand fast. I urge you today. To stand fast. I promise you a year ago. That the board of education and i would proceed judiciously.
And with an open mind. But also with perseverance. This promise has been fulfilled. And has been affirmed by decisions of the highest court of the commonwealth. It is well to remind ourselves again. How we arrived at this controversial point in time. The racial imbalance law was passed nine years ago. In the intervening years. Three cities have complied fully with the law. In boston. The board and school committee have gone through torturous negotiations. To exhaust voluntary approaches. For reducing racial imbalance. New schools have been constructed with extra state aid on sites bordering black and white neighborhoods. Met go and exodus have been initiated with state support. So-called magnet schools have been created with federal dollars. And state encouragement. Open enrollment policies counter to the law's intent. Had been prep changed under
state pressure. To control transfer a procedure is. Which are supportive of its intent. In the absence of new legislation. And substantial new appropriations voluntary. Approaches. Have been largely exhaust. That in boston. Redistricting. And reassignment. As the supreme judicial court has pointed out. Must now be faced. The state has been criticized for preparing such a short term. Racial balance plan for boston. The state would not have done this. If local officials had fulfilled their responsibilities under the law. When local officials failed to act. The state is required to act under the law. In short the state had no choice. The board of education i offer no apologies for the short term plan. Developed by the state. It is based on realities which limit actions by the
board of education. As well as by all others concerned. These realities are. First the law and its different definition of what is compliance. Second the careful interpretation. Given the law. By the supreme judicial court. In september one thousand nine hundred seventy two. Regarding consideration to be given neighborhoods. Sizes and shapes of districts. Transportation distances. And safety provisions. Third the location and capacities of existing school buildings. And forth. The residence and race of students by grade level. The short term plan is based on these realities. In the judgment of the supreme judicial court. The plan properly fulfills the requirement of law. You have heard testimony about massive busing. The facts in boston. The facts. In boston. Are that out
of approximately thirty six thousand elementary students in grades one through five. Less than thirty three hundred. Will be assigned to. School more than one mile from home. Under the state plan. Over eighteen hundred elementary students are bussed now. Without a plan. Out of approximately twenty thousand intermediate students in grades six through eight. We estimated that we estimate that less than twenty eight hundred students. Will require transportation. For reason of distance or safety. And yet right now. In the boston public schools. Without a balanced plan. More than thirty thousand students at all grade levels. Take some sort of transportation to school each day. The state plan does not require massive busing. It requires a small increase in existing busing. In boston.
Those who criticize the state plan. Should be reminded that its existence is due to the refusal of elected officials. To comply with the law of the commonwealth. I wish to point out that the racial plan. Balance plan for springfield. Indorsed by the state. And being heard today by the supreme judicial court. Was developed by the springfield school department staff. Not by the board of education staff. In springfield legal challenges to the law being pursued. No less vigorously than in boston. But at the same time local responsibility. Also has been exercised. To develop an acceptable plan. Under local leadership. There are those who call for more time. And border involvement. Again. Let's look at the facts. The law was passed. Nine years ago. In november one thousand nine hundred seventy two. The board of education proposed a plan which simply group schools in general areas of the city.
And urge that representative neighborhood. Advisory councils be formed to work out student. Simons. This was sixteen months ago. In march through may nine hundred seventy three in the absence of an acceptable response in the boston school committee. And at the direction of the supreme judicial court. Adjudicatory hearings were held on to harvard law professor lewis jaffe. During these hearings the state's plan was substantially modified. Based on detailed testimony of boston school officials. At the end of the hearing. Professor jaffe recommended that the state plan be implemented forthwith. That is by september one thousand nine hundred seventy three. The board of education in june one thousand nine hundred seventy three. Decided instead to delay implementation for one year. To allow more time for planning and community involvement. This was nine months ago. On october twenty ninth one nine hundred seventy three the highest court of
the commonwealth. Unanimously approved the board's decision. And the state plan. This was five months ago. In the words of the supreme judicial court itself. And i quote. The committee must understand that the time for testing the meaning of the statute. Has long since passed. And that the time for prompt action to implement it is at hand and quote. I agree with this judgement. Time has run out. Final resolution is before the commonwealth courts. And that is where it should stay. Yesterday many parents urge this joint committee. To back off of the nine year old commitment. Contained in the racial imbalance law. I do not question the sincerity of these parents. I understand their genuine fears and concerns. These fears and concerns are shared by black. As well as white families.
Neither the law. Law. Nor it's in foresman. Are aimed at these parents. Rather they are aimed at a system which has been allowed for too long to perpetuate it's to boot. To perpetuate itself. In governing the schools of boston. It is a system which in the judgment of a federal hearing examiner. Is in violation of the federal civil rights act. It is a system which he concluded after all the testimony. Is a day jury. Or dual school system. One which for blacks. Is separate and unequal. We are in a state which honors law. Principle. And fairness. All are at stake here today. To allow any system. To treat some citizens unfairly. Is a violation of all we profess to stand for in the commonwealth. And it affects us all. This is especially true when the
citizens happen to be children. I am convinced that as long as some are permitted to use issues of race to divide us. We will be unable to address the issues of quality education. In boston. And there are issues of quality education in boston. Aren't to which white children. Especially poor white children suffer as much as black children. Issues of reading levels. Dropout rates. Job preparation. Education of the handicapped. And bilingual education. It is to these issues that we must turn without further delay. As has been true in the south. This will not take place fully. Until separation of the races in public schools. Is put behind us. We can defer to the federal courts. Or to those who would divide us. Or we can again measure up to the traditions of our commonwealth. For integrity and stand fast. I urge you mr chairman.
Members of the committee. To do just that. Stand fast. Thank you lou. Present a finnigan. Commission on. The shot to plan to racially balance. Law schools public schools. Certain patch of the city have been left untouched under the present plan. Next year will you now. Balance. The other schools. Represent a fitting i'm glad you raised that question this deals with the four realities with which the state plan has to be developed. And supreme judicial court. In its decision of september one hundred seventy two. Said that school districts could not be large. Gerrymandered. Or noncontiguous that is not a joining to each other that they had to bear.
Reasonable proximity though not fixed proximity to recognize neighborhoods. The supreme judicial court also said that younger children. If they must be transported. Should be transported shorter distances than older children. We applied that by using a general rule that no elementary attendance district. Would be greatest larger than two miles from the point of residence of the child. To the further school that he would have to attend at the elementary level. Now if you apply that to the city of boston. Given the location of where the black students reside. It was not possible to reach out. Into certain parts of the city. Most particularly in the west roxbury. And the hyde park. Brighton. Charles town. And east boston. The reason that those areas are not affected at the elementary levels. By zoning. Is because this way. Been would have been counter to the interpretation of the supreme judicial court. This is not by choice of the board but rather by responding to the facts placed before us. By the course.
Representative. Commission was one step further than. If i follow your reasoning. It's impossible to balance. Every school in boston. Is that which telling me. Under the state's racial imbalance law as interpreted by the supreme judicial court which is the highest court of the commonwealth. It is not possible at the elementary level. To balance all of the schools. There are presently about twenty thousand students. At the elementary level and imbalance schools. On the state plan. Seven thousand students would remain that way. I do want to make one point in connection with that if i may representative. There's been some talk about the number of schools that are left imbalanced. The number of schools is not as critical as the number of children because some of the schools left in balance are very small schools. There are presently at all grade levels in boston about thirty thousand students in imbalance schools. On the state plan that is the. Under consideration and before the courts now. There would only be ten thousand students left in imbalance schools. That is a
significant accomplishment. Of the state short term plan. One more question mr chairman. Yesterday. Commissioner we had testimony here from members of home school associations that. Certain black children. Who are now attending new schools in the dock just a rock for a peripheral rate were going to be reassigned to. Old white schools. To balance off. White schools. Is that a fact. I heard that testimony as i tried to follow all of the testimony yesterday representative. If i remember and. Forgive me i may be wrong on the detail of this as i remember that testimony it was not. Students from a new school it was students from an old school. They're being reassigned it was the. The student with a school with one hundred twenty enrollment i think the issue was brought up in connection with that. It's not one of the new schools one of the oldest schools in the city. There are students who are presently assigned to. Newer schools who will have to be reassigned
yes. But there are not many students in that category as i recall. It's mostly students from older schools where we are saying that those capacities are no longer needed. Those schools by the way. Are partially wood in construction. Frequently. And are schools that were recommended as longo's one hundred sixty six to be closed for safety reasons. So next year. Should the residential the residential. Make up of that neighborhood. In that school. Move further black. More black children then would be deprived of that school. I'm not quite clear the question. Represent. You know i think if the enrollment in that school. Increases. With more blacks. Attending the no school. Then some of those blacks will have to be transferred. Further into some of the path of the city. No sir as we are about to close schools. As we understand where we stand right now. We have gone as far as the law and the courts from it is to go
on balancing the elementary schools of boston. It is not possible. Through redistricting or rezoning. To go further than the state plan now goes now. The issue that you. You may be concerned about quite understandably is. Is whether the federal court decision comes into this the federal court decision is not bound by the limits. That we are under the state law and the as jason used to say interpretation. It is possible the chart shown would be reassigned under federal. Eating. But under the state law. As we understand that law at this time. The present plan goes as far as it is possible to go. And we would not be recommending and do not anticipate recommending further changes. All right. Questions. Represent of daily. Missions and i will tell. Split the question. Yes. People of the four this committee did and second city of lost data that the department. Some cases they specifically list that you did the palm and the few to come out to
the meetings in the local neighborhoods and to discuss the plan. If you were following the testimony i'm sure you aware that several people testify to that and i'd like to have your response to that. Thank you mr chairman i'll be happy to respond to that. The position of the board of education is taken. Is that the responsibility for neighborhood dissemination of information about the the. Plan that has been affirmed by the court is the responsibility of local school officials. I understand that the attorney for the boston school committee. Similarly has advised the school committee. That it is the local responsibility to do that task not the states that on the other hand the state is recognize that it's important for correct information to get out. So we've taken certain specific steps. Which i'll be glad to summarize very quickly for you. First we offered to the home and school association. To run a training program for its officers so that they could be fully informed about the plan. The people who came to that training program by the way were not in favor of the plan we made no attempt to sell it. Only to clarify the information. So we could differ on the issues and not on. Inaccurate information.
That meeting and training program has been carried on. We also conducted training programs where people in the. Little city halls and staff for the mayor. That has been concluded. We have also offered to the boston teachers union to run a series of workshops for teachers. So they can get the information now. That is being scheduled for next week and will be concluded next week. We cooperated with the boston herald and with the boston globe. In seeing that the entire plan was published in its entirety. In detail in a special issue of those two papers. So that plan. That information is got now. In addition we are cooperating with the. City wide education coalition telephone. Information service. To be sure that answers can be answered that way. Every group that is asked to meet with me mr chairman. I have met with. Even some of those groups that. Decide to meet with me without an appointment i have met with. I am not trying to not meet with anybody on this issue. Be it a student or an adult. But i do have responsibility as the state board for the commonwealth of massachusetts.
There are four hundred thirty six school districts in this commonwealth. Some of them represented by members of this committee. We have to keep our services up to those school districts. As well as the two with which we are locked in the litigation. Presented and represent o'donnell. In testimony yesterday and number of people mention the fact that there was a meeting held in las ham in relation to the balancing of the boston schools as wondering if you clarify why it was held in law thank you very asking that question represented i'd be delighted to. I would like to. I don't have to remind this committee. But the state board of education. Is a state board. The commissioner of education is a state commissioner. The department of education is a state department. There are many issues. Highly controversial. Of education across the state. There is none. Outside of boston in springfield it is more controversial than chapter seven sixty six. Which is the new special education law. The day that meeting was held the main item of business. Was chapter seven sixty six of
the new special education law. We held at the fernwood school because a major component of that law requires a state board of education to take over. The institutional schools. Departments. In all of the state institutions one of which is the furniture school. We were out there because the main agenda item on that board meeting. Was the for an old school. And seven sixty six. And special education. Now because a member of the boston school committee asked to meet with us. We did agree to meet with her and had a very. I think. Full and and. And construct. Discussion. We didn't agree but we at least understood where we disagree. That was the as an additional item to the agenda. The main agenda item was special education. For that i apologize to nobody. We were where we should have been at that meeting and were doing what we should have been doing for the state job we have as responsibility for that. Represent of guns and. Commissioner. Other than. Repeal of the law or maintaining a large that now stands. And you so you recommend any legislative alternatives. That this committee should in your
opinion consider. I i do not see and i have considered as representative it won't surprise you that i recognize. Not only the problems that you have but the board i have and. If there were alternatives that were feasible within the law itself. That could be proposed to make the law better. To make it more effective. More equitable. And not to get caught in some of the points that the represented finnigan for instance is raised i think a legitimate. We would have proposed those. I really don't see it within the law itself. You can't change the percentage in halves of any significant effect that it's a. It's a facade that would fool people into thinking something is happening and it wouldn't. The plan would remain the same that the percentages are changed. I do think however and this is an area that i think the the. cochairman of this committee are going to be very much involved that we have to take a look at. Approaches to metropolitan cooperation. For reducing racial imbalance. I think it will you testifying next monday. That we have to come up with ways of voluntarily involving suburbs. In the central city issues. Not just
of integration. But also of expense exposing the suburbs to the cultural opportunities that are in the city. And the learning opportunities especially if secondary level students. I think we ought to have legislation. To promote metropolitan cooperation. And integration and other areas of education. The commission that has been. That is being organized now in the chairmanship of your cochairman. Is designed to get it that's a civic issue. And i've said that i'm going to serve. On that personally because i think it's just that important. Represent of janet. I'm. Yes a man read out. Not only no public hearing that. You've gone back on your word in that kindergarten the. First we're going to be but. And also that there were so many schools that now had a greater percentage of black. That were. When the plan goes into effect have fewer it was particularly.
Said in west roxbury that there were twenty eight percent black. Now. And next year there would only be five percent black. Then they spoke of a plan for dorchester. Involving the steward and the child. Taylor school where the lead school that. They had a plan by the. Baxter which said that she could balance four out of five of those schools and. It wasn't even looked at she said. By the state. Could you possibly comment. Let me say i don't mean the maggots and i don't know everything and they got in school. That's my life. Let me start on the last one and go back it was mrs baxter's plan. Was seriously considered by the board. Mrs baxter that they had for an old school testify before the board. And i might say very well. We did seriously way that the problem in that area. Is that we are having to go to a uniform brain structure. By because this is part of the problem with the federal government both the state and the city or as a defendant in the federal government case which says that we have
a dual rate structure. So we had to move to a uniform grade structure. As you take the six grades out of the elementary school. And put it in an intermediate school. You take the ninth grade out of what is now the junior high schools and put them in the high school. You need additional building space in the high school level. So as we deal with an accident as we do. And. as This area. We are using up some of the buildings now. Required for elementary use. To be an access to high school. And that's why it was not possible to do this. What does the proposal makes good sense if you just look at it in terms of those few schools. But we have to look at it in terms of how it affected the other schools. And it's like a jigsaw puzzle or one piece of x. another. On the issue of whether there would be black children in west roxbury by moving the sixth graders. Out of the elementary schools throughout the city. This frees up seats in those elementary schools which are eligible for controlled transfer. The youngsters what you are talking about are black youngsters who choose to go. Either on the exodus or under the control of other control. Transfer procedures. To schools in west
roxbury the state plan does not affect that they may continue to choose to go to those schools. And in fact we are going to encourage more people to go. On the control transfer. On the issue of kindergartens the state plan does not affect immigrants. We made the decision of the board as a matter of policy. That kindergartens would remain where they were in the immediate neighborhood. And go to the schools they now attend. So without throughout the state plan the kindergartens are not affected by the state plan. There are no kindergarten children that will be bussed by requirements of the state there may be reasons that they are bugged. But they are not in connection with the state plan. That just finished that. In other words the drain who are in west roxbury now. And in the exodus. Plan will stay there but they will not be counted in the percentage of racial balance plan. Because that's a voluntary program and the seats are not a sign until september that it was not possible for us to clue them in the percentages. Thank you so. So they
The Compass Weekly
Racial Imbalance Hearings
Producing Organization
WGBH Educational Foundation
Contributing Organization
WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/15-03cz93dz).
No description available
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
Production Unit: Media Library and Archives
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: 71338 (WGBH Barcode)
Format: Betacam
Generation: Master
Duration: 00:01:00
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “The Compass Weekly; Racial Imbalance Hearings,” 1974-00-00, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 30, 2022,
MLA: “The Compass Weekly; Racial Imbalance Hearings.” 1974-00-00. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 30, 2022. <>.
APA: The Compass Weekly; Racial Imbalance Hearings. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from