Ten O'Clock News; Is School Desegregation Working?
Good evening from the auditorium of Dunbar High School in Washington D.C. I'm Jim Lehrer the occasion is a public debate over the question of school desegregation and whether or not it's working in this country. On the west side will be three citizen commissioners from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission the government body set up in 1957 to monitor civil rights progress opposing them on the no side will be three persons selected by the National Association for neighborhood schools and anti busing groups headquartered in Denver Colorado. This unusual encounter came about because of a commission report in August. The report said among other things that school segregation is working for the good of education and race relations. The commission said it was willing to debate its conclusions. The neighborhood school Association issued a challenge to do just that. And here we are now in order that both sides the ideas and arguments get a fair hearing tonight. Some rather strict procedures have been adopted and it'll be my job to enforce them. The format will work like this. Each
side will make an opening statement then the commission will lay out its case for its report and its conclusions. There will be cross-examination by the association's Representatives on each of three main points. Then the association will state its case against the report where the commissioners cross cross-examining the association speakers on their three major points. Finally each side will give a brief summary of their positions. Now that I have time allotments for each particular phase and I will be calling time if and when it should become necessary. Time only rounds will be deducted from the appropriate size. Closing Remarks. Now let's begin first with the opening statement from Arthur Fleming chairman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. Thank you very much. The Civil Rights Commission we appreciate the opportunity that has been afforded by Debbie Teej and WGBH to discuss our report on desegregation. The commission is a bipartisan commission. No more than three members of the commission can be
members of the same political party. We are charged with the responsibility of taking a look at basic issues in the field of civil rights and making findings and recommendations. We are also charged with the responsibility of overseeing the activities of the federal departments and agencies that are involved in the enforcement of civil rights. A little over a year ago the commission decided that the most important issue confronting us in the civil rights area at the present time is the issue of desegregation of our public schools. We decided that if this nation did not move forward in dealing with this issue in a positive manner and in accordance with the Constitution of the United States that it would undermine the foundation on which all civil rights activities undertaken friend Trekky late Branch Rickey was general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers and soon after he had opened up the doors of opportunity for Jackie Robinson to come into
professional baseball in telling the story he made this statement look never accept the negative until you have thoroughly explored the plaza. We felt that in the area of desegregation the negative was and is well known to the nation. We felt that it was important for the nation to become acquainted with positive experiences in the field of desegregation. The commission decided therefore to update previous studies such as the one in 1967 on racial isolation in the public schools. We decided to do it by first of all holding for public hearings. The objective of these public hearings was to find out what had work and why and what had not worked and why these public hearings were held in Boston Denver Louisville and Tampa in Boston the hearings extended over a period of five days. In Denver Louisville and Tampa over a period of three days
we listen to well over 400 witnesses who had been subpoenaed under the authority of the Act under which we operate and who testified under oath and who were subject to examination and cross-examination. Then in addition we asked our state advisory committees working with our regional offices to conduct studies of situations in 29 areas. Again the objective was to find out what had happened. What and what was working and what was not working. Then through our research department a random sample of subject abuse a superintendent of schools of twelve hundred ninety two school districts where a train instead of 8 percent of the 16000 school district use of data was obtained from 943 school districts. Six hundred and twelve were in school districts that have taken substantial steps
in the direction of desegregation. We have approached our responsibilities on this particular area within this frame of reference. We believe that as a nation we must continue to focus on certain self-evident truths as expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Abraham Lincoln interpreted one of those terms today that all should have an equal chance. That truth is embedded in the 14th Amendment. The Supreme Court has concluded that segregated schools that night that equal chance and must be broken up. Mr. Fleming the opening statement for the National Association for neighborhood schools will be made by Lino Gallia professor of constitutional law at the University of Texas and author of the book disaster by decree. The commission's report claims to show that desegregation works is necessary to understand at the outset that what the commission means by desegregation is compulsory integration of forced racial
balance and with forced racial violence means in almost all areas of this country today is forced busing the transportation of children away from their neighborhoods away from their neighborhoods schools to more distant neighborhoods and schools for the purpose of increasing racial mixing. We contend that racial balance does not work to achieve any good purpose. That On the contrary it is a disastrous social policy a policy that as Daniel Moynihan said can tear this country apart. What does the commission mean when it says desegregation works what good does it find that compulsory racial balance achieves. Does the commission mean that busing students for racial balance helps them to learn better. No. Even the commission admits that this cannot be shown. The report states that educational research is inconclusive as to the effects of
desegregation on achievement. Does the commission mean that forced busing will improve race relations will lead to greater racial harmony among students or in society in general. There is much in the report that hints at this but the report offers no substantial evidence that would support such a claim. There is in the what is in the report and its references to violence and in such references in our daily newspapers show that the opposite is true. That forced busing causes racial conflict and hostility. In fact busing for racial balance does not even succeed in achieving racial balance but because forced busing causes many middle class people to move remove their children from public schools. It often results in more and more racial separation than existed before the busing began. Incredible as it seems when the commission says the
desegregation works it means only that it does not necessarily result in serious interracial violence at all places. It is not necessary according to the Commission to show that busing has any good effect as one of the commission staff attorneys put it. The definition of success is lack of violence or lack of disruption in the school system. We submit that this is a ridiculous basis on which to defend so costly and divisive a social experiment as forced busing and on which to argue that it should be extended throughout its report the Commission argues that the only reason busing busing causes so much violence and disruption is that so many people oppose it. The report berates the president of the United States Congress when business leaders clergy mayors governors and others for failing to positively favor busing the racial balance. It is not enough that elected representatives and other leaders urge people to comply with court orders.
They must also according to the commission argue that busing is a good thing despite the fact that they believe it is a bad thing. A major conclusion of the report is that public and private leaders publicly support desegregation. The process tends to proceed smoothly. The commission finds the forced busing has gone smoothly in Denver for example but the commission does not tell us that the Denver system lost nearly a third of its white students within five years after busing began and today has a minority of white students. Some policies like forced busing are so wrong and destructive that they should not go smoothly but should be vigorously oppose. Sounds absurd. I shall the commissioners will begin the presentation of their case for the report beginning with the record on acceptance of school desegregation Rabbi Murray Sosman of Indianapolis will state the case down in the dark. Corners of history. There come moments of luminous
insight and forward progression. The Constitution of the United States was such a luminous moment when it offered equal chance equal opportunity and the 14th Amendment implications relative to that. That moment has had such a pervasive compelling impact upon the citizenry of the United States that it is generally accepted today even by the opponents of our position that desegregation is valuable and intrinsic to the promise of human dignity which this nation stands for. So it is almost obvious to say that in general the people of the United States support the Constitution of the United States and support its vision in their support of the desegregation effort. Secondly I have six hundred and twelve districts surveyed by our survey of school
superintendents generally in every one of those school districts not up to 6 12 612. They were more surveyed but of the total 612 in 612 school districts desegregation occurred without violence. This is not to say that in the translation of the rhetoric of the Constitution and the promise into the realities of human existence that there aren't going to be problems and we're not affirming that there are not going to be problems in the future. It is a great idea to implement any great idea is a great challenge to a people. We submit that America is prepared to respond to that challenge that it will not be easy but that desegregation. Your time is up. Scuse me sir. I assume as chairman of the Prince George's County Maryland school board will start the cross-examination by
Salsman. I like all Americans like you just stated. I uphold the Constitution. However what we're discussing today are two things. One the court orders and come down and the only way to implement or is is through forced busing. In many instances. And secondly I really saw no references in your two minutes to the report itself. I thought that today's debate was to defend the report and not talk about the constitution because I think the defense of the Constitution as held by every American citizen and superintendents that you mentioned I don't think that you really tell me one question at a time. This is my question. I was merely again presenting the question but on the superintendents do you think you were really getting an unbiased opinion from the superintendent. After all you were talking to a gentleman or lady whose responsibility was to implement a desegregation plan. As an administrator they certainly were not going to admit that their administration failed
even if they were just talking about the mechanics of the rabbi asked the question. I'm not sure what the question at this point let me say that my remarks do flow from the report I am sworn by my office as a commissioner to uphold the Constitution of the United States. And that's precisely what this report addresses the upholding of the Constitution of the United States. The report does not. Respond as you say to the issue of forced busing per se because that's not the issue. Desegregation is the issue and where a court in fact. Finds that a school district has perpetuated dual systems. The court then orders a remedy that remedy often requires pupil reassignment not. Bussing. And there is no such thing as forced but there is when you got here. I didn't interrupt you. People do have the right not to go in the bus. The court doesn't force
buses. There is no such thing as compulsory racial balance. The Supreme Court has spoken against that. We have spoken against it. We have to be and do school systems and that's the point. No way that you could bring up one point. You said courts are opposed to racial balance and one is the law. Now in one system Prince George's County Maryland for example had a racial balance of between 10 and 50 percent. And I suppose this was upheld by the Supreme Court because it refused to hear a case so they do have the racial balance. I thought Justice Berger had said on behalf of the unanimous court that constitutional command to desegregate schools does not mean that every school in every community must always reflect the racial composition of the school system as a whole. We see therefore that the use made of mathematical ratios was no more than a starting point in the process of shaping a remedy rather then an
inflexible requirement. As we said in green that is the Supreme Court in our schools authorities remember your plan or district courts remedial decrees to be judged by its effectiveness. Awareness of the racial composition of the whole school system is likely to be a useful starting point in shaping a remedy to correct past constitutional violation. I have time for one more question from you and is e-mails in a section. Well are you basing the the public acceptance on desegregation or the forced passing in the fact that there has been little violence aren't basing that on our survey and our whole report which also it seems to me is validated for example by what's happening to the election of school board members. Prince George's County other counties and cities throughout the country are seeing that moderate members are being elected to school boards supporting desegregation within the constitutional mandate.
All right. Thank you Robin. Next the Commission's position on the positive effects school desegregation has had on education. The speaker will be. Mr. Fleming let me my I indicated in my opening remarks the Supreme Court has said that segregated schools are in violation of the 14th Amendment and that therefore segregated schools must be broken up. The orders issued by lower courts and upheld by the Supreme Court have not as their objective. If they are going to be broken up there must be re-assignment of slogans and headstones reassigned. There are times when they must be provided with transportation. Now when those educational issues do arise but it is our position that no matter what those educational issues may be we can now turn our back on the Constitution of the United States. There must be equal access to what ever the quality of education may
be in a particular school district. However as we evaluated the situation we did take note of the fact that when a school is no longer segregated that there are improvements in the facilities in laboratory equipment and in time we also took note of the fact that when a school when schools are segregated that students have the opportunity of becoming acquainted with other cultures have the opportunity of making friends with representatives of other cultures. And in this way are educationally prepared to work and live in a society where there are many cultures. Also we took note of the fact that some changes are not made from time to time in the curriculum and that these changes are normally in the direction of broadening the curricula in the light of the new demands made on the system. We likewise took note of the fact that there
is increased emphasis on human relations training our students our faculty and principals and parents. Your time has expired. DAVID WEBER a professor of Urban Education Research University of Illinois at Chicago will begin the cross-examination for the Associate Professor Ian Fleming. The report on page 208 States and I quote educational research is inconclusive as to the effects of desegregation on achievement test scores of minority and majority students end of quote. If busing doesn't increase educational achievement why should black and white students allow their children to be bussed. The answer is that under the Constitution the children and young people of today are entitled to an equal opportunity in terms of the resources of a particular school district. They cannot have it under a segregated system. They can only have it under a desegregated system and there are situations where you can't get a desegregated system without providing
students with some opportunity for transportation. Sherman Fleming in Berkeley California which is often noted as an ideal area for busing it's been carrying on the program since 1964 you characterized in your report I quote desegregation has positive effects in the quality of education in the Los Angeles Times quote say Berkeley district application for a federal grant academic isolation gives rise to and is aggravated by physical and sociological isolation separatism in the classroom and on the playground from fear mistrust and lack of misunderstanding as well as a lack of commonality in reading computational language proficiency. And as the quote goes on to say disparities among the races in terms of academic achievement increased progressively throughout the grades. How do you account for the discrepancy between the school district's own report on this and your own report. As Berkeley is concerned the conclusion that we reached there was based on
evidence and testimony brought together by those who conducted the interview. But as you've indicated in your statements and in your questions taking the report as a whole and taking this survey of the serpentines they said that as far as 75 percent of their school districts are concerned there has been no change in the quality of education. 15 percent said there'd been improvement times per cent said there had been deterioration. Take the 10 percent where there was deterioration. You've still got to stay where they do segregated system. Under the Constitution of the United States and do the things that it is necessary to do to improve the quality of education and give access to it to young people and students. Sir you just wanted to comment on this and I think you're missing the point. If educ if the busing does not improve educational achievement why should we do it. Because of the fact that it is necessary at times to provide people
transportation in order to reinforce and implement the Constitution of the United States. I would like to know is simply rhetoric and does not mean anything in the lives of children. John let me come on to a different question now. In the report and I'm quoting again from page 25 usable responses were received from 20 percent of the community leaders end of quote since standard survey research requires tracking down nearly complete samples. How can you defend any conclusion about the claimed positive effects of bussing when the sample was so inadequate. The only claim that we make is derived from the returns from the Nine hundred school superintendents of whom 600 were providing over school districts that are involved in desegregation. MR We made no guarantees at all as far as the others are concerned. And even as far as they're concerned as I've indicated the results show 75 percent no change in quality of education 50 percent improvement 10 percent you tell Fleming
and I agree with you you haven't demonstrated that desegregation or forced busing has increased educational achievement. That's my main point I want to go on to another question. Throughout the country schools are faced with financial deficits teacher strikes over salaries and curtailed programs. How can plussing improve education when the extra money for transportation has to be taken away from the education budget. There is no better way to invest our time than to do the things that it is necessary to do to give the children and young people of a community and equal chance. As far as the educational resources of that community are concerned. All right we're up we're gonna pull out for that second Thank you. Positive facts now on race relations ranking frame on a single US attorney will give the case for the commissioners. The cycle of racial isolation and alienation which permeates our society and our schools which must be broken.
Our commission has been concerned with this and we were aware of it and in our hearings we invited testimony from teachers parents and students and in every single instance where they had been desegregation those teachers parents and students told us that the quality of relations had improved and I'd like to quote from you two students one from Mobile a concerned parent in Louisville told us at the beginning I was a little disappointed that my son was to be passed from his home school but we decided my husband denied that if this was to be his life then we would go right along with him and he came to be happy and he went to centreline and began to love Central. He said something that he had not found any place else. Another high school student in Minneapolis stated I feel that the desegregation
has opened to my mind in going to school with people from different backgrounds. That is probably more prepared me than sitting in a white school. If you put kids from a different race together without any influence from the parent you're going to get along. It has long been a cardinal principle in the field of group relations that stereotype racial animosity is antagonisms and a tip of his from lack of understanding with persons to at. These negative values have been protected. Understanding can only come from communication. Communication can only result from physical proximity and the cycle must be broken it can only be broken in these segregated schools. Thank you Professor guy you will cross-examine remarkable every single student that you interviewed or examined in favor or thought that compulsory integration
improves race relations because investigations of countless other people into this very question. I've not found that to be the case. They have found a great many students felt the compulsory integration remotely. Don't you agree. First of all you have misunderstood the point. We have not talked about compulsory integration we've been talking about desegregation and the preservation of constitutional rights. Now I have to say that what the commission considers desegregation I must consider compulsory integration in your opinion in my opinion and that is the phrase I use because the commission defined segregation in its report as I understand it does not distinguish between segregation caused by racial discrimination and near racial separation in the States. I read the report it talks about desegregation as being simply the correction of racial imbalance however cause I'll address myself to that further later. And I'd like to ask now why don't you agree to settle a difficult controverted social question like whether bussing
compulsory integration desegregation if you will improves racial relations. That one must turn to some form of scientific study. There is no reference in your report to the many studies that have been made of this very question. Why not. There have been no definitive study of the extent to which desegregation has improved race relations. And however. We have based our conclusions on testimony sworn testimony that we heard at the hearing in the absence of any discernible study and in recognition of this entire society that the quality of life in this country is diminished by racial isolation and alienation. This commission believes that the cycle must be broken somewhere and you've got to stop with the school which is the principal Baggott banking institution and
also I really feel that I do the personal testimony of a handful or several dozen students that came to perhaps not by an entirely neutral selection came to be heard at your hearings outweighs the many studies. Nancy St. John very committed personally to integration with most respected scholars in this field. We've had 41 studies and found that most indicate that busing for integration that produces negative effects more often than positive effects. There was very little excuse me that is definitive in this field. That's true. But the best knowledge we have the investigation of my best social scientist indicates that integration heightens racial identity and consciousness enhances ideologies that promote racial integration and reduces the opportunities for actual contact between the races. Your statement is a perpetuation of the myth that this report is going
to correct. Well this is a myth. A commission of say a commission is that desegregation can and does work when people are committed to pursuing the law when people are committed to protecting basic constitutional right to equal protection of the laws and that where every child has equal protection of the law and children get to know each other when they get to understand each other and recognize the value of different cultures and races that this improves the quality of life and this improves race relations. And if it would ever happen our country would be better for it. Did you employ the services of any recognized scholar in compiling this report. The Dow has 30 seconds left so let's just let our last answer that one question. What question did you employ the services of any recognized scholar social scientists in compiling this report.
I read it and compiling our report our report is based as we said at the outset of the hearings which were conducted on the research department research staff recognize scholars. Time's up. Thank you very much. Now we turn to the National Association for neighborhood schools presentation against the commission's report. And the first part has to do with mythology of the report itself. Most will get the Association's position. A rising tide of evidence proves your recent study is grossly misleading. I say that because the evidence includes statements made by your own staff and internal documents emanating from your own office. For example a letter from Mr. Roberts your Midwestern regional director to Mr. Bevis superintendent of Minneapolis School System States. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is essentially a fact finding or research agency and that
the commission has undertaken this major effort to demonstrate to the nation that school desegregation can be effectively accomplished end of quote. This is not fact it's propaganda. I maintain you're starting with a biased conclusion and then through devious methodology you set out to prove that very conclusion. For example Mr Roberts again in his letter asked for witnesses from 14 desired categories. Your witness selection criteria precluded other than token opposition opposing viewpoints were minimized in the report. Hand-picked pre interviewed witnesses and hand cities belie any claim of objectivity and mis 2.3 million dollar report that's been financed by public money. Mr. Fleming is quoted as saying the negative was and is well known what negatives are well known. Other than violence in a few cities you have literally disregarded other negative aspects. This report is built around
dozens of nebulous unsubstantiated statements referring to the so-called success of forced busing. These references all again preclude any notion of objectivity in a letter to the employees the commission's propaganda practice was revealed as quote building support for school desegregation stemming the tide of opposition to school desegregation and retaining victories already one and school desegregation unquote. We'll have to leave it there. Mrs. Miles thank you. The cost of the commission will be read by Salsman Mills I'm sure that you read the chapter on motivation and methodology in my report. I have read your report. Yes the chapter on methodology. Are you aware that there were several different studies that were involved in the methodology. I'm aware that however this is what I was quoting represent represented one particular way of doing it. That certainly wasn't telling you there were different surveys that
one was a purpose of study and the letters from our staff that you're referring to was a purposive study to indicate where desegregation works what causes it to work and where it fails and what causes it to fail. That was once that there even was a telephone interview and I think this is a rather far flung the subject of telephone interviews were checks written return to surveys by superintends and referred only to the methodology of the not random sampling of over twelve hundred superintendents in the nation. You're aware of that word. OK. So that in fact what you have charged has no factual basis because each of the various aspects of our survey had different purposes all your mocking about my group. For me state the question if you are. All these factors happen to this effort by a letter relative to only one aspect of the multifaceted survey
when we undertook to utilize a broad range of methodologies which provides for cross validation for many of our findings and was emphasized as a necessary vehicle by the scholars on our staff who are recognizing social scientists are your reporter. Well as far as the letter that I use that merely as one of the examples that that that in fact it was not a conclusive report. I have also here a copy of an article from the Courier Journal of the Louisville and from Louisville where your own staff people have said that the report is inconclusive and it does not prove your point. Matter of fact one said possibly it could be proven that desegregation in fact works. But he said this report doesn't do right. And this report is supposed to be a documentation not just an observation of what's going on or a commentary on the issue in connection with our commentaries and
we had concerns that would present the kind of testimony that we would like to hear referring only to the Boston Herald. Do you feel that that is a valid charge when you consider the fact that we listen to members of the school committee under oath and examine them. We listen to all members of the city council and we listen to our representatives. We listen to the man in the study who had questions about. Desegregation. We've heard testimony from all of those persons and weighed that over against other testimony before we reached findings and made recommendations. The discussion is not on Boston only the discussion covers all the areas that she went into when they were there at that point. You cannot pull just the one the one sitting out. You've got to look at all the places he went into the four public hearings that you had regarding the death report. And furthermore in your report your quote one student may believe few thought those.
Those are just too ambiguous and already too late to be carried in a report such as this I believe. Are you aware of the fact that we followed identically the same policy in Denver Louisville in Tampa. We follow in Boston and are you aware of the fact that there is a complete transcript of all of these hearings. Obviously we couldn't pull it all out and put it into the report. That transcript is available to be examined by anyone who wants to look at the additional evidence relating my way. I am aware of one area where a lady was to appear at the time when the uninvited or the two witnesses were to appear and the doors of the building were locked. So maybe the neighbors the invitation was given at the invitation to anything. Thank you very much. Now the practical effects of school desegregation as seen by the Association professor rubbered will present the associations case. Again two important examples of a methodological bias. Mrs. Moss is just described the minimizing of white lies and the false
implication that busing improves achievement in racial attitudes. First the report holds the first busing does not increase white kids like James Coleman is one of the country's leading educational researchers. He recently concluded the forced busing or its threat causes white parents particularly in large cities to move to the suburbs and send their children to private schools. He estimates the first busing in the typical large city will eliminate most whites from the public schools in five years. Since the courts ordered busing in Boston and Louisville. They each lost 20000 white students forced busing defeats its own purpose in the large cities by driving out those who can afford to flee and leaving only poor whites and poor blacks to be forced on buses to go to deteriorating schools. Second the report quotes hearsay oral testimony that forced busing improves academic achievement and racial attitudes without presenting any objective statistical data on these vital points. Dr. St. John it was mentioned earlier
a highly respected scholar in a 1975 book reviewed 120 studies of busing. She directly contradicts the report and shows that white achievement is significantly lower in majority black schools. Dr. St. John finds that the evidence on racial attitudes is inconclusive and that the immediate effect of first busing is and I quote sometimes positive but often negative. End of quote. The most impressive study to date was conducted over a 10 year period in Riverside California. The school board and leading blacks and whites in the community favored the program at the start but neither achievement nor attitudes showed gains. In fact minority children develop greater anxiety and self-doubt. In conclusion first busing accelerates white flight and fails to improve educational achievement in racial attitudes. Performing your cross-examination. Do you feel that there are various factors that contribute to white flight. And if so what are some of the factors
that you believe contribute to flight. White flight is a very complex phenomenon. There's a great deal of Neighborhood Development Community Development in the far reaching suburbs. Industry is moving out in some respects because of the need for large industrial plants. There are a number of very complicated factors that bear on this so that whatever impact desegregation may have. It's only one of the factors that is contributing to white flight. It accounts according to Colman's estimate which I believe for approximately 13 percent of the percentage white in one year. The other factors account for approximately 2 percent so it is an overwhelming factor when first busing goes into a large city. There are enormous accelerations in the exodus of whites. Citizens Jews feel that the Robert Weaver the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development will be
recognized as an authority on the factors that enter into white flight. Not particularly unless it is an established sociologist who has studied the problem and reported on it widely and recognized reputable academic journals and I don't think there'd be any difficulty at all in establishing him as an expert a scholar in this field and in a dialogue which took place before the commission between him and Dr. Coleman. There was sharp disagreement on just the kind of findings that you indicated you referred to what we said above. Let me just read it. How many school districts lost a significant number of white students as shown by enrollment changes from 60 to 72. No significant differences between those districts. Desegregate under pressure from the courts and AGW and all districts in the country. The data do show that lots of white students is greater where black enrollments exceed 40 percent. So I want to remind you that in that report you are getting your information from school superintendent.
They are not objective witnesses. If arrogation answer the question please go ahead. Desegregation is not is not working. They're not likely to say because they'll lose their jobs. Secondly most of your material comes from before much of the large bussing plans were started in the major cities so I have to completely discount what you said there. Do you feel that if one assumes that desegregation contributes to White Plains that provides a rationale for failing to implement the 14th Amendment to the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. I'm going to leave the question about the Constitution to Professor Grolier He's an expert on that. I would say that the report totally ignores all sorts of public opinion. For example whites and blacks may answer that question sir. Mr. White not an ex have sent their students their children to private schools in the city they have left the urban area. Polls indicate that the majority of white citizens
today are against forced busing and black students or more black parents today that are opposed to busing than favor it. So I think you have to look at public opinion and accounting for this and not just white flight. And I'm not going to accept all of your assumptions are but crazy. I want to go back to my question. Assuming that desegregation contributes to white flight do you believe that that is a reason for denying to children and young people the rights to them under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. I don't believe that that's that the problem is important enough that I would deny the premise of your question because I don't think you're providing equal educational opportunity. What you're doing is driving middle class people out of the cities and giving the poor who have to remain in the public schools. You're denying them their right to equal educational opportunity so you're defeating the very purposes that you're trying to accomplish. How are you. We're out of time for this session. Thank you Professor Fallon.
Now the associations over political and schools make political and legal view of this issue from Professor Grider. I think that the discussion on the missions side we have a point that is one basic argument that it offers that are returns to. Is that busing is a constitutional question. There's nothing we can do about it whether it improves the education of any money is irrelevant whether it causes the whites to leave the cities and make the school systems more racially separate apparently irrelevant. The Constitution the 14th Amendment requires the commission tells us it's a constitutional imperative. You didn't say this over and over in its report of course even a constitutional imperative is not unchangeable. The constitution can be amended. What was bussing for racial balance is not a constitutional imperative. As Robert said the great Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson said the Constitution is not a suicide pact. It
does not and cannot require us to take socially destructive self-defeating actions and expensive resist that unwanted course of action to mix the races when the result is racial separation. That's not the Constitution. That's a perversion of the Constitution. It is also a perversion of the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court in the Brown case in 1954 prohibiting segregation prohibiting racial discrimination. The fundamental principle the court said in that case is that racial discrimination in public education is unconstitutional. Forced busing however is racial discrimination. The commission says that the Brown decision is under attack today in this country it is under attack. It is under attack by the Commission and the proponents of busing. It is not under attack by busing opponents who would return to a constitutional requirement that no racial discrimination as well as framing will start to cross-examine that argument.
Is it your position that the 14th Amendment and with respect to equal protection of the laws is that the provision that you are suggesting should be amended. No I'm not suggesting the 14th Amendment be amended. I was suggesting that segregation segregated schools. Segregated schools are unlawful as was held in the Brown decision. Unfortunately what is happening now is not the correction of segregation as understood in the brand decision namely racial separation resulting from the use of racial discrimination by school authorities. And what this report says from beginning to and it does not distinguish between racial separation or imbalance however cause and racial separation resulting from racial discrimination. The racial separation that exists in this country today the so-called de facto segregation which is itself a misnomer is the result of racially imbalanced housing patterns is not the result of racial discrimination by
school foreigners and therefore even under the theory as expounded by the Supreme Court in cases the brown it does not have to be constitutionally remedied by bus. Mean you're saying that you are in disagreement with the Supreme Court's decision. No I well I am in fact in disagreement with some of the Supreme Court's decisions beginning in 1968 which did move in fact to what was in effect they come. Compulsory integration requirements however the Supreme Court has always insisted has always maintained at least in theory that there is no integration requirement such that the requirement is only to undo the effects of past racial discrimination. And the Supreme Court has applied that theory in its last two decisions in this area where the opinion of the trade case and the Pasadena case and if that principle is applied to the Civil Rights Commission's report the recommendations of this report would be invalid because the report does not distinguish between separation caused by
school board racial discrimination and simple racial separation caused primarily by residential imbalance. Mr. What would you suggest as an alternative for the elimination of the school system. What I'm seeing commission of framing is that these are not dual school systems the school system making constitutional law and making the brand decision systems created by the assignment of children according to race to separate them. What forced busing compulsory integration means is that return to assignments according to race. It is precisely what Brown prohibits. It is what the 14th Amendment prohibits as correctly interpreted in brown. Are you aware that in this and throughout the United States every child has been assigned to school on the basis of the discretion of births of education and there always has been a resounding yes throughout the United States almost universally except where court orders are involved.
Sign that the school is on the basis of neighborhood and objective racially neutral non-racial criterion for deciding whether where the neighborhoods are racially imbalanced. The neighborhood schools of course are racially imbalanced and the commission's report protests and what you would call unconstitutional and would in the name of upholding the Constitution. And it is wrong as a matter of fact as a matter of principle. Are you aware that there is no Supreme Court decision that says that a neighborhood is involved. No. Neighborhoods are not inviolate but there are Supreme Court decisions and I could cite you the last two decisions of the Supreme Court for example the most recent the Pasadena decision all day that racially imbalanced schools resulting from racially imbalanced neighborhood patterns are not unconstitutional and a of this federal court district court on the court of appeals order requiring racial balancing and that case was overruled reversed by the Supreme Court on the grounds
that racial imbalance as such is not unconstitutional. I submit that the commission's report purporting to be based on constitutional law fails to recognize that basic constitutional principle. Thank you. Now we move to the closing summary. Each side will have two and a half minutes. The order was determined by a coin flip before we started the program. So Mr. Mr. Fleming will summarize first for the Commission. Mr. Fleming as a result of the decision on the part of the Supreme Court that segregated schools violate the Constitution of the United States here's what has happened. Judges have found in one community or another that the schools are in fact segregated. Judges have been given school boards the opportunity to correct the situation somehow. So they have one they have a judge's husband and
other plans designed to improve the situation. Those plans involve student assignment and if the students are going to be assigned then they in turn must be provided with the opportunity for transportation. There isn't any question in our mind as to the interpretation of the Constitution by the Supreme Court. And we as public officials sworn to uphold the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court feel that we must do everything we can to make it possible for this nation to implement those constitutional principles. Now when they are implemented issues arrived in the field of education in the area of white flight and so on. But those issues troublesome as they may be that time provide us with no excuse no rationale for turning our back. I'm the constitution rather they. I challenge us to take those educational issues and work them out in a
positive constructive way within the framework of the Constitution. They constitute a challenge to us to take other issues such as white flight and work them out in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution of the United States. We are convinced of the fact that this issue which does tend to divide the country to. Work. Out in such a way as to bring the country back together again only if we in our communities and the State of the nation are to. Operate in a manner consistent with the Constitution of the United States. And if you read the entire report you'll read about one community after another that's going on that's going on in parts of Boston. It's definitely been going on in Tampa pretty good. I've got to succeed. We urge you to read the report so that you can weigh the kind of evidence that we can muster.
Professor Guy we're now close for the association is indeed the case that if you read the report you will read different things about what's going on in many many of our major cities. And then you will read if you read the daily newspapers the report is not a serious study and hardly purports to be of the many problems of forced busing. The propaganda piece that reaches the conclusion that the commission had announced in advance in undertaking this million dollar report it gives as a major conclusion the truism that bussing does smoke when no one objects to it. Of course everything goes smoothly if no one objects. But some things are so clearly wrong and harmful that it is the duty of the good citizen to object. It is easy enough for community leaders to age that other people submit their children to forced busing while their own children leave the school system that is frequently happen and that is not the leadership we need to save our public school systems or our cities. Over and over the commission returns to this I must say
ridiculous argument that the Constitution requires so socially destructive and divisive an act. As far as busing the Constitution does not. The Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court in the great brand decision in 1954 held correctly correctly as a matter of constitutional law and as a matter of morality that racial discrimination in the assignment of show in the schools is prohibited by the Constitution and forced busing means the racial assignment of children. It means that the government must investigate the race of each child and must tell a black child or a white child that he may not go to his neighborhood school because he is black or because he is white. When that neighborhood school already has enough blacks or enough whites busing does not help anyone to get a better education. It requires our school systems to spend time money and energy on transportation instead of education.
It does not improve race relations. It is probably the single most important cause of racial conflict and hostility in this country today. Finally it is self-defeating. The Constitution cannot require a self defeating policy by causing the withdrawal of many of the middle class from the public school systems. Its result is frequently not more but less racial mixing racial integration. For whatever reason one might want racial integration busing does not provide it. All right that wraps it up. I want to thank the National Association for neighborhood schools and the U.S. Civil Rights Commission for participating in this unique event in the making but I want a particular compliment them for adhering to the ground rules and the time limitations and short for making my job much easier and for the participants and for public television. I'm Jim Lehrer. Thank you and Good Night.
I have the opportunity. To obtain copies of the Civil Rights Commission Report right. U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Washington D.C. Two more. Four to five. That's U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Washington DC 2 4 2 5. For information opposed to the report. Right. The National Association for neighborhood
- Ten O'Clock News
- Contributing Organization
- WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- Debate on the success of school desegregation, moderated by Jim Lehrer. Pro: Arthur Flemming, Murray Saltzman, Frankie Freeman of US Commission on Civil Rights. Con: Lino Graglia, Sue Mills, Herbert Walberg of Neighborhood Schools Association. Coproduced by WGBH and WETA.
- Series Description
- Ten O'Clock News was a nightly news show, featuring reports, news stories, and interviews on current events in Boston and the world.
- Asset type
- Raw Footage
- Civil Rights; schools; School integration
- Rights Note:It is the responsibility of a production to investigate and re-clear all rights before re-use in any project.,Rights Type:All,Rights Credit:WGBH Educational Foundation,Rights Holder:WGBH Educational Foundation
- Rights Note:Media not to be released to Open Vault.,Rights Type:Web,Rights Credit:,Rights Holder:
- Media type
- Moving Image
Publisher: WGBH Educational Foundation
Speaker2: BARBARA HEISLER
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: 4c1034f84292cdf0c577010e0a4c9e1536b1c75c (ArtesiaDAM UOI_ID)
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- Chicago: “Ten O'Clock News; Is School Desegregation Working?,” 1976-11-15, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 30, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-9nv9998s.
- MLA: “Ten O'Clock News; Is School Desegregation Working?.” 1976-11-15. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 30, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-9nv9998s>.
- APA: Ten O'Clock News; Is School Desegregation Working?. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-9nv9998s