The Louisville Tea Party Calls For JCPS to End Forced Busing
A ten-year-old boy recently committed suicide due to bullying, much of which occurred on a JCPS school bus. Two other boys were hit by a car and severely injured on their way to a TARC bus due to issues with forced busing. One has suffered brain damage. This is a nightmare. We cannot afford to lose or damage any more lives. We need to end forced busing now!
Forced busing by JCPS has been a complete failure. The recent suicide and serious injuries are horrible, but they are by no means the only serious problems caused by forced busing. Forced busing has not improved student achievement. It wastes enormous amounts of students’ time and subjects many students to bullying and other stressful conditions, so that, by the time they reach the school, many students are too stressed to be able to learn. Forced busing also makes it difficult for parents to be involved and for children to participate in after-school activities. It wastes more than $67 million per year that should be spent on teaching students, and it burns fossil fuels that pollute our environment. The original intentions behind forced busing may have been good, but the results have been terrible. It is time to end this failed program and focus our resources on educating students.
JCPS needs to establish a new student assignment plan that eliminates forced busing. Every student should have the right to attend their neighborhood school. If students want to attend another school outside of their neighborhood, they should be able to do so if there is space in that school. If there are more students applying to a particular school than the available spaces, then the available spaces should be filled by a lottery that gives no favoritism to any applicant. Once a student begins attending a particular school, they should be able to stay there if they want.
Some people may oppose respecting the right of students to attend their neighborhood school, saying that it will result in increased segregation of the schools. It should be noted that the current forced busing program has resulted in segregation, with schools like DuBois Academy, and even within the individual classrooms of schools that have racially balanced numbers. More importantly, it has done great harm to children, especially to the children it was intended to help.
No child should be forced to ride a bus to a distant school on the basis of race or any other characteristic. It is time to stop focusing on social engineering and start focusing on educating every child. As the Supreme Court has said, the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
There are consultants with a proven track record who could come into JCPS schools and turn them around for far less money than is currently being wasted on forced busing. Let’s use that money to hire them and really make a positive difference in children’s lives.