Readers React: Busing isn’t perfect, but it can succeed with hard work and patience

Public school buses are parked in Springfield, Ill., on Jan. 7, 2015.
(Seth Perlman / Associated Press)

To the editor: In the 1970s, I was a teacher and part-time counselor for a San Fernando Valley middle school that was in a pilot program to bus in African American students. (“Don’t romanticize busing. It was an imperfect tool in the fight against segregation,” Opinion, July 7)

A significant amount of planning was involved. Our school was matched with an inner-city campus based on socioeconomic factors. Among the two schools, there was about the same mix of parents who were doctors, lawyers, accountants and blue-collar workers. Essentially, students from both schools had similar values and skills.

For the first few years, the program worked quite well. However, there were some unexpected problems later on. Many more low-income students were bused in, requiring a significant adjustment by both sets of students. Fights, verbal confrontations, poor study habits and lack of parental support came into play.

It took about a year for us to work through the problems. Overall, I’d say the busing experience was quite positive. If it wasn’t for the traffic and lengthy commute times, busing students could improve race relations.


Jerry Rosenstein, Los Angeles


To the editor: Busing is a complicated issue, and for Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) to attack former Vice President Joe Biden and make the issue simply one of racism and bigotry betrays an inability to listen to the other side.

I can think of myriad reasons why white people would not want their kids bused to a school in another neighborhood. And, according to op-ed article writer Sandy Banks, most black families did not like busing either.


Much of President Trump’s appeal relies on white people who feel marginalized by elitists and do not like having their views dismissed as racist. If Harris gets onto the Democratic ticket, it will be a gold mine for Trump.

Tom Magdaleno, Camarillo


To the editor: Absent from the news article on school desegregation and busing was any mention of the quality of the education students receive. Further, using the term “segregation” implies an intentional, or forced, separation of races and lays the foundation for a government-imposed solution to a poorly defined “problem.”

Transferring a student from a predominantly Latino or African American school to a campus with a different ethnic makeup may improve chances for success, but the primary reason will more likely be the quality of the education, not the integration effect.

Additionally, the student displaced by the transfer is just as likely to receive a lower-quality education as a result. Integration solely for the purpose of integration is not a solution to any problem.

Scott Perley, Irvine

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