In a charming story of quaint bureaucracy, we learn that decades after any shred of excuse for it has long passed, the city of Boston is only now struggling to eliminate school busing.
>"Children are being bused now because they have been >bused for 40 years and no one has had the political >courage to dismantle it," said Lawrence DiCara...
Why the need for courage? Who is it who wants, at great public expense, to keep on torturing small children with hours-long bus rides every day and far from home, long after even the pretense of an excuse for it has passed? As is becoming more frequent with "The Gray Lady", her articles are revealing in unintended ways,
>But some who lived through that period say the central >problem now is the same as it was then---the dearth of >good schools. > >"We want quality schools, whether they are across the >street or across town," said Kim M. Janey, senior >project director for Massachusetts Advocates for >Children, who, as a child in Boston, was bused into a >white neighborhood.
Well, gosh, if that was the point, all along, why busing, at all? Why not actually work on improving the schools instead of torturing small children with hours-long bus rides every day and far from home? It is this major disconnect between words and actions that compels people like me to assume the worst and gives us license to speculate. For example...
It is much easier to torture small children than to improve the schools. What is abundantly clear, to everyone on every side of the debate, is that to actually improve the schools there would have to be some profound changes to the Education Mafia and how they do business (we are merely quibbling over the details of what those changes need to be). Not only easier, but better (for the Education Mafia): torturing small children instantly and dramatically deflects attention away from the Education Mafia themselves.
Indeed, for the Education Mafia, school busing is the gift that keeps on giving. The Education Mafia make much of the need for parental involvement in the schools. But anyone who has met with a teacher or attended a school board meeting knows that parental involvement is the last thing the Education Mafia want. Of course, teachers would love nothing better than for parents to simply do what they are told, but parents often come with their own ideas, and that the Education Mafia will not tolerate.
Busing has the wondrous property, never commented upon by the Education Mafia or their handmaiden, The New York Times, of dramatically increasing the barriers between parents and their children's schools. Imagine the single mother of three children, who comes home exhausted from two jobs, then getting on a bus (she does not have a car) to travel across town to meet with her children's teachers. It is just not going to happen.
Oh yes, school busing is about a lot of things, very little of it having to do with educating small children.
And, finally, let us not forget The Prime Directive,
>But over all, Dr. Johnson said, "an achievement gap >remains."