Mirror [#1]: "Not the Bus, But Us": George W. Bush and School Desegregation (Report).pdf - 33,551 KB/Sec
Mirror [#2]: "Not the Bus, But Us": George W. Bush and School Desegregation (Report).pdf - 27,667 KB/Sec
In 1982 civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson criticized President Ronald Reagan's attacks on busing to coerce school desegregation for targeting "not the bus, but us" (Wolters, 1996). Two decades later, the United States Supreme Court ended the thirty-two-year-old Charlotte, North Carolina, plan which had launched the era of court-ordered busing (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools). The same year, President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act, which authorized federal funding and state testing of the nation's public school students. In lieu of busing, this law was also targeting "us," the largely minority underclass for whom Jackson purported to speak in 1982. Yet this time the Republican president was not implicitly assaulting minorities; he was seeking to aid them. Despite this significant change in policy, however, one outcome remained the same: public schools increasingly divided by race and class. This article will provide a brief history of the school desegregation policies of Presidents Dwight Eisenhower through Bill Clinton, based on secondary and primary sources, then examine the initial school desegregation efforts of President George W. Bush, based largely on contemporary primary sources. It argues that the early returns on the Bush Presidency show that despite his genuinely good intentions, President Bush, like his predecessors, has been unable to overcome this difficult history of racial segregation in the nation's public schools.