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Sat Jul 6, 2019, 01:45 PM

 

Harris Poll,1987: Number Opposed To Busing For Racial Purposes Drops 25 Points Over A 10 Year Period

Last edited Sat Jul 6, 2019, 02:26 PM - Edit history (1)

By Louis Harris

In one of the most dramatic turnarounds in recent history, the number of Americans opposed to busing school children for racial purposes has declined from an overwhelming 78-14 percent in 1976 to a current 53-41 percent, a decline of 25 points over the past decade. From 1971 to 1976, well over 7 in every 10 people across the country were opposed to busing for racial purposes.

One of the chief reasons for this startling change of thinking in the country is the fact that the satisfaction levels with the experience of busing children has taken a sharp upward turn, according to this latest Harris Survey, taken by telephone between November 26th and December 2nd, among a national cross section of 1,250 adults. Back at the beginning of this decade, in 1981, only 54 percent of all parents whose children were being bused said they felt the experience was "very satisfactory." Another 33 percent said it was "partly satisfactory", with only a relatively small 11 percent who said it was "not satisfactory." Among whites, less than a majority, 48 percent, found the busing experience for their children highly satisfactory.

Now, a much higher 71 percent of all families whose children have been bused for racial purposes say they are very satisfied, up a full 17 points in only 5 years. Rut the biggest change upward has occurred among whites. The number of whites highly pleased with the bus i no of their children has jumped a full 25 points just since 1981. By contrast, among black parents, high satisfaction has actually declined from 74 to 64 percent, although a sizable majority obviously still are pleased by it.

Significantly, whites are now more satisfied with busing their children to school for racial purposes than is the case among blacks. This is one of the most dramatic shifts in publ ic opinion, but is particularly significant since it has taken place in the area of busing.
This shift in attitudes has been accompanied not by a decline in the number of children who are bused for racial purposes, but instead by a sharp increase. Just five years ago, the Harris

Survey indicated that no more than 19 percent of the households of the country reported that they had a child in their family who had been picked up by bus to go to school with children of other races. Now, a much higher 32 percent of the households have had that experience. The number of black families who have had such a busing experience has risen from 40 to 48 percent and the number of white households has gone up from 17 to 31 percent.

These results indicate that busing now has been much more widely accepted by public school systems than has previously been either reported or realized, Significantly, as more white families have had their children go through the busing process, they have found that their worst fears simply did not materialize. Instead the entire process was one of high satisfaction.

In turn, the actual experience of busing then appears to have changed public attitudes about busing generally. For a generation, the Harris Survey had found that while the number who found busing unsatisfactory had never gone above 16 percent, nonetheless the vast majority of people, by margins of 5 to 1 or better steadfastly, in almost a by rote reaction, firmly stated their opposition to busing.


Years earlier in 1983, a truly Exhaustive NYT article.

IN DEFENSE OF BUSING
Yet a remarkable transformation has occurred in school desegregration since the Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that legally segregated public education was unconstitutional. As the Federal Government forced Southern state and local governments to desegregate, the region's public schools became more integrated - primarily because of racially focused busing - than many schools in the North and West. A report released in January by the Joint Center for Political Studies, a Washington-based research organization, indicated that Southern and border states continue to lead the nation in the desegregation of black students, while segregation is increasing in the Northeast; segregation of Hispanics has risen sharply nationwide. Yet President Reagan, Attorney General William French Smith and Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Divison, William Bradford Reynolds have repeatedly asserted that mandatory busing plans are ill-considered and unworkable and that voluntary measures are the best means of achieving desegregation. The Justice Department has joined in court other parties seeking to reduce or eliminate busing plans in Seattle, Tacoma and Pasco, Wash., and Nashville, Tenn., but the courts have ruled against all these attempts.

Polls show that while support for desegregated schools continues to increase, disapproval of busing as a means to accomplish it has hardened. ''If mandatory busing had proven to be effective in desegregating school systems across the country,'' says Assistant Attorney General Reynolds, ''then I think you would probably have a much different public response. But time after time, in jurisdiction after jurisdiction, it's been shown that (busing) has not been effective, and as a result of that, public education has suffered mightily.'' But many civil-rights professionals and academic desegregation experts argue that such remarks are completely at variance with the facts about racially focused busing, and they have presented substantial evidence that busing largely works. Their research shows that, contrary to popular opinion, busing has usually been imposed only after careful consideration and, in many cases, after voluntary desegregation measures have been tried and proved unsuccessful. It has found that minority students generally have made academic gains without damaging the scholastic performance of whites. In most instances, the health and safety of students has not been jeopardized; nor have they been forced to travel extraordinary distances to school. Busing does not consume a large portion of the school system's budget, nor does it subvert the so-called neighborhood-school principle. Their assertions have been bolstered by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights, which concluded after hearings in 1981 that ''busing achieves a degree of desegregation that is unattainable through other means.''

https://www.nytimes.com/1983/04/17/magazine/in-defense-of-busing.html

Harris poll stats and methodology only 3 pages in PDF format
https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwi90NbQ9qDjAhU5wcQHHZqZBDUQjhx6BAgBEAI&url=https%3A%2F%2Ftheharrispoll.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2017%2F12%2FHarris-Interactive-Poll-Research-MAJORITY-OF-PARENTS-REPORT-SCHOOL-BUSING-HAS-BEEN-SATISFACTORY-EXPERIENCE-1981-03.pdf&psig=AOvVaw0efgZUv5_Sw6TAYCDd6YOu&ust=1562523517896238

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Reply Harris Poll,1987: Number Opposed To Busing For Racial Purposes Drops 25 Points Over A 10 Year Period (Original post)
Kind of Blue Jul 2019 OP
Demit Jul 2019 #1
Kind of Blue Jul 2019 #3
Hoyt Jul 2019 #2
Kind of Blue Jul 2019 #4
SunsetDreams2 Jul 2019 #5
Kind of Blue Jul 2019 #6

Response to Kind of Blue (Original post)

Sat Jul 6, 2019, 02:25 PM

1. Thanks for this. It's good to see contemporaneous accounts. Especially polls.

 

Considering the ferocious belief in polls here.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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Response to Demit (Reply #1)

Sat Jul 6, 2019, 02:36 PM

3. Thanks for taking the time to look them over, Demit.

 

Due to their length I didn't expect anyone to

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primary today, I would vote for:
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Response to Kind of Blue (Original post)

Sat Jul 6, 2019, 02:31 PM

2. Thanks. This is quite different from the narrative posted here over the past two weeks.

 

Fact is, that studies show minority students benefit from diverse and better funded schools. That's really all that should matter, and reason enough to continue.
If I were to vote in a presidential
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Response to Hoyt (Reply #2)

Sat Jul 6, 2019, 02:39 PM

4. Exactly! Not doing a thing besides vigorously fighting one option

 

for desegregating schools is just egregious.
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Response to Kind of Blue (Original post)

Sat Jul 6, 2019, 03:44 PM

5. K&R thanks for posting! nt

 

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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Response to SunsetDreams2 (Reply #5)

Sat Jul 6, 2019, 03:58 PM

6. Thanks so much for reading it! We need the truth to tell what really happened.

 

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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