The Different Shades of the Yellow Bus

bySean Means

Busing was a strategy to close the gap in American education and create a more equitable environment for all of America’s children. The following unit examines why America felt the need to integrate its public school systems through a federal mandate via busing. The unit tells the story of the opposition civil rights leaders faced as they pushed far beyond the Supreme Court’s initial ruling that Separate was Equal and how that leads into Brown v. Board of Education. After students examine the various steps taken to achieve a unanimous decision in the Brown v. Board ruling, they will then find that the transition to integrate schools was not a smooth one. In locations such as Boston, Pittsburgh, and Alabama, we find that there was a great deal of resistance to integrate schools. Moreover, the unit examines a few schools in Pittsburgh and focuses on the large gap in resourcing schools that still exist today. Lastly, we see how busing is connected to race, privilege and power. This unit is a more focused follow up to last year’s unit, “The American Dream: For Members Only,” as it focuses on the education system, the gross inequities within the system, and how one race of people stand to benefit while others remain second class citizens.

(Developed for Social Justice, grade 12; recommended for Social Justice, grades 11-12; U. S. History, grade 11; African American History, grade 12; and Sociology, grades 10-12)

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