“Desegregation in Racine and throughout the nation has failed based upon the mechanism used, which is busing,” said County Supervisor Ken Lumpkin, who publishes a black community newspaper. Lumpkin’s partner in a debate held last week, board member Randy Bangs, argued that ending long bus rides would give students more time for other activities, such as studying, and may help close the achievement gap.
Mattie Booker, who taught in the district before desegregation, argued that busing students was necessary.
“I watched black and brown kids play jacks in classes because their teachers did not have what it took to teach them,” she told the crowd at the debate. Her partner in the debate, Sister Michelle Olley of the Racine Dominicans, was School Board president when the board adopted the desegregation policy in 1977. She said it worked throughout the 1970s and 1980s.