Education
7:59 am
Fri November 8, 2013

The great Detroit draft of '70

Notice of court-ordered desegregation sent to Detroit parents

When the order to send kids to schools outside their neighborhood came down, one of our colleagues here at Michigan Radio recalled that it was almost like receiving a draft letter. And while these kids were too young to actually be drafted into the Vietnam War, they were, in a sense, foot soldiers in a conflict that they had no control over.

Usually, when we think of busing, we think about Southern resistance to the practice, or even recall the violence that erupted in Boston. Tune in next week for our series on the busing controversy as it impacted Detroit when the Milliken v. Bradley decision mandated that students be bused out of their neighborhood schools to other Detroit Public Schools in the interest of greater educational integration.

Did it work? What did kids think about attending a new school, sometimes mere blocks away from home, but for others a few miles? How did parents make the decision about whether to comply with the order, as their white neighbors fled for the suburbs or Catholic schools? 

We'll also be launching an accompanying media-rich website where you can listen to recollections of those directly involved with busing, as well as see some of the amazing archival materials of the era that document the tumultuous period. 

The series “Abandoning the neighborhood school” will air on Michigan Radio during Morning Edition (M-F,5:00-9:00am) and All Things Considered(M-F, 4:00-6:30pm) next week, November 11-15.

Also, visit our website dedicated to the first-hand accounts and news reports from this highly divisive, but critical moment in Detroit Public School history. 

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