(POLITICO) – A last remaining vestige of the incendiary anti-busing fights of the 1970s lingers in federal law, but bipartisan members of Congress are quietly discussing getting rid of it for good.
U.S. schools are mostly blocked from using federal funds for transportation costs to help in desegregation, even as studies show that white and non-white students increasingly attend schools in which they are racially isolated. But the Democratic chairman of the House education panel, a Democratic member of the Senate HELP Committee and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in his 2020 presidential bid are attacking the busing ban. Republican support is possible, which would enhance the chances of success.
A spending bill last year axed the anti-busing language, and it was “huge” that Congress was able to do so after so many decades, said Philip Tegeler, of the National Coalition on School Diversity. Now, he said it needs to finish the job with a “final detail” that would remove the funding restriction permanently.
“It’s a throwback, it’s an anachronism from the ’70s, and it just needs to get fixed,” he said.