The benefits of Integration

Although I grew up in a more rural area, there was a lot of integration in my high school. So when I started to transition into my first year of college I could never quite understand why people would always comment about how CSUN was so diverse compared to where they grew up. I could never relate to this because where I grew up integration was the norm unlike most schools.

So while reading the article from the UCLA Civil Rights Project, “Divided We Fail: Segregation and Inequality in the Southland’s Schools” by Gary Orfield, Genevieve Siegel­Hawley and John Kucsera, I was able to relate to the benefits that integrated schools had to offer. For example some of these would be higher test scores, less drop outs, more attended college, and how it helped reduce the racial achievement gap.

Part of the reason why I think my school and community was fairly integrated was due to how my high school had bused in students from surrounding neighborhoods.

Since segregation in public school was deemed unconstitutional in the the Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 , this helped promote a busing system in 1970 that was created to help reduce racial segregation and was there to help allow students from a minority the chance to integrate with others.

Map from the Bustop Collection at Cal State University, Northridge

Here is an image from the historic Bustop Collection at Cal State University, Northridge of proposed maps that the buses would have taken. These plans were processed to help integration but many people thought they would make it worse by causing tension between students.

Since my high school bused in students, I was able to see the results first hand. There was never any problems with the students that were bused in. In fact I felt as though busing students helped my school in only positive ways.

Looking back I realize how fortunate I was to attend a high school that was extremely diverse due to integration. I think segregation is “a disease” like the article from Divided We Fail said and the only way to get rid of it is if we go up against it and show other people the benefits integration brings.