Adelbert W. Lee, a member of the Board, proposed the busing of students as a way to eliminate part-time classes.  Lee's proposal derived from his research of a busing system used in the Detroit Public Schools. Although aimed specifically at four thousand elementary school children, Lee's plan could be expanded to include high school students like those at the overcrowded Cardozo High School.

     C. Melvin Sharpe, president of the Board of Education, had no objections to exploring the feasibility of busing.  Superintendent Hobart Corning believed, however, that busing was fundamentally unsound, especially for elementary school children, because it might create problems of adjustment.2  He believed that these problems were less likely to affect high school pupils or older children adversely.  Citywide opposition prevented Lee's plan from getting serious consideration. 

     The representatives of numerous civic groups, particularly African-American organizations, endorsed a proposal that sought to  solve the overcrowding problem at Cardozo by transferring Central to the Colored School Division.  The Committee on Education, Grounds, and Equipment submitted three suggestions for consideration.  One advocated the temporary transfer of Central for Cardozo students.  Another recommended making the transfer permanent.  The third alternative was more complicated and required the transfer of the junior high school students at Central to other white junior high schools.3

     The first two proposals outraged many in the white community.  White civic groups began attacking the wisdom of transferring Central to the Colored School Division. However, activist Gardner Bishop asked John H. Connaughton, president of the white Federation of Citizens' Association, and its leaders, to meet with the Consolidated Parent Group in an  "open forum" to discuss the dual school system.4  Connaughton wrote a racist reply and made it clear that the Federation had no intention of cooperating with Blacks to seek a solution to the education crisis in the District of Columbia. 

      The disagreement led the Board of Education and the District of Columbia Commissioners to consider other options to provide adequate school facilities for the Cardozo students, including building new schools. If the Board of Education provided Blacks with three new high schools, the inequality between Black and white high schools would diminish.  This would make it difficult for the opponents of segregated schools to use indirect tactics to eliminate the dual school system.  The purpose of using indirect tactics was to make maintaining segregated schools so expensive as to be impractical and uneconomical.

 

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HUAN 6 
November 2000