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Centre for European Research

Education and Integration: Busing Policy in the US, UK, and France

When: Wednesday, March 29, 2023, 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Where: Queen Mary University of London, 9-11 rue de Constantine, 75007 Paris, France

Busing was a policy tool used by some US school districts to tackle persistent racial segregation in education. Children were transported from racially homogenous neighbourhoods to racially integrated schools. During its heyday in the 1960s-80s, busing was fiercely resisted by white parents and championed by civil rights advocates. It is less known that during this same period, some British local authorities also adopted busing schemes, transporting mostly British Asian children to majority-white schools. Unlike in the US, busing was mostly resisted by non-white families, who found it stigmatising. Some parents and community leaders argued that Asian children ought to be taught in predominantly Asian schools. France has recently embarked on its own busing experiments, notably in Toulouse. 

Dr. Richard Johnson (QMUL) explored the different racial policy coalitions behind busing in the US, UK, and France. The different responses to busing offer insight into the differing conceptions of racial integration in national contexts. 

Prof Olivier Esteves (Université de Lille) acted as discussant.

Image credit: "A photo of an anti-busing rally in South Boston in 1975." Courtesy of Boston Public Library via Digital Commonwealth. 

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