Fact check: Kamala Harris was correct on integration in Berkeley, school district confirms


CNN has the article Fact check: Kamala Harris was correct on integration in Berkeley, school district confirms.

Harris was indeed part of the second integrated class at Berkeley’s Thousand Oaks Elementary School: she entered school in 1969, and the plan to desegregate the school was implemented in 1968.

Berkeley Public Schools has the article 50th Anniversary of Berkeley’s Pioneering Busing Plan for School Integration.

This year marks the anniversary of a landmark achievement for the Berkeley Unified School District and for racial equity in education nationwide. It was 50 years ago, in 1968, that Berkeley made headlines for its pioneering busing plan to fully integrate the city’s public schools.

I am sorry that I was taken in by reports that Harris was too young to have experienced the busing in Berkeley. At least my nagging doubts caused me to do my own Google searching about this. I should have been more careful before I posted links to the false stories.

I just recalled that in 1974, Sharon and I left Texas for the North, ending up eventually in Bolton, Massachusetts. Our daughter was born in 1971, and the thought of her going to the segregated schools in Texas was gnawing at me.

At some point, when she was safely ensconced in the de facto segregated schools in Bolton, I read an article that said that the Richardson, Texas schools had implemented a voluntary busing plan to desegregate their schools. Richardson was the town we left when we moved out of Texas.

Let me explain that Bolton Schools were de facto segregated because there were no black children attending schools in Bolton when our daughter first started to go to school. Later, there were one or two black children in the schools, but that was a small consolation that soothed my conscience only a little. There were more black children in the schools when we went to Oakland, California for a year in 1983. I was actually a visiting engineer at the University of California in Berkeley.

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