Febi·uary 24, 1972 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD- SENATE 82551
-~- ~ Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President, first,
may I say to thE! distinguished Senator
from South Carolina (Mr. HOLLINGS).
whose speech I enjoyed very much-and
I can understand his deep feelings on
this matter-that there is no "small
print" so far as the Senator from Montana
May I say also that I have had no
contact with "liberal Senators" in the
drawing up of this amendment which
was, in large part, my own idea. I did
not even spea.k to the distinguished minot
·ity leader on this matter until yesterday
May I say also that I have had no contact
with the administration. This proposal
is offered in good faith. It is not a
hoax. It is not something cynical. It is not
perfect. But it is an attempt to face up to
the most pressing domestic problem of
the time and to do so, hopefully, on a
I do not want to see that issue prolonged
for 5, 8, or 10 years. That is
why I feel that initiating the constitutional
amendment process would not be
apropos at this time, because not only
have there been proposals for a 10-year
drawing-out period, so to speak, but
there have also been proposals for a
constitutional amendment which, in my
opinion, would have difficulty pa;ssing
this body because of the two-thirds vote
required. The same would apply to the
other body. And it would take threefourths
of the States to ratify such a
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 48, Folder 9, Mansfield Libary, University of Montana
s 25·52 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD-SENATE February 24, 197z
constitutional amendment if all approPliate
steps were taken. The· idea is to
face up to it now.
May I say that it is a matter for the
Senator itself to decide. And what the
Senate in its wisdom does wm be perfectly
satisfactory to the Senator from
Montana, whether he agrees with it or
Mr. President, v;•ith those preliminary
remarks out of the way. to make my position
clear, very clear, I wlll now turn to
the amendment itself.
First. may I say that the amendment
would prohibit busing to achieve school
desegrega ~ion if, in the process, the
health of students is endangered.
Second, it would prohibit busing to
achieve school desegregatiOn if, in the
process, the educational process is significantly
Third, busing would be barred where
the school to which the student was
transported is found significantly inferior.
Our overall goal, as I understand it,
is quality education for all.
Mr. RIBICOFF. Mr. Pr!:'sident, will the
distinguished Senator yield?
Mr. MANSFIELD. I cannot yield at
this time. We are under limited time. I
hope the Senator will forgive me.
Fourth, it prohibits the use of Federal
funds to carry out busing unless expressly
requested in writing by local school
Fifth, there would be no court orders
for school district mergers or consolidations
or where students are assigned to
schools outside home districts until R.ll
appeals are exhausted-but this would
not extend beyond June 30, 1973.
Sixth, it forbids the practice of coe;·cino;
localiUes into busing by threatening
to hold back Federal funds.
Seventh , Federal agents would be precluded
from conditionin!<' approval of
funds for State or local pmposes on
Ei;.(hth, though busing would b!:' allo\\
·cd on the express written request of
local school officials, no Federal court or
official could order such a request.
Ninth, it would forbid Federal officials
from requiring or urging local officiab to
sprnd Stale or local funds for any purpo~'
~ for which F~deral funds are forbid<
Wlw t the amendment doC's not do Is
It does not change or modify or alter
tlH ConstitutiOn of the United States or
in ~IllY way permit practices of discrimination
as barred by the Constitution and
by ti1P laws of the land.
1\Jr President, were I a lawyer, conSLit
utional or otherwise, I might feel a
lit.tlc more comfori.able addressing the
~ubject I am about to raise. At the root
of the · busing" issue the1·e is the Jaw and
the Constitution. For both of these I have
the highest regru d and respect. I must
approach this subject instead, however,
as one who is deeply conce1ned about an
issu!:' that throughout this countrynorth.
south, east and west-has generated
more emotion and has divided and
Lorn apart as many commw1ities as has
any issue in my career as a public
It is an important issue; important because
it involves, in my judgment, the
most precious resoul'Ce this Nation has to
offer--s<'hool children. At stake is the
right of each child to obtain the best
education possible. It is a light in my
opinion that is just as sacred and just as
sacred and just as carefully P!'Otected as
R.ny 1ight preserved by the Constitution
of the United Stutes. It \\·as on the basis
of that document that the Supreme
Court first ruled that segregated schools
in our society violate a child's light to
seek the best education possible-a
"quality" education on an equR.l basis for
all, regardless of race, color, national
origin or economic ci1·cumstances. I refer
of course to the famous Brown case decided
back in 1954.
To comply with the law, local school
dist1icts have assigned students to
schools in a nondisc!iminatory way. Over
65 percent of our children attending
schools today Jive at such a distance from
their school a.s to require the use of buses
or other means of transportation. Substantial
busing was employed before the
Brown case in 1954, and cil·cumstances
have not changed. What has generated
the controversy is not the bus !ide but
what is at the end of the 1ide. Every
parent wants his child to obtain the
hiPhest quality education; and no law
. hould interfere with tl1at desire.
The bill before us meets that issue directly
as it should-all education measures
are designed to improve the qual!t.y
of schools that have been so long neglected.
to provide funds for these purposes
and to facilitate constitutionally
guaranteed rights of every child to a
quality education without regard to
race, creed, religion or national origin.
It is this goal \l'e should seck to advaDce;
in achieving it, our premise should be
fotmded with the l'ecognition that this
society of ours is composed of va'ied
backgrounds, and a multitude of beliefs
and origms and that the qu'llity of each
student's education is enhanced by contributions
from the wid!:'st. spect1·un1.
With that said, I can nevertheless understand
the concern of parents who.
after li\·ing in a community for some
time. or after having moved there for the
express purpose of finding ''better"
schools, learn that their children must
board buses every weekday to take them
out of their community away from their
neighborhood to difierent schools. Rearranging
school districts that have been in
tentionally drawn by local school officials
to segregate the schooling of children by
race mu~t be stopped, but not by burdening
the child with tile sins of their elders.
The basic bill before us otre,·s another
It is fm this rea.son that I halle joined
in attenmting to meet the issue. It is for
this reason that I have taken the position
that the issue must be faced now, today,
not next·year or the year after. or whatever
length of time it would take after
initiating the constitutional amendment
process. To me, that course of action is
neither necessary nor prudent. I believe
the remedy lies instead within the legislative
I have therefore joined in an amendment
to the Education Act. The amendment
seeks to correct the most grievous
consequences of what has become known
as "forced busing" within our society.
Under thi~ amendment, busing must be
voluntary. I repeat-the goal of this
amendment is voluntary busing. For decades
now, in my memory, the schoolbus
has been used as a means of getting chil.
dren to and from school. They were used
before 1954. They have been used since
1954. Schools and school districts should
always, in my judgment, have buses
available as a means of transporting
Education is basically a St;ate or local
matter. Assigning students to schools and
the problem of getting them there is better
handled by local school authorities.
Federal involvement has been limited to
the use of Federal funds to see that where
possible each child in the Nation is afforded
quality education. That is the
goal. Under this amendment, therefore,
the use of Federal funds for busing would
be stJictly voluntary. Any school system
that d!:'segregates may obtain Federal
busing funds but does so only upon its
own, independent application.
The bill itself seeks to furnish the real
ansl\'er to years of discrimination. Elsewhere
under it, funds are designated to
upgrade thosP schools that hwe in the
past been depri V!:'d. It should be said thr. t
neither the bill. nor this amendment,
would tolerate discrimination as prohibited
by the Constitution, and I hO!'!:'
that no one would even attempt to change
the Constitution to permit discrimination.
In that regard, a constitutional
right without a remedy is no right at all.
There is another aspect to this busing
issue which has disturbed me very much.
It is that Federal administrators or offi cers
or employees may have coerced local
school districts into a prog~·am of busing.
No system of busing can be voluntary if
established in the face of threats to cut
off Federal funds to which that school
district would otherwise be entitled.
This amendment bars this practice and
does so in clear and unmistakable language.
Even if such a request is made, no
schoolclulcl under this proposal need
ride a bus if in doing so there would be
any risk to the health of the schoolchild
There is one final aspect to the problem
which this proposal would address.
Even if a system of busing is established
on a volw1tary basis and at the uncoerced
request of the local district, no child
should be transported out of his community,
away from his neighborhood to
attend a school that is inferior to the
school to which that child would otherwise
More than any other aspect of this
problem, it is this issue that reaches to
the very essence of the concern of the
parent. So many have said: ''It is not the
bus ride that concerns me; it is what's
at the end of the line that most disturbs
me." I agTee with that sentiment. Quality
education is the goal. And no stud!:'nt
should suffer for the sake of riding a bus.
Once moving to a particular community
because of the fine reputation of its
schools and making such a move in reliance
upon the fact that one's child or
children will be attending those schools,
no parent should be compelled to stand
aside to watch his child deprived of that
opportunity unless he is assw·ed that his
child will receive an education that is
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 48, Folder 9, Mansfield Libary, University of Montana
Februal'y 24, 1972 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD -SENATE s 2533
substantially identical. Therefore, this
amendment would bar the transportation
of a child to any school that is substantially
inferior to or where the quality
of education is substantially less than
that found at the school he would otherwise
To summarize, the amendment bars
forced busing. It does so by conditioning
the approval of any plans to transport
children by bus on the express request
of the local community school district.
The amendment also bars a number of
practices that have a1isen in connection
with the busing issue. Foremost. it bars
the practice of coercing localities into
busing by threatening to hold back funds
to which they were entitled otherwise.
Moreover, in any busing scheme--even
though initiated at the request of the
community-no child can be made to ride
the bus if such activity threatens his
health or impinges the education process.
And finally, no child may ride the
bus If it means attending a school inferior
to the one he would otherwise
One final point. There are now pending
a number of cases within the Federal
courts which seek to merge or abolish
school district boundaries. This is a
particularly vexing problem and one
which I think every Member of this body
is in sympathy with. I, for one, do not
wish to see broad school districts broken
apart without the most careful and cautious
At the present time these cases are in
various stages as they wind their way
through the courts to the 'Supreme
Court. It is therefore provided in this
proposal that while these proceedings
continue their way through the appellate
process, the consolidation or merging of
school districts under court order be suspended
until such time as the Supreme
Court has had an opportunity to rule.
May I say in passing that this goes far
beyond the Richmond decision and it
extends to cases pending in other parts
of the country, in the Midwest and the
North, as well.
To achieve uniformity and consistency
and to promote harmony, I think that
such a provision is necessary and in the
public interest. If fw·ther legislative action
is found necessary, this suspension
will provide the added opportunity to
give Congress the chance to take necessary
remedial steps to correct any inequities
or to provide any new remedies,
depending on the outcome.
SO the date of June 30, 1973, at midnight,
is a ftex1ble date.
I should like to say finally, that in
compliance with Court mandates, thousands
of school districts throughout this
Nation have desegregated smoothly and
peaceably. I would venture to say were
we a totally colorblind society, there
would be no busing issue at all. The fact
is, we arP working toward the goal of
bemg colorblind and ultimately we will
achieve that goal, berause, if we a1·e to
survive as a nation of laws we have no
choice. In the process, however, I do not
w1sh to see any child suffer for lack of
educational opportunities be he white,
black, yellow; a youth of the poorest
ghetto, the Indian reservation, or subur-bia.
W1th education assistance provided
at the Federal, State, and local lel'el, I
would hope all children could be given
equal educational opportunities.
Mr. President, may I say in closing
that this is a constructive effort on the
part of those of us who are offe1ing it to
meet a pressing problem and to meet that
Mr. RIBICOFF and Mr. HOLLINGS
addressed the Chair.
Mr. MANSFIELD. How much time do
I have remaining?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator
has 2 minutes remaining.
Mr. MANSFIELD. I yield to the Senator
Mr. RIBICOFF. The Senator refers to
not requiring a child to go to a school
substantially inferior to the one he would
have attended under a nondiscriminatory
system of school assignments based
on geographic zones establtshed without
discrimination on account of race. religion,
color, or national origin.
Will the Senator tell us who is to say
what is an inferior school?
Mr. MANSFIELD. I would say it would
be up to the courts to make that decision,
if need be. It would be up to the Government,
local, State and Federal working
hand-in-hand with the education community
to determine if the educational
opportunity 1s substantially less at one
institution as opposed to another.
Mr. RIBICOFF. In other words. we
may have a lawsuit to determine if earh
and every school-is inferior or not.
Mr. MANSFIELD. Not necessarily, because
I think standards as between the
schools can be drawn quite readily. In
certain cases the difference is so appa1·ent
that the answer would be easily forthcoming.
Mr. RIBICOFF. How is it going to be
easily forthcoming? What would be the
standard, for instance, in the little dilapidated
schoolhouse with a white teacher
or a black teacher? Who wlll set the
standards of what is inferior under the
Mr. MANSFIELD. The question has
been answered. The Senator is going
around the issue. A number of factors
contribute to determining the type of
education a school child gets, and we
know that in many schools of this country
students are being passed from grade
to grade with no education in reality.
There would be no question there as to
what type of school that was.
In most of suburbia as well there would
be no question as to what type of better
school that would be. It is my judgment
that the education community and all
agencies of Government, Federal, State,
and local that contiibute to the education
process would be most capable of
handlinl! the task. ~
Mr. RIBICOFF. It may, how~'take
years for these determinations to be
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore.
All time has expired.
Mr. HOLLINGS. Mr. President, on both
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore.
On both sides of the amendment.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Mr. President--
The ACTING PRESIDENT 'pro tempore.
The Sen a tor from M1chigan is
Mr. GRIFFIN. Mr. President, I send
to the desk a perfecting amendment to
the text of the amendment proposed by
the Senator from Alabama
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