THE IMPACT OF THE MILWAUKEE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM'S DESEGREGATION PLAN ON BLACK STUDENTS AND THE BLACK COMMUNITY (1976 - 1982) (WISCONSIN)

HOWARD LAMAR FULLER, Marquette University

Abstract

The legal effort to desegregate the Milwaukee Public School System (MPS) began in 1965 when Attorney Lloyd Barbee filed a class action suit against MPS. The case, Craig Amos et al v. the Board of School Directors of the City of Milwaukee, finally came to trial in 1973. MPS was charged with systematically discriminating against blacks and carrying out policies that consciously maintained all white schools and all black schools, thereby creating unequal educational opportunities for black children. In 1976 Federal court Judge John Reynolds found in favor of the complainants and ordered MPS to develop and implement a school desegregation plan. MPS fought the decision until 1979 when Judge Reynolds approved a consent decree in the case. The decree established guidelines that were to be used by MPS in implementing the desegregation effort in Milwaukee's public schools. The problem that was studied in this dissertation focused on the issue of whether or not the Milwaukee desegregation effort in essence discriminated against black students and the black community. The study was aimed at reaching some conclusions as to whether or not MPS used discriminatory practices in the very process that supposedly had been instituted to end racial discrimination in Milwaukee public schools. The study was designed to answer the following questions: (1) Did the desegregation program of MPS result in (a) a disproportionate number of black students being denied educational access to their neighborhood schools, and (b) a disproportionate number of black students being bused out of their neighborhoods to attend school. (2) Did MPS use (a) a pattern of school closings, and (b) decisions about the locations of specialty schools in a manner that resulted in a disproportionate burden of dislocations being placed on black students. The study focused on the movement of black and white elementary, middle, and high school students enrolled in the Milwaukee Public School System. The methodology used consisted of a comparison of raw numbers, percentages, and proportions of the movement of black and white students out of their attendance areas to other attendance areas or city-wide specialty schools. The analysis of the data led to the following conclusions: (1) There was a significantly disproportionate number of black students denied access to their neighborhood schools. (2) A disproportionate number of black students were bused out of their neighborhoods. This was true even when allowances were made for differences in the size of the white and black attendance area population. (3) There was a clear pattern of school closings and decisions about the locations of specialty schools such that a disproportionate burden of dislocations was placed on black students.

Recommended Citation

HOWARD LAMAR FULLER, "THE IMPACT OF THE MILWAUKEE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM'S DESEGREGATION PLAN ON BLACK STUDENTS AND THE BLACK COMMUNITY (1976 - 1982) (WISCONSIN)" (January 1, 1985). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. Paper AAI8526784.
http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI8526784

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