Heart Downtown Dallas 24-HOUR COFFEE SHOP $6.50 up No Charge for Children Under 18 Radio-Television Completely Air Conditioned FREE INSIDE PARKING HOTEL outhianb Commerce-Murphy-Main Streets Telephone: Riverside 2-6431 Dallas, Texas Freedom of Choice Challenged Austin The federal government has decided that freedom of choice plans which allow pupils to attend schools of their choosing are providing little more than token integration. The U.S. Health, Education and Welfare Department has told a number of Texas school districts that they had better come up with new integration plans. Some schools are challenging the HEW orders. Others are scrambling to devise acceptable alternatives to bussing, which seems to be anathema to most conservative Texas public servants. HEW already is withholding more than half the allocated federal funds from two Texas school districts, Waskom and Carthage, for refusal to comply with desegregation guidelines. HEW told Waskom administrators last year that under their freedom of choice plan it would be the year 2072 before the district was completely integrated. Ten Texas schools are in various stages of challenge by the HEW. They are Calvert, Center, Crosby, Cypress-Fairbanks, La Vega, Lufkin, Richardson, San Augustine, South Park, and Temple. \(Richardson, an 10 March 28, 1969 affluent suburb of Dallas, has little to fear however, since it accepts no federal funds. And in recent weeks Austin, San Antonio Tyler, and Lubbock have been notified that their desegregation programs are not satisfactory. The Dallas regional office of HEW stated that Austin’s school plan does not provide for the “racial identity of any of the eight schools which constitute the visible vestiges of the dual school structure.” Segregated facilities were blamed on residential pat terns. In its case against San Antonio schools, the HEW pointed out that the school zones as drawn promote segregation. One high school, Wheatley, has no Anglo students. According to HEW figures, in 1955-56, when the civil rights law was enacted, 95.5% of San Antonio’s black students attended predominantly black schools. Now the figure is 87.2%. In 1955-56, a total of 86.5% of the city’s Anglo students attended predominantly Anglo schools, compared to 75.2% today. Some 86.5% of the Mexican-American pupils now attend predominantly MexicanAmerican schools. And although the majority of San Antonio’s student population is Mexican-American, only 14% of the principals and assistant principals are latino. San Antonio School Supt. Harold Hitt has said the district will submit a new desegregation plan to HEW within 90 days. The Austin school board has replied with a step-by-step defense of its plan. BOTH SEN. John Tower and Gov. Preston Smith have criticized HEW for its policy on freedom of choice plans. Tower recently accused the federal agency of harassing Texas schools. “No advancement toward national harmony is made when a plan devised by agencies in Washington is forced upon a community in place of a legitimate plan of its own making,” the senator wrote to HEW Secretary Robert Finch. “I cannot help but believe that the application of the law can be done without destroying one of our most fundamental and revered traditionsa community’s right to govern the education of its own children.” Smith insists that the only alternative to freedom of choice is bussing. At a recent gathering of governors, he told reporters that he is “completely opposed to bussing,” not because of racial prejudice but because bussing is “inconvenient, expensive, and unfair to students.” Under HEW’s lengthy challenge procedure, a district’s file first is sent to Washington. Then the district is notified of its right to be heard by a civil rights examiner in Washington. If the examiner believes that funds should be denied, the district has a right of appeal to a reviewing board. If the reviewing authority agrees with the examiner, the district can make a final appeal to the HEW secretary. If the secretary turns thumbs down, he notifies Congress that federal aid to the district is to be dropped, and 30 days later the deed is done. Dallas and Houston are under court order to desegregate and thus cannot be penalized by HEW. But the U.S. Department of Justice has asked a federal court to throw out Houston’s freedom of choice plan. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has a federal suit asking the court to require the bussing of 43,748 Houston students and the restraining of any Houston school from having a black enrollment of more than 50%. A Houston school board attorney has charged that the Justice Department and the NAACP are in collusion to force bussing on Houston. The Justice Department has denied the accusation. THE H 0 USTON Independent School District has allocated $25,000 for legal defense of their freedom of choice plan. Mrs. Gertrude Barnstone cast the solitary vote against the decision to fight the Justice Department’s suit. She said the city has spent more than $100,000 through the years to pay attorneys to oppose desegregation. She insisted the school board should “get on with the job of integration instead of putting more money down the rathole of legal fees fighting integration.” The Justice Department does not mention bussing in its suit, but it does bring up the possibility of “pairing schools,” a plan that would do away with the traditional neighborhood schools. Thus, all first and second grades in one geographical district might go to the same school, all third and fourth graders to another, all fifth and sixth graders to another. Such a plan would require short-haul bussing. Houston School Board President Bob Eckels has spoken strongly against bussing on the grounds that it “would wreck and render totally useless all the efforts we are MEETINGS ITEMS for this feature cost, for the first entry, 7c a word, and for each subsequent entry, 5c a word. We must receive them one week before the date of the issue in which they are to be published. THE THURSDAY CLUB of Dallas meets each Downtown YMCA, 605 No. Ervay St., Dallas. Good discussion. You’re welcome. Informal, no dues. CENTRAL TEXAS ACLU luncheon meeting. Spanish Village. 2nd Friday every month. From noon. All welcome.
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