In one of Boston’s defining moments, a judge in 1974 ordered that the city’s schools be desegregated by busing white and Black students to campuses outside their neighborhoods. The aim was not just racial integration — it was to give all students the same access to a high-quality education.
Nearly 50 years later, despite the changed demographics of the district, Boston public school students are still being bused. But what if busing has little educational upside today?
That’s the provocative question raised by a new study that tracked Boston sixth-and ninth-grade students over about a decade. The research conducted by MIT’s Blueprint Labs found that students who were bused to schools outside of their neighborhoods saw no academic benefit.
“Choice today works to integrate schools . . . but it doesn’t produce any measurable impacts on learning outcomes or college enrollment,” said Josh Angrist, a Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist and one of the unpublished study’s authors.