After a decade of busing for desegregation, Nashville residents, educators, and advocates disagreed about what their city had experienced and what it meant. The school board majority saw declines in white enrollment as the chief threat and compliance with court-ordered statistical desegregation the prime goal. Avon N. Williams, Jr. and colleagues wanted to revise desegregation via busing to value black communities, schools, and the experiences of students. A new coalition of black and white community advocates wanted to redesign busing and prioritize school-community ties. After five years of intensive litigation and public discussion, a new court-ordered plan took effect, incorporating Nashville’s outlying suburbs for the first time and producing levels of statistical desegregation throughout the county well beyond that achieved in most districts nationally. The 1983 desegregation plan expanded busing, but the process of its creation surfaced basic critiques that foreshadowed coming arguments to end desegregation.
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