Beginning of integration in 19S4 in the District's McKinley Tech-
r. eal High School. A school official stated some 400 Negroes enrolled in this high school's previously all-white student body.
supply more classes fnr retarded children. The need for
that has heen brought into focus much more clearly through
integration, and this year we are establishing quite a number of additional classes for backward children.
PRINA: 'Mien vou do have intellectual segregation in
CORNING: I don't like to use the word, sir, bul there has
always heen and there will be increasingly, probably, grouping of individuals to make certain thai the very gifted ones
can move on as rapidly, and eis fen ee- they are able lo go,
and al the same time lake' care of the lower, more slowly
moving children as well.
ROGERS: In general. Dr. Corning, what was the reaction of while parents wlio-e children had a Negro
teacher last .ear?
CORNING: There were no objections that reached my
level. Mi-- Ili.L'crs. I had in. complaints aboul the assignment nf Negro teachers. I did hear grumblings at first. I
have quite a number nf letters nn file frnm parents who say
that originally they were unhappy at the prospect of having
a Negro teacher fm- their children, hut now they arc singing
praises nf those teachers; ami. while there may have been
more dissatisfaction them I am aware nf. none of il arrived
at my office.
PRINA: Dr. Corning. I understand that many, if not
all. of tbe secoiuleer. schools have virtually cut out
their social programs—dances, etc. Now, do you think
this i- a healthy situation? And. if not. have you urged
that these social function- lie resumed?
CORNING: Thev haven'l been entirely eliminated. I think
there has been a slowing down nf the program nf social
activities in those schools which arc pretty largely integrated. I think, however, that a- time goes mi even that
will nnt he so line, because in citi.-s where there is an inte-
grated school system ami has been for years, social acihiiie-
'51. mi. In mv former experience before coming back to
Washington, we had that situation and no particular problems developed.
ROGERS: Dr. Corning, what do you do in the case
where parent- come to your office and demand or seek
a child's transfer to another sehool? What kind of
questions do you a-k them? Ju-t what would the gi.e
and take be on that?
CORNING: Well, I'm afraid I couldn't put any of the.-.'
into patterns because the reasons fnr requesting transfer are
so numerous. Then' em always parents who have requested
transfers long before integration—and in some instances
they've been granted particularly em doctor's certificates—
for a health reason, or if a course is given in one school
that is nnt given in another.
We do have a bi-raeial committee that now passes mi all
requests for transfer, particularly those having to do with
the racial problem. The questioning depends somewhat on
what tbe reason for it is. The permissions an- mil given jusl
on a racial basis, hut if there is some legitimate reason
beyond a racial prejudice one, quite a number of those
requests have been granted,
PRINA: Is that the so-called "hardship" ease that you
are speaking of?
CORNING: That is right.
PKINA: In other words, it does not work this way a»
I've read—that if a person's child is in a school where
he is in a great minority—let's say he's a white child
in a eolored sehool in whieh there are very few whites*
his parents would not he aide to go to you or to th*'
Board anil ask for a transfer if there was a vacancy i-1
CORNING: That person would be required to put his request iu writing and submil il to ihis bi-racial committee
that goes over all of iln- facts involved tn the ease, and ij
there is Legitimate reason over and above jusl the racial
reason, in all likelihood ihe requesl would be granted. Bill,
thai is all handled by ihis bi-racial committee and they alsd
in addition to these written reports, see and interview 8
greal many people who come in. You might be interested inl
that connection to know thai the requests thai we have received this year on the hardship basis are onlv a handful
Compared to those which We received lasl year.
ROGERS] Well, do you think that is because school
has just gotten underway?
CORNING: Well, al least last year we had them to a mud]
larger degree before school got underway. We will hav*
more afler sehool starts, no douhl.
PRINA: It would he normal that you would gel ■ ■"
hulk the first year, wouldn't it?
CORNING: Yes. I think so.
PRINA: Dr. Corning, what about this so-called "on**
way street"? lt*s pointed out that there are only 1.5
per cent of the white school population now attending
schools thai formerly were all colored. Now is there anj
move afoot to bring that into balance; or is there anj
particular explanation for that low figure?
CORNING: I am nol familiar with thai figure, bul assun*
ing that il is correct laud l"m nol questioning il at all I tha'
will take care of itself as ihis option plan works on through
and as we progress further wilh this program.
BURLEIGH) Dr. Corning* I was particularly interested
a moment ago in your percentages regarding the pop*1'
lation of (lie puhlie schools of llie nation'- capital- '
believe you said the Negro population is 61 per cent *,r
CORNING: Siudeui population.
HURLEIGH) Student population, 61 per cent. Can >'"'
give us the trend of the past, say leu years? That woul'
certainly he prior lo the thought of segregation an1'
that is what I am particularly interested in and wheth**
this trend might continue.
CORNING: From all indications, il will continue and thf
percentage of Negro population will be greater if the forme*
trend follow-. I can i give you the exact figures, bul roughlj
it's something like ihis: thai about five years ago for tW
first time the two enrollments in the two school systems 1>("
came equal. Theretofore, tin1 while population had been '"
a majority. 'I hen lhe following year there were ">.lioo ,,
eolored than while; lhe following year J!.(Kill more colon''1
than white: and if- been going rijzlil about that, on th*
HURLEIGH: So, we might say that in another five '''
possibly ten year*, the student population of the piil>'|f
Schools of the nation's capital could be 73 per cC
INegrO, 2.> per cent white.
CORNING: Conceivably, that i- true.
KACrs I'OIU M NKWS. W.-m/»