westward expansion And 19th-century urbanization scattered families across rural America, leaving only muddy tracks and rudimentary road networks to hold them together. Children had to walk miles to get to school. Due to the seasonal nature of farm work and the lack of public transportation, many children were unable to attend school year-round.
In 1852, Massachusetts passed the Compulsory Education Act, and by 1900, 31 other states had imposed similar requirements. However, there was a problem. If the state requires children to attend school, they must attend school. Schools responded by transporting children to school in horse-drawn carriages known as “kid hacks” or “school wagons.” In May 1897, her WB Her Lady Ashley of Fall River, Massachusetts, argued that a new school should be built in the town. She was unable to eat dinner because the shaking of the wagon upset the child’s stomach,” a local newspaper reported at the time.
America’s family transportation needs have spawned a hodgepodge of solutions. In 1892, Wayne Works, an Indiana automobile company, developed a horse-drawn “school car” for Ohio school districts. This one had a single entrance at the back and long wooden benches along the sides. By 1914, the company had built a motorized school car (which looked like a mashup of a Model T and a streetcar), and for decades he was one of the top manufacturers of school transport in the country. decided to reign.
The hollowing out of America’s rural landscape accelerated again during the Great Depression.As education historian Campbell F. Scribner writes in his 2016 book: Battle for local control“Of the 200,000 one-room schools operating nationwide in 1915, only 1,200 were open in 1975.” increased the need for school buses, but inequalities remained even with buses: for example, children on farms often could not play sports if they had to ride the bus. .
While Wayne Works maintained a significant share of the market during the Great Depression, Albert Ruth Sr., owner of two Ford dealerships in Georgia, was innovating his own buses. I was. Beginning in 1925, Ruth was the first to attach a wooden body to the frame of a truck, but the invention could rattle and break on dirt country roads, so Ruth placed it under the wooden body. We added a steel frame to ensure stability. Nonetheless, safety remained an issue, and a series of school bus accidents in 1935 convinced Ruth that all his steel he needed to start using the body. By the early 1940s, Ruth’s company, Blue Bird, had become a prolific bus manufacturer. Wayne Works went out of business, but Blue Bird is still alive and proud, selling 550,000 units since 1927 and claiming to be America’s leading school bus manufacturer It claims to have developed the frame first, but others question it.The first Blue Bird bus is on display at the Henry Ford Museum as the oldest surviving school bus.)
But national standards still fall short, and Frank Seale, who has spent his career in public schools in Nebraska and elsewhere, was aware of the problem. In 1937, Cyr conducted a study of school transportation, from trucks to buses to old-fashioned wagons. Two years later, at the school’s first meeting aimed at improving his buses, Cyr hung paint samples on the walls and called on a small group of participants to choose a uniform color for school buses in the United States. The winner was the bright yellow we know today. Best for safety as it was considered the easiest color to read black lettering on vehicles in the early morning light. First known as National School Bus Chrome, this color later became known as National School Bus Glossy Yellow and is technically color 13432. Although the bus has changed a lot on the inside (for example, the side benches are now facing the front), the exterior of the American school bus has changed little since his 1939.
Long a vehicle for equal access to education, the school bus became a tool against racial inequality after the 1954 Supreme Court ruling. Brown v. Board of Educationdeclared segregated public schools unconstitutional and school buses became symbols of integration in some places. Former US President Jimmy Carter recalled how he responded in Georgia: increase brown vs board, the state legislature recommended painting the front fenders of school buses carrying black children black. This is a clear and harsh expression of defiance against the integrationists.
And now the yellow bus is about to turn green. The American School Bus Council estimates that more than 25 million schoolchildren ride more than 480,000 school buses each day, making school buses the largest mass transit system in America. As of last year, fewer than 1,200 of those buses were electric, but his $5 billion investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act of 2021 will see that number rise to 10,000 by 2026. It may grow on the table. Since Virginia added its 50th electric bus in 2020, the Commonwealth has already cut her carbon footprint by more than half a million pounds. Patrick McManamon, president of the National Association of Student Transportation Service Commissioners, says the new buses will play a historic role. “The future of buses is the future of America’s children,” says McManamon.