John Oliver Mentions Boston’s Busing History in Segment on School Segregation

The host of HBO's Last Week Tonight examined the lack of integration at public schools across the country.

From the state of journalism to the opioid crisis, John Oliver has tackled a variety of important issues on Last Week Tonight. Now the HBO host has turned his sights on the topic of school segregation with his latest segment.

On Sunday night’s episode of the hit comedy news series, Oliver examined the lack of integration at many public schools around the nation. The comedian highlighted how segregation within the education system continues to have a detrimental effect on students of color.

“Black and latino children are more likely to attend schools with inexperienced teachers, which are then less likely to offer a college prep curriculum,” Oliver says in the video. “Those students are six times as likely to be in high poverty schools.”

The comic went on to examine the challenges desegregation efforts have faced in northern metropolitan areas. Oliver showed a clip from the 2014 documentary Desegregated, Yet Unequal, featuring an interview with an African American man from Boston who endured extreme discrimination from his white classmates after the city implemented a busing program in the 70s.

“You got all these whites out there with signs,” the man says. “Then, some of these same kids you’d see in class.”

Oliver did praise current desegregation efforts in Boston, in particular METCO, or the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity program.

“Boston has long had a voluntary program to send kids from the cities to schools in the suburbs,” Oliver says. “It’s tiny but it’s wildly popular.”

Check out the full clip above.