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The Importance of “Weltanschauung” in Operations Research: The Case of the School Busing Problem
Busing of children to achieve racial balance in schools is an important and controversial social issue. In studying the school busing problem, various groups (e.g., operations researchers, educators, sociologists, psychologists) proceed quite differently because of their different “Weltanschauungen”—their different perceptions of reality, their different world views. Operations researchers have viewed the school busing problem as a desegregation problem (i.e., simply physically mixing the races) while others have seen it as an integration problem (i.e., helping to bring about a viable, multi-racial society). The usefulness of the desegregation view of operations researchers is evaluated in light of findings from the educational literature about various aspects of the school busing problem. Explicit attention by operations researchers to the concept of “Weltanschauung” should result in studies more useful to school officials and administrators. Statements made about the role of “Weltanschauung” in operations research studies of the school busing problem may be applied to operations research studies in other areas of social concern such as health, welfare, and law enforcement.