Education

Wake school board passes resolution on neighborhood schools

Posted March 2, 2010
Updated March 3, 2010

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— The Wake County Board of Education voted Tuesday to end its long-standing diversity policy in student assignment in favor of a neighborhood schools concept.

By a 5-4 vote, the board approved a resolution to begin planning for the phase out of the policy. The move will allow students to go to schools closer to home, regardless of the socio-economic makeup of the student body.

The resolution calls for a second and final vote, which is expected at the next school board meeting on March 23.

Wake board votes to phase out diversity policy Wake board votes to phase out diversity policy

Reassigning students to ensure schools had no more than 40 percent of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches has been controversial for years. It was a key point in last year's election, in which voters elected four candidates who said they supported changing the policy in favor of neighborhood schools.

School board member Anne McLaurin said Tuesday before the vote that the resolution called for additional research, public feedback and financial cost analysis.

"We have not done any of these things,” she said.

School board member John Tedesco argued the resolution was only a direction and that more discussion would follow.

“We are going to have opportunities to have our committees and our communities participate in that process,” he added. (Read more about Tuesday's school board meeting.)

After hearing from dozens of people who signed up to speak before the board, Tedesco joined board Chairman Ron Margiotta and members Deborah Prickett, Chris Malone and Debra Goldman in voting in favor of the resolution, while McLaurin and board members Keith Sutton, Kevin Hill and Carolyn Morrison voted against it.

Those in the crowd who opposed the vote joined in an impromptu rally led by the Rev. William Barber, the state's NAACP president, who has said the move would re-segregate schools. Barber has threatened to sue the board over the matter.

"Your plan is wrong. It's wayward. It will make things worse, and you know it," he said earlier in the day, during a tense public comment period. "It doesn't matter if you are white and support it, this is bad policy. It doesn't matter if you are black and support it. The data doesn't support it. Morality doesn't support it."

Barber also asked the board again for 45 minutes to present information and data about what could happen if the school system moves away from the diversity policy. He says research shows schools with large majorities of poor children fail because they are underfunded, have a high teacher turnover and low student performance.

Margiotta, who has previously refused the request but has offered for board leadership to meet with Barber, said the district's new direction will not segregate students.

"We have laws, we have court rulings and we have morality. It is something that would never be tolerated by anyone on the school board,” he said.

Barber said he would be watching the school board’s proceedings closely.

"We are here. We are not going anywhere," he said. "We are not turning around. Don’t you be fooled. We may not sit in tonight. We may not go to jail tonight, but if it comes to that, we're going to draw attention to this nationwide and we're going to do it together."

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  • yabo2k3 Mar 4, 2010

    There is a simple solution to the entire problem. However, the NAACP would rather throw the Race Card instead of fixing the problems colored people have created for themselves.

    1. Force them to learn what true respect is. Guns, gangs, and drugs do not give you respect. The only respect they think they get is the ones the bust a cap in

    2. The NAACP needs to stop writing off Barber's daily meals and use that money to better the colored communities.

    3. Barber and his NAACP need to spend more time re-engineering the communities he is trying to promote before making honest Americans of all colors be exposed to how bad they are.

  • rescuefan Mar 4, 2010

    "This is an ignorant statement from someone who has not studied history. The forced busing policy reeks of socialism and it is not the job of the public school system to promote social engineering for the county's schoolchildren. You can deal in semantics all you want to, it does not change the fact that PROGRESS is here.
    injameswetrust2003"

    Too funny. You call me ignorant when you are the one who is using semantics. You want socialism to mean what you want it to mean, and that's that. I provided the definition, which is more than you have done, yet you call me ignorant.

  • injameswetrust2003 Mar 3, 2010

    "You do realize that public schools are "socialist" in the way you are using the word, right?" rescuefan

    This is an ignorant statement from someone who has not studied history. The forced busing policy reeks of socialism and it is not the job of the public school system to promote social engineering for the county's schoolchildren. You can deal in semantics all you want to, it does not change the fact that PROGRESS is here.

  • cpstrick Mar 3, 2010

    Get real. Give the new school board a chance. How much worst can our schools get.Lets divide the school system back to a city /county school boards. We, who live in the county, don't have a choice. We go to our neighborhood schools. The city of raleigh has always had a problem with school assignment.We don't.Example: Since we did away with corporal punishment, look how good our kids have done.

  • rescuefan Mar 3, 2010

    "Congratulations, new school board, for kicking the socialist busing policy to the curb. Let's see if this comment can get through without being censored by the GOLO moderators.
    injameswetrust2003"

    You do realize that public schools are "socialist" in the way you are using the word, right? Not just the busing policy, the whole idea of public schools. You might want to look into that before you throw out the "socialist" label. I know that's the fad of the day, and it's being bandied about as a bad word, but that's exactly what public schools are.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/socialism
    1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
    2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

  • injameswetrust2003 Mar 3, 2010

    Congratulations, new school board, for kicking the socialist busing policy to the curb. Let's see if this comment can get through without being censored by the GOLO moderators.

  • shortcake53 Mar 3, 2010

    ScareCrow, I was very involved in my childrens schools, just as I am with my grandson. I witnessed first hand how scholorships and awards went to a select handful of kids, and others who were just as deserving were ignored. Dont stand in judgement of my involvement unless you were standing beside me during all the events and meetings i attended.

  • NorthofNorthRaleigh Mar 3, 2010

    NAACP needs to watch what kinds of threats they make about suing a school board. Before long, they will have a suit against them.

  • NorthofNorthRaleigh Mar 3, 2010

    Sounds like NAACP doesn't want competition from other racists. National Association for the Advancement of COLORED People - just the name itself is racist. They call for the advancement of one race. What if there was a National Association for the Advancement of White People? or "white colored" people? If we're all truly equal then why have an association for the "advancement" of any race?

  • didisaythat Mar 3, 2010

    GOOOD!!!!!!!

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