Longtime supporter of Wake schools concerned

Posted March 4, 2010

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— The direction of the Wake County Board of Education might not be the way to go when it comes to assigning students to schools, the head of the Wake Education Partnership said Thursday.

Dr. Ann Denlinger, president of the nonprofit organization that's been a 26-year supporter of the school system, says it's still too early to tell the effects of the board's plan to move away from the district's longstanding busing policy to achieve socioeconomic diversity.

School diversity debate troubles supporter School diversity debate troubles supporter

Based on the Wake Education Partnership's own study of assigning students to their closest school, however, about 25 schools in the system would likely have a high concentration of poor children if the system went to a community-based system.

"We cannot support that," Denlinger said. "It's not in the best interest of our children."

The issue has been a contentious one that has drawn emotional and tense response from supporters on both sides of the debate and has led to sharp criticism, including accusations of racism, toward the school board's new majority.

In part, opponents of the board's plan say it will lead to segregation; proponents say it will give allow parents to be more involved in their children's schooling.

The board voted 5-4 Tuesday in favor of a resolution to begin planning for the phase-out of the current assignment policy. Board Chairman Ron Margiotta, members Debra Goldman, Chris Malone, Deborah Prickett and John Tedesco voted for the resolution, while members Kevin Hill, Dr. Anne McLaurin, Dr. Carolyn Morrison and Keith Sutton voted against it.

"There hasn’t been a plan that's specific yet," Denlinger said. "I think the board is working toward clarifying what they mean, but in the absence of that, when you say neighborhood schools and you look at what that looks like, (segregation's) what you end up with."

Russell Capps, a former state representative and president of the Wake County Taxpayers Association, supports the new board majority and says he doesn't think the community-based schools plan would result in a segregated system.

"We think everyone needs to give the new school board a chance to see what they can do," he said. "I think they have plans to carry out these proposals that will be good for the children of Wake County."

Denlinger says her group believes there is a need for change when it comes to assigning students and addressing achievement, but she doesn't believe the current proposal will work.

"We have looked across this country for an example of a school system that has segregated children in this way, that gets good results, that sustains strong schools over the years," she said. "We have not been able to find one single school system in this country where you isolate poor children by neighborhood and still have high quality schools."

She hopes the Wake Education Partnership can work with the board in addressing the issue and come to a resolution beneficial for all students and the community.

"We would very much like to find a place to land that is in the best interest of this community, going forward, and that serves all children well," Denlinger said. "I still believe such a place exists. We haven't found it yet."


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  • wayneboyd Mar 5, 2010

    I'm not as upset as you are 27615, but I posted a comment yesterday that was deleted because the censors decided that moron was an "adjective" too explicit to be used in referring to a government worker. Well I resent being called names that are not appropriate for me. How about the "name" taxpayer. They have expanded the meaning for that "term" until now by law they can deprive me of everything that I own if I don['t conform. Others include "terms" such as "owner", "operator," "driver,"
    "licensed," "smoker," and the list goes on an on, I retract my statement fromn yesterday, I'm the "moron" for allowing this to happen to me and even more so for allowing it to be passed to my children.

  • me2you Mar 5, 2010

    So it's ok for the neighborhoods to be segregated, but somehow the school systems responsibility to fix it?

  • Nancy Mar 5, 2010

    So, continue to support a policy that continues to fail - that's her answer?

    From WCPSS data:

    The four-year graduation rate varied considerably (from 51.1% to 89.4%) among ethnic
    subgroups, with White and Asian students showing the highest rates and African
    American/Black and Hispanic/Latino students the lowest. In 2008-09, the rate for the White
    (89.4%) and Multiracial (81.2%) subgroups increased, but the Asian (88.3%), African
    American/Black (63.4%), and Hispanic/Latino (51.1%) rates decreased. Also, the African
    American/Black and Hispanic/Latino subgroups are showing a decreasing four-year trend
    (Figure 1).

  • mgratk Mar 5, 2010

    The only way all the kids can succeed is if brown, tan, yellowish, green and blue students are evenly mixed with the pinkish students. Sorry, I don't buy it.
    The answer is parents, not how much money the parents make. Not the color of anyone's skin.
    To dare to claim it is segregationist or racist to avoid busing kids 3 hours a day, and to get parents more involved in neighborhood schools, is just plain ignorant and racist.
    How is this story even news? An organization that supported the agenda of the prior school board is against the new direction that the voters wanted? Not exactly shocking. Not news at all, as a matter of fact. Just another WRAL opinion piece.

  • dbcooper41 Mar 5, 2010

    " Have to remind people of Ann Denlinger detractors.
    now sure what you meant but, this story is about jackie wagstaff, a denlinger detractor. she was also a big Nifong supporter.
    so now we have a denlinger detractors and the nifong supporters alliance?
    strange bedfellows indeed!

  • dbcooper41 Mar 5, 2010

    "The puppet masters behind this are getting what they wanted"

    "American for Prosperity"
    these are the people behind the new school board. it is a
    national org with state chapters. they are doing this nationwide.
    "Directors Americans for Prosperity Directors Art Pope Director(and founder) Art Pope is president and vice-chairman of the board of directors for Variety Wholesalers Inc., where he has served in various capacities since 1986. During that period, he was elected to four terms (nonconsecutive) in the North Carolina House of Representatives."

    you may have heard of his "distant cousin" claude pope. he's head of the wake GOP.

    this is how fake "grassroots", or "astroturf" movements are run. AFP is where the slick signs and websites came from.

  • WHEEL Mar 5, 2010

    Dingaling couldn't make it in Wilson, got run out of Durham and the Teacher's Union got her this job. She can tell everyone what they should do but hasn't managed to create much of a record herself.

  • NH Mom Mar 5, 2010

    Of course Ann Denlinger is against the new school boards policys. She spent her entire career backing bussing. No one wants to find out their life's work was misguided. The news media in this city need to give equal time and space to those who support the policies put forward by the current board of education.

    We currently have a lot of whiney people who cannot believe they lost an election. Hush up and remember to vote next time. The voter turn out for local elections is pathetic.

  • tommys5 Mar 5, 2010
    Have to remind people of Ann Denlinger detractors.

  • SubwayScoundrel Mar 5, 2010

    I thought the real long time supporters of the school system were the taxpayers? Does the opinion of those who actually pay the taxes even matter? ...... garrettsmom

    Garrettsmom, you are corrent, the peoples' opinion who pay the taxes does matter. As someone who has lived in Raleigh since 1971 and paid taxes, the way this board has gone about things make them look like a joke just a few months after taking over. I am OK with community schools, OK with parents choice on year round but if people wanted to cause chaos in the school system, this board brought it by coming in and claiming "we are in charge" instead of working to improve. I would support them any other way but not anymore.

    The puppet masters behind this are getting what they wanted. Pure chaos. And people thought they were voting for less reasignment. No, you were duped by idealogy. Luddy/Pope who put the strategy together and financed this are outspoken on wrecking the public school system and here it is.