Education

National NAACP leaders want Wake school board chair to resign

Posted March 9, 2010
Updated March 10, 2010

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— Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, joined the state chapter on Tuesday in calling for the resignation of Wake County School Board Chairman Ron Margiotta after comments he made during a heated public hearing on March 2.

Margiotta could be heard saying, “Here come the animals out of their cages," during the meeting on the school system’s long-standing policy of assigning students to ensure schools had no more than 40 percent of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches.

Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, says the comment by Margiotta is evidence of "racist attitudes" on the board.

Margiotta says his comment was out of line but had nothing to do with race. He insists he was responding to how rude people in the crowd were following statements by Bill Randall, a black Republican congressional candidate who spoke in favor of the board’s move to end the diversity policy in favor of community-based schools.

The back-and-forth between proponents of the Board of Education’s move to end busing for socio-economic diversity and those in favor of the current student assignment policy has evoked heated and sometimes intense debate.

Margiotta’s comments came shortly before the board voted 5-4 in favor of a resolution to move away from the diversity policy.

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

The state NAACP has threatened legal action against the school system if the diversity policy is dropped. The civil rights organization has been an outspoken critic of the school board's idea for community-based schools, saying it is a "racially discriminatory policy" that will segregate poor students and keep them from receiving the same quality of education as more advantaged students.

School board members, however, have insisted that they have no plans to segregate students and that student achievement is their top priority.

Meanwhile, the board plans to hold a closed-session meeting Tuesday evening to discuss the contract of Wake County schools Superintendent Del Burns.

In several interviews last month, Burns, who announced he's resigning June 30, accused the board of "partisan political gamesmanship" and said ending the system's diversity policy would segregate rich schools and poor schools.

Several community groups have called for Burns' immediate removal, while others have come to his defense. Board members also appear to be divided with many in the new majority offended and concerned about the ability to work with him for the next four months.

Stay logged on to WRAL.com for more on this developing story, and watch for a live report during WRAL News at 11.

177 Comments

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  • dib Mar 11, 2010

    National NAACP. Its this new? National National Association for the Advancement of Colored People? Wow!

  • IveGotMyOpinion Mar 11, 2010

    bla bla bla, bla bla bla

  • Trabman_san Mar 10, 2010

    Wouldn't it be great if every media outlet ignored the NAACP?

    Abso freeking lutely!

  • Adelinthe Mar 10, 2010

    Personally, I think the NAACP is one of the most racist organizations out there, but because of what he said, Margiotta SHOULD resign.

    Anyone with an ounce of sense would have known that statement was going to be trouble, yet he said it anyway.

    With someone with as little sense as that at the top, no wonder the WCPSS can't get anything meaningful done for ALL students.

    God bless.

    RB

  • Common Sense Man Mar 10, 2010

    Wouldn't it be great if every media outlet ignored the NAACP?

  • rpd911 Mar 10, 2010

    NAACP needs to go the way of the dinosaurs. Also, neighborhood schools make sense both in social and financial way. Kids who live near each other tend to play together and if they're in school together then parents will know the kids they're kids are hanging out with. Busing a kid across the county because he is "socioeconomically disadvantage" is obsurd. The NAACP doesn't want to admit or accept that historically the people of a minority background are lesser educated, not because of the school they attend, but because of the parents lack of involvement in the child's education. Take some responsiblity. Also, if you act like an animal then being called one shouldn't offend you, after all, people are in the animal kingdom and if left to our own devices we'd end up eating each other for lack of thought. Make all the schools the same, same blue print, same technology allocation and save for requests by teachers who live near a particular school, assign the teachers as necessary.

  • elcid liked Ike Mar 10, 2010

    "Low student performance? Are you suggesting that the teachers in the poor neighborhood schools are under educated compared to the teachers in the rich neighborhood schools?"

    In many instances, yes. Take Charlotte, for example. Only 3 percent of teachers at West Charlotte High [89% black] are board certified. Schools in wealthier neighborhoods have several times as many board-certified teachers.

  • dont_preach Mar 10, 2010

    The NAACP is also speaking for the white parents who were insulted by the comment. People didnt like the comment that was directed toward them and have no way of getting their feelings to the media. The board doesnt have to agree nor do the parents but at least the board should have an open mind and at least to appear to listen to a difference of opinion! The board should rise up to the occasion not lower themselves into a mud slinging confortation. Surely we can expect better of our elected officials-- or can we? The Chairman of the Board just needs to GO!-superman

    superb post!

  • dont_preach Mar 10, 2010

    Has anyone thought to ask the kids what they want?- racecard balker

    The best comment on this board that no one has even adressed!!

  • Soundguy Mar 10, 2010

    I posted earlier today on this subject but this part did not make the page so I will post it again. This comes from the article linked here: http://www.wral.com/news/education/story/6834063/

    Low student performance? Are you suggesting that the teachers in the poor neighborhood schools are under educated compared to the teachers in the rich neighborhood schools?

    It appears to me that all the Rev. Barber and the naacp is concerned about is a little media attention. I attended neighborhood schools as a child and I turned out just fine. As for the rest of the children in Wake County? It doesn’t matter where you live. All that matters is if you have a desire to learn and make something of yourself!

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