Opponents rally against Wake schools assignment plan

Posted July 6, 2010

— "Our children are being used as tools of division," proclaimed NAACP state chapter President Rev. William Barber in a passionate speech Tuesday in downtown Raleigh.

Leaders of the North Carolina NAACP and African Methodist Episcopal Zion Churches of the eastern district spoke out to encourage other civic, religious, parent and student groups take part in a mass demonstration against the planned policy change that they say will lead to resegregated schools in Wake County.

Groups rally against 'resegregation' Groups rally against school 'resegregation'

The group is protesting the school board’s decision earlier this year to move away from a system where students are bused to help balance socio-economic diversity across the school system in favor of assigning students closer to home.

"Diversity is a tool of racial and economic justice," Barber said. "We know that diversity of our schools makes our schools stronger."

Barber has called the plan a "public emergency" and said he won't stop fighting the board's "morally wrong" decision.

The Wake school system's assignment plan – which used socio-economic status to assign students to schools across the county – became a national model for districts looking to achieve balance in student populations without violating a 2007 Supreme Court decision that limits the use of race in how students are assigned.

The five board members who voted to end the policy argue there are better ways to achieve diversity in schools. They favor keeping Wake's nearly 140,000 students as close to home as possible.

"The whole purpose of these assignment zones that we're developing is to give choice. That's the big word," Wake school board Chairman Ron Margiotta said. "Parents will have a great deal of choice in the schools that their children attend."

Other board members point to studies that say the cold socio-economic policy actually increased the number of schools with high percentages of students receiving free and reduced lunches.

Barber disagrees.

"If this school board was serious about student achievement, the five of them would leave diversity alone," Barber said, in referring to the board majority who are backing the policy change.

Barber was followed Rev. Nancy E. Petty, pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Yvonne Brannon, chairwoman of Great Schools in Wake Coalition, some Wake County students and members of the state General Baptist State Convention.

Each speaker ended with a call for supporters to gather at 10 a.m. July 20 at the Convention Center for a mass protest in advance of the scheduled meeting of the Wake County Board of Education that day.


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  • Dr.Moufunchitz Jul 8, 2010

    End Diversity Now!!!

  • gsmcnally Jul 7, 2010

    The "Zones" are not about community schools. They are about segregated neighborhood schools. The community is Wake County. There is very little diversity in neighborhoods because everyone says "not in my neighborhood". I thank God that my children have already been educated in the Wake County Schools that valued diversity. It breaks my heart to see what is going on. The WCPSS will implode under this new board majority and those who bought the election.

  • kuzin11 Jul 7, 2010

    No fight is ever easy. Common sense is trying to overcome the insanity. It's about time. Majority ruled so let them take care of business. We tried busing for 40 years. It did not work. Let's get back to the basics.

  • com_mon_sents Jul 7, 2010

    Now that would be the icing on the cake, to see a HUGE crowd to show up that supports the neighborhood schools to protest against Barber and his mob...that would make my day!

  • Mugu Jul 7, 2010

    NAACP should hold a rally against violence at the 900 block of Edenton.

  • 4NCST8 Jul 7, 2010

    Community schools make so much more sense, particularly high school. Athletics events, social activities, like clubs and dances. Parents don't want to have to drive several minutes away. That's just dumb (driving 30-40 minutes away to pick up a child from some sort of school related activity). The people, in Wake Co., who are for community schools ought to show up in droves and counterprotest Barber and his supporters. My hunch is: If everyone showed up, who wanted to see neighborhood schools (They may not.), they would far outnumber Barber and the ones who want continued forced busing.

  • NoFreakinWay Jul 7, 2010

    Yep, 20 more irrelevant ranters stand beside Mr. Big and together accomplish nothing. They are all irrelevant and their little tantrums and fits are changing and will change nothing.

    On the other hand, all who want to send the message to Mr. Big that we are sick of seeing and hearing him, show up on the morning of July 20th at the convention center downtown, as his group of 20 or 30 will be doing, and we'll march right along side of them to where ever they go and we will yell a lot louder than they do in support of our new school board and our right to neighborhood schools! We WILL have neighborhood schools very soon. Thank you new school board!

  • WHEEL Jul 6, 2010

    Did you see the NEWS tonight? The masses turned out to demonstrate. Must have been twenty at the most!

  • com_mon_sents Jul 6, 2010

    I have an idea...I want all the protesters that ACTUALLY live in Wake Co. to wear BRIGHT YELLOW hats. That way we can see ACTUALLY who gives a flip about their walking protest!!!

  • dahman Jul 6, 2010


    instead of naacp hitting the news, think about the proverbial "stuff" hitting the fan.

    no difference as far as i can see