Groups to rally at Wake schools meeting

Posted July 18, 2010

Wake County Public School System

— Leaders of the NAACP and African Methodist Episcopal Zion Churches of the Eastern District continue to encourage other civic, religious, parent and student groups to take part in a mass demonstration Tuesday against the Wake County Board of Education’s planned policy change that they say will lead to resegregated schools.

“It's important for the community, for the public, if they do not support the school board policies, to continue to voice their opinions,” Yevonne Brannon, chair of the Great Schools in Wake Coalition, said Sunday.

Great Schools in Wake Coalition is among the groups 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 district in favor of assigning students closer to home.

The school system currently bases diversity calculations on the number of students in a school who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, which are federally subsidized and depend on family income.

Before the mass demonstration Tuesday, the Wake County Republican Party is asking supporters of the board's policy change to show up and get first-come, first-serve vouchers for the board’s meeting.

Claude E. Pope Jr., chairman of the Wake County Republican Party, said getting a voucher and attending the meeting is a way to show continued support for the board majority, which pushed forward the policy change.

“Our protest really was in October of 2009 when we showed up at the polls and elected this board,” Pope said.

Those who wish to attend the school board meeting must claim a voucher for seating Tuesday at the system's Administration Building, 3600 Wake Forest Road.

The school board recently began using tickets to control crowd size at its meetings. However, some say the voucher system could prevent people from voicing their opinions on the board's policy change.

“Everyone needs to have a chance to attend the meeting. I'll be disappointed if there's not enough seats for the public that show up,” Brannon said.

Wake school board Chairman Ron Margiotta said the school system has hired four off-duty police officers in anticipation of demonstrations Tuesday. The board is also consulting with Raleigh police about additional security.

( will provide live video of the Wake school board meeting Tuesday.)

The Wake school system's assignment plan now in place 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.

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


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  • batman88 Jul 19, 2010

    Has anybody thought about the children in this political mess? How is it beneficial to force children to change schools every year and to make new friends each year? A child deserves the right to maintain high school friends throughout the child's entire high school years, and not have to have his/her social status consistently interrupted. Nobody has taken into consideration what type of psychological problems this can impose on a child when they reach adulthood. Every child is entitled to a stable high school experience. A simple solution would be to allow the parents to drive their children to these schools that they want them to attend. While racial equality is important, the children are also and school years are when children begin developing these social skills. For the sake of the children, a compromise must be made and if these protesters would stop and listen, it would be an achievable goal.

  • NEinGarner Jul 19, 2010

    Let's keep politics out of our kids' schools. Everyone deserves a quality education. It has nothing to do with politics.

  • vthom40luv Jul 19, 2010

    Honestly people! Chill! For years our family was in stress worried about where the school board was going to send them to school for the next year. Even though we lived within walking distance of a school, they were always included in a node of apts that were considered to have an abundance of minorities. Celebrate with the families that can enjoy their holidays and not have to think about petitioning the school board to let their kids stay put in a neighborhood school. We don't need busing, we need more family involvement and that will come when the kids can attend close to their homes. The world is a different place than it was in the 50's. Stop looking at this as a color of skin issue. It is not. It is a positive step back to families.

  • batcave Jul 19, 2010

    obvious that some people were to lazy to vote , and now people have a problem with democracy , this protest was over before it started, this is not about rich , but more the middle class. Funny how this has already happened in major cities all over the country---already happened in Charlotte --guess what ? sky didn't fall, public schools can't help crummy parents.

  • superman Jul 19, 2010

    They only hired 4 people to control the crowd. For the members of the school board who are pushing their own personal agenda and prejudice- please be advised that this will not go away nor will it improve. Your plan may appeal to the rich and famous in cary but it just dont carry in other sections of the county who are not as rich and influential. This will be protested and challenged all the way to Washington and back.

  • Carolina Conservator Jul 19, 2010

    Hey, Parents and groups: Would you rather have your child identified as and be proud of his or her race, or would you rather have a virtual sign hung around their neck saying-" I am a Poor Child so I have a free lunch" Gimmie a break its a sham and a euphamism for race.

  • Not_So_Dumb Jul 19, 2010

    "Let me remind everybody that this program was originally sold to the people of Wake County as a means of reducing overcrowding."-naka

    Yes and no. AFAIK, the policy was in place originally to undo segregation. When the courts started indicating that such remedies had passed their time (ultimately saying that assigning by race was no longer Constitutional) Wake switched to socio-economic status. They did almost nothing to change the assignments, so they were still race based. Socio-economic status is not a protected class, AFAIK.

    Either way, IMO, the policy was used most successful as a way of making things look good for the business community while not having to do the hard work of addressing the problems of the historically low performing students.

  • naka05212003 Jul 19, 2010

    Let me remind everybody that this program was originally sold to the people of Wake County as a means of reducing overcrowding. It was only after the fact that this was exposed to be a boldfaced lie and that the actual purpose of this policy was to facilitate government enforced diversity. Why was this policy not presented to citizens without the subterfuge? I graduated from Cary High in 1990 and the population of students seem to me to have reflected the make up of the general population of the county at the time. It's time to stop making excuses for under performing schools and examine what the root of the problem is (insert you choice of deficit here). Are these schools that have benefited from this policy substantially more successful as a result of busing diversity? I have never been a fan of busing even when it was billed as overcrowding relief. Never mind that many families choose where to live based on the school system, how can people support a policy born as a lie?

  • cary1969 Jul 19, 2010

    i hope all those who disrupt this meeting are arrested. pro or con

  • soyousay Jul 19, 2010

    Hey, two can play at this game.

    I am assuming that sign of the fish has some sort of meaning- interesting attitude