Education

Wake schools chair: NAACP protests 'sad'

Posted July 21, 2010

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— The head of the Wake County Board of Education on Wednesday called a disturbance and nearly 20 arrests at Tuesday's school board meeting "sad" and called the state NAACP "irrelevant."

"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to recognize that there are other motivations other than what's going on in the Wake County Public School System," board Chairman Ron Margiotta said. "That's a sad commentary, because the ones that are being punished will be the children and the families of this county."

An estimated 1,000 people took to the streets of downtown Raleigh Tuesday morning in a rally organized by the civil rights group to protest the school board's decision earlier this year to do away with a policy that assigns students to schools based on socio-economics.

Nineteen people, including state NAACP President Rev. William Barber, were arrested during protests.

Barber and others fear that ending the longstanding policy in favor for one that places students in schools closer to their homes will lead to resegregation, high teacher turnover and poor students receiving a lower quality of education than their economically advantaged counterparts.

Five of the school board's nine members disagree and believe the move will help improve test scores and give parents more chances to be involved in their students' education.

"I think we do have a great school system and that is recognized. However, there are some flaws in the system, and they're going to be corrected," Margiotta said.

"We want to truly help these low-income kids that aren't doing very well in the system. No one, in the past, has gone after them."

Margiotta said he thinks Barber and the NAACP are using the school-assignment debate to generate headlines and keep their names in the news.

"I've tried to be nice. It's quite evident people have other motivations, other than what's going on in the Wake County Public School System," Margiotta said. "They're an organization trying to become relevant again."

Barber defended the NAACP.

"What (Margiotta) can't deflect is the legitimate criticism of him trying to dismantle a nationally recognized system," he said. "It's not just the NAACP."

Ron Margiotta School official disappointed by protests

Barber said the board majority is ignoring parents and that socioeconomic diversity and school excellence go hand in hand.

Margiotta said, however, that 15 people arrested Tuesday were not from Wake County – evidence, he believes, that points to many residents liking the plan.

Barber, he said, is misguided.

"I hear what they're saying, but I don't understand why they're saying (what they are)," Margiotta said. "The plan has still not been enacted. The plan has not been put in place. What we're talking about – and what they should start to listen to – we're talking about choice for parents."

Under the plan currently in place, students can be reassigned each year to help make schools diverse. The goal is for no school across the district to have more than 40 percent of students receiving free and reduced-price lunches.

"We're talking about stability for families," Margiotta said. "Do you have any idea what that would mean for this county? That's something we've never had before."

131 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • wildcat Jul 23, 2010

    If a child/student wants to LEARN they will obtain all they can. If a child/student wants to be a NOTHING, then they can be that too. Sad but true. Look at whats on the streets and how they talk.

  • wildcat Jul 23, 2010

    ....I do believe that anyone who wants an education and have parents who want to give that to their children, it will happen...no matter what...
    cblackman

    ABSOLUTELY!!!!

  • wildcat Jul 23, 2010

    However you are more than willing to paint with the brush of your predjuice an entire group of people you have never met

    I am glad you see the irony

    good for you
    soyousay

    Dear, I am hardly prejudice. On the other hand, you cannot see the truth in our students failing or can do better. Remember they are your future, when you will be in a rocking chair.

  • cblackman Jul 23, 2010

    I would like to have taken a poll on the day of the protests and march....how many of these folks have a job and would've stood in line to that long to apply for one....If all these folks are working and paying taxes...then, all community schools would be the same....they would actually have a tax base, right? What happened to personal responsibility for our children's education? It really isn't the state's responsibility, but it has become so for many. Diversity shouldn't be forced anyway....I do believe that anyone who wants an education and have parents who want to give that to their children, it will happen...no matter what...

  • mdscgardner Jul 23, 2010

    com_mon_sents,
    No, I don't think you work for me, I do however believe you work for WCPSs and in my job, my boss directs me what to do and when. Sounds like you enjoy choice and input into your work situation? Same thing we want for our families and kids. Not a good idea when you are forced into a bad situation is it?

  • soyousay Jul 23, 2010

    I have. wildcat and X Could we all just stick to the issues without personal insults?
    X2X

    How amazingly insightful of you both. Looking at your missives there was no way to tell that you were prepared beyond secondary education. However you are more than willing to paint with the brush of your predjuice an entire group of people you have never met

    I am glad you see the irony

    good for you

  • renaizzanceman Jul 22, 2010

    It is sad that such an uproar over this has brought out obvious agendas. Stop belly aching and do more to actually accomplish change. Sheesh....

  • com_mon_sents Jul 22, 2010

    Stop allowing teachers to be "free agents"....now I have heard it all! I cannot believe anyone would say that publicly. Well let's just enslave them! Let's just add more to their plates. You don't have a choice in what you teach, you cannot speak out for/against issues in your job, you will not get the respect you want, you will do everything you are told and NOW YOU WILL be told when and where you will teach and you do not get a choice.

    Luckily you are not the one making the rules in education. If that were the case, I hope every teacher with some sense would walk out and they would have to shut the doors on every public school in this county.

    YOur attitude of teachers "work for WCPSS" i guess is the same attitude of your child teacher works for YOU as well.
    WOW...that's an amazing statement.

  • Plenty Coups Jul 22, 2010

    "Looks like you need to look for another job... YOU ARE A DISGRACE TO TEACHERS PERIOD!"

    Why, because we need to feed our families too and would rather work in a less stressful and more rewarding environment? Go to any HP school, talk to the principal and they'll tell you that they have a hard time retaining good teachers. This is reality.

  • lps Jul 22, 2010

    http://southernwakeacademy.org/Home_Page.html

More...