Wake County Schools

NAACP wants meeting with Wake schools superintendent

Posted February 2, 2011

— The state NAACP wants to meet with Wake County’s new school superintendent to talk about diversity and the controversial move away from the district’s longstanding practice of busing students.

The civil rights group sent a letter Wednesday to Tony Tata, echoing its concerns about high-quality and constitutional educational opportunities for all students enrolled in the Wake County Public School System.

“We trust we can establish a strong working relationship as we address the critical problems many children in the Wake County Schools face,” state NAACP President Rev. William Barber wrote.

Barber said his group will not stand for segregation in schools – something many opponents to the school system’s new student assignment policy fear will happen.

The school board voted last year to remove socio-economic diversity as a factor when determining students’ placements in school and to, instead, look at proximity to their homes.

But the NAACP and others fear the move will create pockets of poverty in the school district and keep poor students from receiving the same quality of education as their counterparts.

“We stand ready to help with any initiative that will improve student achievement and graduation rates or stop the school-to-prison pipeline,” Barber wrote. “We will use every means possible to stop and reverse actions that would dismantle Wake’s nationally recognized SES diversity policy.”

The new student assignment policy isn’t expected to go into effect until the 2012-13 school year, but critics and some board members say recent assignment changes for 2011-12 will place thousands of low-income students back into high-poverty schools.

For example, the school board on Tuesday approved changes that will help fill the new Walnut Creek Elementary School in a low-income area of southeast Raleigh.

School system projections indicate that about 80 percent of the student population will qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch as a result of reassignment. The district currently tries to keep the number of students at each school receiving free or reduced-price lunches at no more than 40 percent.

“It does look as if we’re moving high-needs, low-income children to low-income schools and making higher-poverty schools, which will create a lot of extra needs,” board member Carolyn Morrison said Tuesday.

But board member John Tedesco said the changes to next year’s plan are needed to open Walnut Creek Elementary.

“The largest chunk of the move is the opening of a new school. That school just happens to be in southeast Raleigh,” Tedesco said. “When it draws from other schools, it has a ripple effect.”

Tata, who started work Monday, has said that increasing student achievement and preparing students to be competitive in a global economy will be his priorities as school superintendent.

Recently, he has told other media outlets that he thinks maintaining diversity in Wake schools is important, but he hasn’t said how he believes that should be achieved, saying he needs more time to look at the issue.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • josephlawrence43 Feb 3, 2011

    well now--he wants a meeting with the new super?? What happened to all the staged public demands and confrontations? What happened to the Justice Dept. investigating Wake Co Schools? Could it be that the Justice people told the Right Rev. that there was no case for them to investigate?? Wonder if that would fit into this scenario??

  • leastwo2001 Feb 3, 2011

    wondering why the Rev. is not worried with the schools in WAYNE CO as much as he is with WAKE.....oh wait, do you think it is because he will get on the news in WAKE CO?!

  • lakeyk1 Feb 3, 2011

    I am "SOOOO tired and worn out" of this story. Raleigh has grown so vastly and quickly that a redistribution needs to occur. It has nothing to do with "BEING RACIST". When a family, with children, relocates or moves locally they will look to buy a home accoring to the school district. Ask any realator, this is a priority in selling a house. I can not understand why Rev. Barber would think this agenda would take us back hundreds of years. I would not want my 6, 7, or 8 year old child to get up to board a bus at 5:30 or 6:00am in the morning to take a 20 mile drive to school, when there is a school in the neighborhood 2 to 3 blocks from my house. I have read and heard of the stories of these young children hit and killed crossing the highways to get to the school bus crossing, and the possible danger of pedofiles that patrol these areas watching these little children. Allowing these children to attend the school within their district makes sense. It would cut down on, more busse

  • mustangyts Feb 3, 2011

    If we all were truly equal this would not be an issue. We would just go to our local schools and all perform basically all the same. We tend to prop up the under achievers and worry about them graduating. The NAACP needs to worry about self-inflicted problems, violence, rampant std rates, teenage pregnacy, issues stated best by Bill Cosby. When the NAACP blasted Cosby for "airing dirty laundry", he replied, "your dirty laundry gets out of school each day at 2:45, goes home and terrorizes the neighborhood." The NAACP needs a leader like Cosby that recognizes the REAL problems facing african-americans.

  • wakeconative4ever Feb 3, 2011

    I attended a middle school and high school that was about 85% black. White students had no say in student government. No say in homecoming king/queen. No chance at being on sports teams. There was no one there making sure that things were "equal". It was the most miserable 6 years of my life. I had my purse stolen and money taken many times. Clothes stolen while I was in gym class. All of the minority students received free lunch while the white students paid. The lucky white kids ended up going to private schools. I made myself a promise that if I ever had children they WOULD NOT go to public school and I have kept that promise. But I want to know WHY there was never a group such as the NAACP around to protect my rights?

  • oldrwizr Feb 3, 2011

    You hear that, NAACP? kjackson47 says you need to just shut up and go away, so hurry along now. Watch the swinging door as you leave. Sorry you didn't meet k-jack's standards ... better luck next time.

  • kjackson47 Feb 3, 2011

    The naacp needs to go away and stop meddling in everything
    there is already all black colleges all black scholarships BET blackstarz black history month and ablack president
    can't they ever b happy

  • RM24 Feb 3, 2011

    I think its OBAMA's fault. Sorry, I know that really does not belong there but for years we had Bush's name thrown in where it did not belong so that was just for the heck of it.

  • RM24 Feb 3, 2011

    imwithcoffee: Your right. I keep forgetting that also. But on the other side many that get this "free lunch" do have parents that do pretty well. Not all are SSI or government moneys. You would be surprised to see who actually gets these "free lunches".

  • Nancy Feb 3, 2011

    superman, please provide a list of things Mr. Barber has done in the past year to assist those he claims to support. Something not related to lawsuits and grand standing. Actual activities that supported minorities and I'm willing to see your support of him as based on something other than racism.