Local Politics

Perdue backs maintaining diversity in schools

Posted December 23, 2009

— As Wake County and other school districts across North Carolina shift away from busing students to achieve socio-economic diversity, Gov. Beverly Perdue and other officials fear the districts will become racially segregated.

"It's the most troublesome thing I think that's happened," Perdue said of the push toward neighborhood schools from Goldsboro to Charlotte.

Wake County Public School System Wake board wants less student busing

Mecklenburg County Commissioner Vilma Leake, a former teacher, said she believes Charlotte's schools are becoming re-segregated 10 years after court-ordered busing for racial integration was ended there.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People filed suit three weeks ago against Wayne County Schools, alleging the district has created "apartheid education" in its schools by its student assignment policies.

Perdue said neighborhood schools that are almost all-black or all-white won't provide all students with a quality education, saying schools in low-income areas will be at a significant disadvantage.

"Whether it's racially done or economically done, there has to be some kind of momentum to continue to have diversity in our schools," she said.

A new majority on the Wake County Board of Education has vowed to dismantle the district's policy of assigning students so that no school has more than 40 percent of its students receiving free or reduced-price lunches because they're from low-income families.

John Tedesco, one of the Wake school board members who favors the neighborhood schools model, said the group isn't against diversity. Current assignment policies only hide low-performing students, however, he said.

"Our system looks great. Our kids don't," Tedesco said.

"If we have 5 or 10 percent of the children shuffled out among resources in other parts of the county, where they're not getting the appropriate attention they need but we're meeting some arbitrary goals, then we're not serving those children well," he said. "We're losing them in exacerbated dropout rates (and) crime and violence rates. We have to begin to help these children."

Perdue acknowledged there's little she can do to support school diversity because student assignment decisions are up to locally elected school boards and superintendents.

"All that I can do is use the bully pulpit (to speak in favor of diversity)," she said. "I don't believe anyone benefits from a country or state where we write off a certain segment of the population."

Tedesco said the governor should use her bully pulpit to get more teachers in the classroom and more funding for schools. That is what's needed to help students in Wake County and across the state, he said.

51 Comments

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  • lkanzig Dec 30, 7:58 p.m.

    hasnt perdue done enough damage to this state and the schools? how about we seperate her from her title of govenor! can you say recall??????

  • pepmailnow Dec 24, 4:18 p.m.

    New school board member, John Tedesco, is correct when he recently was quoted as saying that “more teachers in the classroom and more funding for schools is what is needed” in Wake County. Unfortunately the new school board’s backers, including Art Pope and Robert Luddy are on record supporting fewer dollars for public education. Ranking 85th out of 100 counties in per pupil spending is not chintzy enough for the Americans for Prosperity who were called to rally in favor of the new school board majority in December. So before any more empty promises are made to parents regarding neighborhood schools, reducing year round options and expanded course offerings for everyone how about showing the voters the plan and the real costs to achieve easy sound bites?

  • Ladybug008 Dec 24, 12:01 p.m.

    The government has made it all too easy for people of all social classes not to be accountable for ANYTHING! People no longer want to be responsible for their actions - we can always blame it on 'anything' other than ourselves. Personal responsiblity is the key to most anything in life. 'Doing the right thing' is slowly becoming a lost art! Either we become self sufficient, & depend on ourselves or we as a nation will slowly implode.

  • delilahk2000 Dec 24, 10:50 a.m.

    SQUAWK82.........I COULD NOT HAVE SAID IT BETTER MYSELF. THE PARENTS WANT TO BLAME EVERYBODY ELSE FOR THEIR DOWNFALL AND LACK OF PARENTING

  • delilahk2000 Dec 24, 10:46 a.m.

    I AM TIRED OF THIS STUPID THINKING. A CHILD WILL ONLY GET A GOOD EDUCATION IF THEY ARE WILLING TO LEARN. IT WILL NOT MATTER IF IT IS ALL WHITE AR ALL BLACK SCHOOL. THE PARENTS OF THE KIDS JUST DO NOT CARE AS LONG AS THEY HAVE A FREE BABYSITTER FOR THEM. YOU CAN HAVE THE BEST TEACHER, BUT IF THE CHILD DOES NOT WANT IT AND THE PARENTS ARE NOT WILL ING TO DO THEIR PART, ALL THIS DOES NOT MATTER.

  • BraveHeart Dec 24, 10:33 a.m.

    My kid goes to a private school. Before she was in the hoke county school system where I went to school many years ago. There in hoke county is the worst school district I have ever been a part of...gangs....drugs....teachers are awful...I had to get a part time job just to put her in private school...Now her grades have improved...she is more confident in her abilities..I know everyone can't do what I did but you don't have to take it

  • MajorLeagueinfidel Dec 24, 10:21 a.m.

    Let's give up this social experiment on our children and do something that works.........

    Has this forced diversity/bussing improved our schools and test scores...drop out rates etc or just made people feel less guilty for being sucessful..........

  • I guess I will just type this Dec 24, 10:12 a.m.

    songdemon, you couldn't be racist/elitist could you? naaaa...

    I went to a private school growing up, went for free b/c I was an affiliated church member. You don't have to be rich to get a private education, but if that makes you feel special and more important than others so be it, as you (probably) sit on the couch and let your spouse make the money...

  • Tax Man Dec 24, 8:46 a.m.

    Vouchers would help as well - that way a poor family could opt in to a top notch private school or pick any public school. Many parochial schools would be a good fit for student needing more discipline and academics. Give the parents the choice - and cut back on unnecessary expenses such as top-heavy administration. The payroll in public schools should be at the schools not the admin buildings. Competitive salaries on a merit system would also help - you perform well, you get paid well, you do poorly you are fired! No unions allowed and no Tenure - hire at will just like everyone else.

  • songdemon Dec 24, 8:44 a.m.

    my kids are fine. They go to a really expensive private school where all the "others" cant afford to go!!!!!!!

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