GOLDSBORO, N.C. — Like many urban areas, Goldsboro schools have experienced a phenomenon known as "white flight" -- white students leave city schools for county public schools or private schools. As a result, Goldsboro city schools are 100 percent black. Some community leaders think these schools are not getting the resources, and as a result their students are in crisis.
"We, in fact, 50 years after Brown versus the Board of Education, are living in a segregated school system," said the Rev. William Barber.
"We know that it is time for a big change here," said Sylvia Barnes, of the NAACP.
Members of the NAACP and a group called Concerned Clergy say segregation equals unequal education.
"What you're going to end up with if you're not careful is that Wayne County will be a donut and Goldsboro will be a hole," Barber said. "It's time for some action. It's time for some plans to be put in place, some concrete plans, some plans that will work."
The school board said some of what it is doing is working. In the past couple of years, some schools have doubled their end-of-grade test passing rate, but the NAACP said that is not good enough. It wants a magnet system to add diversity and resources to city schools.
"We believe if you put a very competent magnet school system in the city, it would, perhaps, foster voluntary desegregation," Barber said.
"We are not going to stop until we make sure every child in this county is getting a quality education," Barnes said.
Some school board members are skeptical that white families would buy into a magnet program. If the magnet program failed to attract white students, the school system would lose federal dollars.
The groups presented their proposal to the school board in February. The school board is also looking at its "open transfer policy," which allows students to leave city schools for county schools without a reason. Either way, the groups want to see change or they may file a federal civil rights complaint.