Local News

Goldsboro Board Responds To WRAL Report About Segregation In Schools

Posted March 22, 2004

— Goldsboro school leaders reacted to a WRAL News report that pointed out segregation in the schools. Board members met Monday and offered some suggestions on how to achieve more balance both in racial make-up and school test scores.

In the 1960s, Goldsboro High School was composed of white students because the school system practiced segregation. In 2004, it is composed of mostly black students.

"The real world is not of one race, so in that sense, some of the experiences are denied them because they are not in a diverse situation," Goldsboro High School principal Patricia Ann Burden said.

With the exception of about three-dozen students, the 2,500 who attend the six schools in the Goldsboro city limits are minorities. Students in the city schools are below the state average when it comes to passing end-of-grade tests, but they are making steady gains.

"There are a lot of good reasons for wanting to re-integrate the city of Goldsboro [schools], but the achievement of the students is not among them," said Craig McFadden, superintendent of accountability.

On Monday, Wayne County school board members debated how to solve the problem. Over the past decade, white students have transferred to county schools and left for private schools.

"If we could get them back, it would make a big difference, but I don't know how to get them back," school board member George Moye said.

"It's not just a social problem. It's not just an educational problem. It's a social problem here as well," school board member Rick Pridgen said.

Some blame the county's open-door transfer policy, while others blame the fact that the county has never redrawn its assignment lines.

"If I had the solution, you could call me Houdini. I really don't know. I don't think anybody does right now," said Pete Gurley, chairman of the school board.

Board members said they are willing to tighten the transfer policy and survey families who left about what would make them come back. One idea is to make classes 50/50 -- 50 percent white, 50 percent black.

The school board also discussed a $100 million bond issue Monday that would help build two new schools in the county. Some are concerned that would just further contribute to the segregation.

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