GOLDSBORO, N.C. — In the past few years, white students have transferred to more diverse public schools in the county. Other parents have chosen to put their children in private schools. Right now, no one has any solid answers about how to stop the migration.
Eastern Wayne High School is a melting pot with almost half of its students are white and the other half are minorities.
"The purpose here is to prepare students to leave school. When they leave school, they'll be with all group, all populations. We want them to be prepared for that," said Robert Everson, assistant principal of Eastern Wayne High School.
Eastern Wayne High School is a big contrast to schools in the Goldsboro city limits, which are almost 100 percent black. Every year, white and black students transfer to Eastern Wayne from city schools for a variety of reasons.
"In Goldsboro, my grades were down and there was violence over there. My mother didn't like it, so I came here," transfer student Sha'veh Davis said.
"I had better opportunities over here. There were more classes available, more clubs, particularly the Honor society," transfer student Sherrlyn Davenport said.
Some students have left city schools for private school. About 3,500 students, about 16 percent of the school-age population in Wayne County, attends private school. Private school administrators said they offer students safer environment, smaller classes and a broader curriculum.
"We don't teach towards a test. We have an entirely different agenda in front of us," said Eddie Radford, Wayne County Day headmaster. "In public school, they have the end-of-grade test. They put a lot of value on these."
"The experience here, the expectations here are greater. They rise to the challenge," teacher/parent Marsha Compton said.
The Wayne County school board plans to hold a special meeting Wednesday night to discuss their open-door transfer policy. They will look at ways to tighten the policy.
The racial make-up of North Carolina schools has changed a little in the last two decades. In the 1983-84 school year, 30 percent of students were black, 67 percent of students were white and less than 1/2 percent were Latino. In the 2002-2003 school year, 31 percent of students were black, 59 percent white and about 6 percent Latino.