Local News

Advocacy Group Supports Diversity in Wake Schools

Posted February 14, 2008

— An advocacy group is supporting a Wake County Public School System policy on diversity and socio-economic balance in schools.

The school board has come under criticism for its decision to reassign more than 6,000 students, about 20 percent of whom school leaders say are being moved to balance diversity.

In a report released Thursday, the Wake Education Partnership says diverse student populations can have a positive impact on the academic success of children by redistributing students who are eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunches and who perform below grade level on end-of-grade tests

“Wake Education Partnership believes that maintaining socio-economic balance in schools is fundamental to maintaining high standards and quality in all our schools,” said Dr. Ann Denlinger, its president. “All children deserve excellence in public education, and socio-economic balance helps ensure that.” Denlinger is former Durham Public Schools superintendent.

Wake Education Partnership stopped short of saying that reassignment is necessarily the best way to achieve diversity.

"And then, I think what you then start thinking about: Is reassignment the right way or are there other ways to do the same thing better to accomplish diversity in schools?" said Jay Silver, the partnership's president-elect. "It just gives you just a little bit different perspective."

Many parents say they support diversity but don't support busing students to schools that are sometimes more than a half-hour ride away.

"I think it's a numbers game, and it makes all our schools look like their scores are good, but how are we impacting the individual child? said parent Patricia Danielsen.

"I actually like neighborhood schools," she continued. "I think the braver thing to do is where neighborhoods are not doing well – go in there and put (in) the resources to make those schools better."

Wake Education Partnership say studies nationwide show children who attend socio-economically balanced schools, as a whole, achieve at higher levels.

The group has a historical commitment to calling on the Wake County Public School System to maintain balance in its schools.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • buckeye1 Feb 20, 2008

    I am all for trying to balance schools, but the system has gone about this the wrong way for way to many years and it really does not work. I am against home schooling as I already pay for my childs education for a system that needs to be fixed. If they just spent the $ used in bussing students into their actual job of EDUCATING them then we ALL might be a little happier. I believe that we, the parents, need to figure out a way to demonstrate that WE have had enough of the way our children are neglected, the way they waste tax $, and the way that the WCPSS is broken. I propose a boycott of this reassignment. Send your child to their local school. Keep doing this, they cannot deny them education. Maybe they will get this message as they continue to run empty busses. This may not be the best solution but it is sure to get some real attention and something has got to be done. I am open to any other suggestions that will get some results.

  • Not_So_Dumb Feb 15, 2008

    Garnerwolf1 - I am not unhappy with my district rep. I am unhappy with the other 8 that I cannot vote for and cannot run against yet get to decide what happens to my kids!

  • whatelseisnew Feb 15, 2008

    For those of you talking about equal money. Each student comes with the same amount of money regardless of which school they sit in. But lets continue on the path of letting this system self-destruct. Someday enough of you will wake up and demand better. I for one hope Cary is able to get their own district. The Wake system is broken, it is abusing the students and it is in denial about just how bad things are because these people are controlling a lot of money and that is what they care about.

  • Garnerwolf1 Feb 15, 2008

    As I've said before, most of the school board members had NO competition in the most recent elections. If you want change, you may want to consider doing something more than posting comments.

  • JuanGrande v3.0 Feb 15, 2008

    So what about "self-imposed" seperate but equal? Black kids tend to hang out with black kids, Mexican with Mexican, Salvadoran with Salvadoran. When I was in college, rarely did the different ethnic groups mic and this was at a major state university with +35,000 students. Diversity is fine and never a bad thing but it can not be forced on those who do not want it or care much for it.

  • enigma1469 Feb 15, 2008

    Bussing creates racism. If you make a kid leave his friend to go to a lower preforming school what does that teach them.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Feb 15, 2008

    Kevin, I'm too young to remember, but my understanding is that "seperate but equal" was tried and failed. It was a racist policy theat bred distrust and was not equal. I'd rather them pump the resources to where students are struggling. Moving money is easier than moving students.

    I'm completely against bussing kids all over town, but as long as their not passing other schools on the way, I'm okay with a child being sent 10 minutes one way when another school is only 5 the other to help diversity. Even then they shouldn't shake it up every year. When a new school opens, it should have been built near other crowded schools, pull some from the schools in each direction.

  • voiceforequity Feb 15, 2008

    My problem with WEP's article is that it looks at school scores as a whole, which WCPSS does also. If you'd like to see what happens to scores for Economically Disadvantaged and Non-ED students as F&R goes up, then check out my blog www.voiceforequity.blogspot.com I am not against the diversity policy in whole, just the extreme busing of children when WCPSS can offer no proof that it is actually helping low income/low achievement students. Additionally, we have 20 schools that are over 50% F&R, yet few of them were included in the assignment plan. It was more about making sure that certain schools carried enough of the 'load' than it was about providing relief to high F&R schools. Are children really being helped by moving from a school that is 30% F&R to one that is 19% F&R? Is the gain worth an hour long bus ride each way?

  • Not_So_Dumb Feb 15, 2008

    KevinUNC97 - We have separate but equal now. The boundaries are just drawn, for the most part, along county lines rather than by municipality. But they are man-made boundaries like any other. The only validity in them is that they exist now, so provide comfort through familiarity. A system like Chapel Hill and Orange County seems to work just fine, why not here in Wake? If Cary wants its own school system, why not let them have it? In fact, their leaving WCPSS would be a far smaller blow than taking Chapel Hill out of the Orange County system.

    No one can argue that smaller districts is inherently wrong because they are the same in concept as what we have now - arbitrary lines. The alternative is a single US school district. Good luck with that.

  • amw1174 Feb 15, 2008

    this just burns me!!!! why aren't we doing THIS:

    "I actually like neighborhood schools," she continued. "I think the braver thing to do is where neighborhoods are not doing well – go in there and put (in) the resources to make those schools better."