NAACP holds meeting over Wake schools diversity policy

Posted May 17, 2010 11:49 p.m. EDT
Updated May 18, 2010 4:40 p.m. EDT

— The North Carolina NAACP held a public meeting Monday evening to discuss the efforts by the Wake County Board of Education to move away from its diversity policy.

The meeting at the Martin Street Baptist Church, 1001 E. Martin St., Raleigh, came on the 56th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional.

The NAACP has been an outspoken critic of the Wake school board's idea for community-based schools, saying it is a "racially discriminatory policy" that will segregate poor students and keep them from receiving the same quality of education as more advantaged students. The group has threatened legal action against the school system.

During the March 23 meeting, the board voted 5-4 to move forward with developing a student assignment policy in which children would go to schools closer to their homes. The model means moving away from a decade-old policy of busing students so schools across the district are diverse.

Proponents of the community-based assignment model say that parents will have more choices and more involvement in their children's schooling, while opponents say the plan will create pockets of poverty and re-segregate the school system.

The debate has been emotional and drew large numbers of people for and against the idea at recent school board meetings.

The board voted May 4 on the actual policy and is expected to take a final vote at its Tuesday meeting. Several groups are urging people to attend the meeting in large numbers to demonstrate their opposition to the policy.