Church group stands with opponents of Wake schools change

Posted June 18, 2010 3:30 p.m. EDT

— A group of Episcopal churches in the eastern part of the state pledged support Friday to the protest efforts of the state NAACP in opposing a change in the Wake County Public School System.

Bishop Richard K. Thompson, presiding prelate of The Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District of The A.M.E. Zion Church, said his organization of 400 churches opposes any action that would segregate schools.

The Wake County Board of Education voted in March to end the district's policy of busing students to assure socio-economic diversity within individual schools in favor of a policy that would assign students to schools closer to home.

Advocates believe that community-based schools will give parents more control over their children's schooling and opportunities to be more involved.

Opponents of the change, led by Rev. William Barber, president of the state chapter of the NAACP, claim the move will lead to re-segregation in the school system, create pockets of poverty, and result in low-performing schools and high teacher turnover.