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School reassignment foes, backers to come together

Two groups with opposite views on Wake County public schools’ reassignment policy plan to come together Thursday night to air their differences and hopefully find some common ground.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Two groups with opposite views on Wake County public schools’ reassignment policy plan to come together Thursday night to air their differences and, they hope, find some common ground.

The Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African-American Children supports the policy of busing students for diversity. The Wake Schools Community Alliance has a different view and wants to end busing for diversity in favor of community schools.

Coalition officials said they want to talk about the history behind the policy, so they invited the Alliance to a forum at 6:30 p.m. at Martin Street Baptist Church, 1001 E. Martin St. in Raleigh.

The alliance accepted the invitation, and the forum is open to the public.

Educator Dudley Flood will moderate the forum, called “Does Diversity Impact Achievement in WCPSS (Wake County Public School System).” He helped school districts nationwide draft integration plans.

“I worked in school desegregation for about 40 years,” he said. “We learn more from each other than we do from any teacher. There is no one teacher capable of giving any one child all that he or she will ever need in their life, and that's why you want to create the richest environment that you can for every child."

State Sen. Vernon Malone was school board chairman when Raleigh city schools and Wake County schools merged in 1976. He plans to speak at the forum.

“During those days, the city system was losing students to the county system, and the students that we were losing were, for the most part, white affluent students,” Malone said. “And the Raleigh public school system, as it was known then, was becoming an inner-city urban system."

Malone said he hopes the Wake County Board of Education stays the course.

"I am totally committed to continuing this diversity effort, and to regress from that now, I think, would be moving in the wrong direction,” he said.

The alliance declined WRAL's request for an interview.

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