State News

NAACP holds education conference in Raleigh

Posted December 1, 2010 5:14 p.m. EST
Updated December 2, 2010 7:37 a.m. EST

— The NAACP is bringing a national conference on education to Raleigh, where a debate over school diversity remains a contentious issue.

The civil rights group said Wednesday that its annual Daisy Bates Education summit will be held from Thursday through Saturday. Bates, the conference's namesake, helped integrate schools in Little Rock, Arkansas, where Army soldiers escorted black high school students.

The conference will include representatives from 2,200 NAACP branches and units from around the country. NAACP national president Benjamin Jealous will deliver an address Friday.

Wake County has been near the center of national debates about racial and ethnic diversity in schools. This year, a majority of school board members, elected in 2009, voted to end the county's decade-old policy of busing for socioeconomic diversity.

The NAACP has led protests and filed federal complaints over that decision.

"This country deserves a plan that works," Jealous said at an NAACP conference in Raleigh in September. "It has one. Let's get back to that, so we can tackle the tough issues that still need to be dealt with."

Wake school board members who support changing the policy say that their goal is to have students attend schools closer to where they live and that the shift has nothing to do with resegregation.