The Board of Education- The Battle For Wake’s Schools

The Board of Education- The Battle For Wake’s Schools

Wake Up

September, 21, 2009, by Khaner

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Forum held for Wake Board of Education candidates – diversity policy takes center stage

Candidates running for Wake Co. Board of Education met Wednesday night for a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Wake County. Of the nine-member board, four seats are up for election this year and only one incumbent, Horace Tart, District 2, is running for re-election.

At issue was Wake County’s 2009-12 School Reassignment Proposal and subsequently the county’s school diversity policy.

The massive 25,000 student reassignment plan the school board issued in early 2009 caused a wave of protest from parents and local groups such as Take Wake Schools Back, Wake Schools Community Alliance (WSCA) and the Wake GOP. Unified on their opposition in having more students reassigned and bused to new, different schools, a concerted effort was undertaken to find, encourage and promote candidates backing a ‘local school’ option.

Proponents of ‘neighborhood schools’, ‘community schools’ or any other PC term designed to elicit the strongest response from supporters and those on the fence – are pushing for the option to send their children to the public school of their choosing, namely the closest school near their neighborhood. It boils down to this: well-to-do neighborhoods go to one school and poorer neighborhoods go to their own.

The only problem with that is the county’s school diversity policy.

As the nation’s 23rd largest school district and touted as one of the better school systems in the country – Wake’s commitment to socioeconomic diversity in the schools has long been viewed as critical to our success.

Neighborhood school supporters (namely those endorsed by the WSCA and Wake GOP) are supporting measures to do away with Wake’s diversity policy, constituting a major overhaul of the way our schools operate. If their campaigns are successful, the board would have a Republican majority and the needed votes for neighborhood schools.

If allowed, opponents to the neighborhood option fear Wake’s schools would become largely segregated, driving away teachers from those districts and driving down attendance, grades and test scores – all of which studies show occur when a school goes over 40% of students on free and reduced lunches.

Opponents to neighborhood schools (District 1 candidate Rita Rakestraw, District 2 incumbent Horace Tart, District 7 Karen Simon and District 9 Lois Nixon) however are doing their best to make sure that doesn’t happen.

As stated by Lois Nixon, “What we have now is a great system. We don’t need to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.”

School board elections are in two and a half weeks on Tuesday, October 6.

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ElectionsRecreationSchool BoardWake County Board of EducationHorace TartRita RakestrawKaren SimonLois Nixon


  • OCOG
    09/21 11:35 AM

    “If allowed, opponents to the neighborhood option fear Wake’s schools would become largely segregated, driving away teachers from those districts and driving down attendance, grades and test scores – all of which studies show occur when a school goes over 40% of students on free and reduced lunches.”

    Are there any resources that could verify this claim and substantiate the fears of neighborhood school opponents?

  • Y&C
    09/21 11:53 AM

    (above image caption) “We need to bring God BACK into our schools, people”

  • gd
    09/21 01:24 PM

    we need GOD out of our vocabulary.

  • Jerimee
    09/21 02:37 PM

    Q: Are there any resources that could verify this claim and substantiate the fears of neighborhood school opponents?

    A: Mecklenburg schools

    This isn’t a “claim.” It is the central problem facing many troubled school districts across the country.  Wake County has adopted responsible policies to deal with this problem.  Those who would take our schools back to segregation ignore the community benefits gained by an equal opportunity school system.

  • CW
    09/21 10:48 PM

    While I’m liberal enough to see the value of the diversity rule currently in place, I’ve apparently got about 10% conservatism in me somewhere, because I never fail to grumble as I watch the parents drive all the kids out of the neighborhood each morning.  There is a school literally at the entrance of our subdivision, yet the kids are bussed and driven 7 miles away to a trailer-ville school.  How am I supposed to reminisce about my glory days walking to and from school when I’m distracted by the long line of SUVs?  I’ll still vote for the diversity policy, but I’ll be grumbling the whole time.

  • RaleighRob
    09/22 05:19 AM

    ^Agree with CW.  I too grumble but I surely don’t want a segregated system either.  Last thing we need to do is go back to the 1960s.

  • OCOG
    09/22 06:39 AM

    Is Meck’s diversity policy the only/main issue that negatively affects their county’s education system? How much are they affected by it? I ask because I don’t know much about Mecklenburg county.

    As for Wake County and across the country, are there any references you can point to? I called the above quotation a “claim” because no citation was offered when it mentioned the 40% statistic. 

    With regard to these “studies”, if Wake adopted a different policy regarding “diversity”, how many of its schools would reach the 40% figure for students on school lunches?

  • Matthew Brown
    09/22 09:10 AM

    If Wake abandoned its diversity policy, some of its schools would be at 60% underprivileged immediately, and they would be at 90% within a few years.

    This is not idle speculation. This is what has happened in most cities in the eastern U.S.

    Charlotte Mecklenburg abandoned its diversity policy a just a few years ago, and already has failing schools. But it is just in a transitional state. For the end state, look at Richmond, Baltimore, Birmingham, Harrisburg, Savannah, Cincinnati, Syracuse, Petersburg, Rocky Mount, Philadelphia, Jackson, New Orleans, Atlanta, Columbia, Trenton, St. Louis, Montgomery, etc., etc. In these metropolises, of various sizes and in various regions, families can only live in certain small areas and have access to decent schools. In most parts of these cities, the public schools are dysfunctional, with low achievement, lack of discipline, and beaten-down faculty.

    We don’t have that situation anywhere in Wake County. All of our schools are at least “pretty good.” They are safe, clean, with good teachers and good administrations. A kid can get a good education at any school in the County. That’s a major reason for our strong work force, and a major reason we can attract quality business here.

    This is by far the most important election we have faced in Wake County in the last 30 years.

  • McG
    09/24 07:17 AM

    where was this meeting held? WHY is there a cross on the wall?!

  • RaleighRob
    09/24 10:48 AM

    ^It was held at the Lutheran church on the corner of Clark and Brooks.
    Not a religious event…they just used the building.

  • Raleighcrew
    10/06 01:33 PM

    If grown folk cannot talk to each other in a civil manner even when they disagree, then how do we expect our children to respond?  Everyone must realize that we all have an opinion and it may not always be the right answer, but it is our opinion. My response to some of these folk and the Board of Education is this:  There does need to be some GOD brought back into people’s lives period.  You cannot run a school system the way these kids are now.  Not just African American children, but all children.  There are very few morals left out here and the kids are running wild.  I sat in as a volunteer in my son’s 1st grade class and the teacher spent 20 minutes of the class time asking them to sit down and stop talking.  That is ridiculous.  The parents tend to get an attitude when someone disciplines their child when they can’t or don’t have any control over them at home.  The GROWN folk have lost their minds too.  The over 40% reduced or free lunch thing, well the Government needs to put money into these schools and bring them and the teachers up to par.  Busing them accross town solves how much of the low test score problems??  When they go home they have the same environmental issues going on at home and in their community.  You can’t take part of the children and educate them and leave the others behind.  We need to care as much about our children as we do about our animals.  This world has it backwards.

  • McG
    10/06 01:40 PM

    god is not necessary for people to be good, respectful, honest, kind, etc.
    some amount of parenting, however, is helpful.

    but that is not what this article is about.

  • Raleighcrew
    10/06 01:42 PM

    Why are people so afraid of GOD.  You know if you don’t want to go to church, or believe, then you do so, but our children are lost, let us not sit here and act as though we are blind to these facts.  Wake County has more jobs to offer and some say clean and better schools compared to Mecklenburg County, and I do agree for the most part, but I do not agree with the diversity policy completely.  There has to be something done to fund these poor areas better.  Our tax dollars, along with the so called lottery and all of the fund raisers we do in the schools take care of what??  I wonder because Wake County is always in need of money.  Schools are too political for one thing.  So, since the Government is involved in the school system, then they need to do something about the poor neighborhoods to help raise their test scores and hold these parents accountable for something.  I know they won’t be successful with all parents, but some will change.  Just like we have to get to the children, we have to get to the parents.  The environment they live in plays a big role in a lot of the problems they have learning.  WAKE UP WAKE COUNTY AND AMERICA.  Everyone go watch Precious on 11/6/09.  Read, watch CNN Black in America.  Get out of your own little comfort zones here and really see what is going on.

  • Raleighcrew
    10/20 12:01 PM

    Thank you for your comment or should I say your opinion as mine is just that as well McG. GOD seems to scare most of us anyways and I realize that you say that is not what this is about.  Most children in this day and time don’t even receive good parenting skills or some folk think that there parenting skills are great and they actually are not.  So, again, all of these comments are a matter of opinion.  Yours is exactly how I choose to take this.  Let us see what YOU, ME,  and others do with our opinions is really what we all need to see.  Just like people having abortions and folk blowing up the clinics because they don’t deem it right to kill a child, but what are they doing about adopting any of the children that people give up for adoption or foster care??? Most of them are doing nothing but killing HUMAN BEINGS themselves and voicing their opinions.  So, I will keep GOD in my opinion and make sure my child is on the right track.  Thank you

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