Wake County School Board Reinstates Segregated Schooling, I Mean Busing

Wake County School Board Reinstates Segregated Schooling, I Mean Busing

March, 03, 2010 , by Jedidiah

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Photos is from The University of South Alabama Archives, via PBS

Despite the fact that Raleigh is seen as one of the most progressive cities in the country, the rest of Wake County seems to not share this 21st century attitude. In a 5-4 vote, which is a result of the most recent Wake County School Board Elections, the Wake County School Board decided to end busing for diversity in the school system. This will create neighborhood schools which will go against using a diversity policy that has been in place since the 1970s. It would seem that overall our city is moving forward, but it’s times like these that this progressive nature comes into question.

Wake County superintendent Del Burns had already cast his vote in February with his resignation over the issue and now the school board, as expected when the election votes were cast back in October of 2009, has followed through with their promise. Wake County just stepped backwards a few decades and sadly it may take us a few decades to right this wrong.

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

Ending busing for diversity (aka reinstating school segregation):

For:

Ron Margiotta
Debra Goldman
John Tedesco
Deborah Prickett
Chris Malone

Against:

Keith Sutton
Kevin Hill
Carolyn Morrison
Anne McLaurin

As outlined back in October:

The biggest news of the day: the clean sweep by the Republican backed school board candidates who have vowed to end diversity based busing.  Chris Malone, Deborah Prickett, and Debra Goldman were all elected by a highly vocal and organized group of parents. John Tedesco defeated incumbent Horace Tart, but may have to have a runoff next month against Cathy Truitt who came in second in November. Truitt is also a neighborhood school supporter. The winning candidates and their supporters believe the existing system of bus based blending decreases the quality of their schools by bringing poorer students to the schools in an effort to have uniform ratios of free and reduced lunch students across the system.

 

Bob Geary over at the INDY has more.








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  • Mike
    03/03 10:36 PM

    If re-segregation means my kid does not have to ride a bus for 2+ hours a day, when there is a school less than 5 miles from our home, then I’m all for it. I guess you can say I’m not “progressive”. Give me a break.

  • Aaron
    03/03 10:37 PM

    This entire mess is just making charter schools like Exploris, Quest, and Raleigh Charter more relevant. Schools keep getting worse around Wake County and these schools keep winning recognition. I’m sorry but if parents really cared about their children getting a great education they’d figure out a way to get their children into these schools and/or give them more money to reinforce growth. I was lucky enough to have parents who fought for my future, and I’m smarter because of it.

    While I agree with the Indy Week article, I hate seeing pictures of kids holding protest signs, not sure if they realize what they’re arguing against. Also I hate to be a jerk but I don’t see a single person that isn’t white in that protest picture. This is a civil rights issue, and if the NAACP isn’t down for joining in protests that aren’t normally organized by them and putting together information for parents in the low-income neighborhoods I don’t see how any progress is going to be made. These “progressive” parents have got to get their act together and stand up for their community, and more importantly their kids.

    I also miss Jim Hunt. Growing up in his administration provided me with a fantastic education in Raleigh’s magnet schools. All of the kids I know who have younger brothers and sisters attending them now have told me things are getting bad.

    TL;DR?  Parents, give more money to charter schools. And organize, organize, organize.

  • JohnBrownsBooty
    03/03 11:02 PM

    it’s not that the new board is ‘segregationist’. it’s that they realize that segregation will likely be a consequence of their intended actions, and they just don’t really care.

    This new majority, with their childish tactics and secret ‘procedures’ were elected based on the priorities of convenience (for a vocal minority of parents) and political power for local Republicans, who financed, and continue to pull strings for, the entire new majority. Not a word there about educational quality.

    I wonder if Art Pope’s tombstone yet reads “I helped to ruin the Wake Schools all by myself, just so my taxes could be lower”. Yay.

    It’s one thing to disagree, but it’s another to be an asshole like John Tedesco about it. Grow up.

    Who’s ultimately to blame for the fiasco that is this new board majority, more than whiny suburban nimbys or a conservative cabal? The 89% of voters who stayed home in October and were too lazy to stop this takeover of our schools by anti-public school cabals.

  • JeffS
    03/03 11:13 PM

    I wish we’d stop using the term busing.

    What percentage of the people who voted for these idiots actually put their kids on a bus? Unless you count their Sububexcursiondetion2.

    The party line surrounding the traditional/year round issue is that they’re providing choice—yet they convert the year round schools where the majority desire it. Where is the choice for that majority?

  • mrsclare
    03/03 11:22 PM

    I totally agree that an 11 year old should not have to get up at 5am to get to school by 8am. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
    I don’t think neighborhood schools are a bad idea but let’s keep in mind that we have not been building schools with this in mind for 30 years. So there isn’t actually a nice distribution of schools across the county and across neighborhood. 
    You don’t want your kid to ride a bus for 2hrs? How about going to classes in trailers and eating lunch in the gym? Because without a REAL plan and the proper time taken by experts to re-examine busing (and it does need re-examining) we’re going to have some schools hundreds under capacity while others will be hundreds over and others will close altogether. That’s right, we’ll have over crowding AND closed schools. That’s not politicking, that’s educational suicide.

  • RyanC
    03/03 11:42 PM

    I’m sorry, but if my family were to move into an area for it’s schools, then the school board told me that my child was forced to go to another school, this would seriously make me mad. This has nothing to do with the race issue as I am all for diversification…

    It’s my belief that it’s just not worth making kids stand at the bus stop at 6AM to get bused all over the city, while wasting gas, just to add a few majorities and minorities here and there. Most kids segregate themselves at school anyway. When I was in school, most black kids ate lunch and hung out with black kids. Most white kids ate lunch and hung out with white kids. Same went for all the groups-not just race-including jocks, thespians, musicians, dorks and the popular kids. People hang with similar people. This isn’t saying white kids didn’t have black friends or vice versa.

    Again, I’m not promoting segregation, but it seems much easier for people to move into a specific area to attend a specific school than to rearrange an entire county just to balance just a few kids here and there.

    If they are concerned with select neighborhoods and schools getting better education or better teachers, why don’t they just throw all the teachers and funding into a random lottery-type system. This would assign all the teachers a random school. This way not all the best teachers will go to one school.

    I don’t know… just my thoughts.

  • Hank
    03/04 12:07 AM

    Nothing is too soft for your face
    Nothing is too rich for your taste
    All your friends they are so fair
    hair is clean and minds so clear
    You come from the purest lines
    cut from cloth by gods design
    Protect you from the foreign faces
    My precious golden child


    We know what is best for our own
    School you in the neighbor hood
    Do not go too far from home
    Mixing culture corrupts the good
    Jesus keeps you in his graces
    You cannot ride the bus too long
    Protect you from the foreign faces
    My precious golden child

    We have built a better wall
    Keep them all at the gates
    Caste system education
    We bore the chosen ones
    We will keep them at the gates
    Let them suffer
    Let them eat cake.
    We bore the chosen one.

    We’ll keep them at the gates

  • Kevin
    03/04 01:03 AM

    @RyanC

    There’s a big difference between the poor kids and the rich kids creating cliques in school.  When a school is homogenized, you’re creating a disproportionate number of disadvantaged students into a single school.  It becomes unmanageable for the teachers, administration, and the better half of the students. 

    As far as putting teachers into a lottery, that’d be a nightmare for teacher retention.  They suffer enough, the last thing they need is to be jerked around about where they need to show up for work.

    Most people do not believe the school board is trying to segregate kids.  But what most people do think is that segregation will be a consequence of the board’s actions, and the board just doesn’t care. 

    They put out a survey about year-round schools and most parents (by a wide margin) said they like it as is.  Where was the survey for this action?

    @Jeffs.  You’re dead on.  Most of these people are all full of it.  Bus ridership is low, and the traffic in front of the schools is a mess.  No one (at least not white/middle class) is putting their kid on a bus.

    Someone should post diversity busing on whitewhine.com

  • Dan from Detroit
    03/04 03:49 AM

    So wait - students will actually have to go to school near where they live?  Oh the humanity!  What’s the point of buying a home in a nice area with good schools if your kid is going to be sent across town?  Mike and RyanC are right on.  Busing certainly contributed to the failure of my hometown as it was an easy out to the school boards terrorized by the late 60’s race riots.

  • Rex
    03/04 07:12 AM

    “I perceive two things in [Wake County] of the most fearful omen: ignorance of theological truth, and a readiness to pride themselves in and boast of it.”

    Let’s all see this is as sad prophesy - years from now, 10-15 perhaps, citizens will call for the shut-down of two county schools whose graduation numbers >40%. “Fire the principal, fire the staff and faculty,” because that’s they are the only reasons schools fail. Who’s to blame - because the school’s diversity was all but eradicated by a highly vocal minority who couldn’t understand that this is a SYSTEM, not based on individuals or even single neighborhoods, but on a collective whole of the county community and a vision for where this community needs to be in 20-30 years time.

  • Rusty
    03/04 07:57 AM

    I put my white student on the bus every morning at 6:45 so she can start school before 8:00…

    But the board’s biggest problem in this situation seems to be a combination of unwillingness to listen to their constituents, and a blatant disregard for professionalism in this process.

    The board chairman openly stated on the evening news last night that he flat out doesn’t have any respect for ‘certain members’ of his board.

    That kind of callous attitude has nothing to do with improving education for students like mine, let alone the thousands of students who don’t happen to live as close to great schools as we do. The implementation of this policy, if not done very cautiously, with proper planning, will be the most disruptive thing to happen in the county schools since its inception in 1976.

  • Bull City Rising
    03/04 08:36 AM

    The precept in this argument I’m most tired of hearing belongs to RyanC: “I’m sorry, but if my family were to move into an area for it’s schools, then the school board told me that my child was forced to go to another school, this would seriously make me mad.”

    Ryan: Sorry, but Wake Couny isn’t Long Island or Boston. You don’t get to move to a “nice” town and get to send your kids to a “nice” school with other “nice” kids knowing they’ll get a better education than those elsewhere in the county.

    WCPSS is funded on COUNTY taxes and allocations are even across the system.

    More to the point, I as a married, no-kids taxpayer fully support paying for strong public schools.  I care because that means that kids get good educations, which brings more jobs to town, and which means we have more tax-paying citizens and fewer ending up in the (expensive) criminal justice system or on social services assistance.

    I do not shed one tiny tear for the resident bent on moving to a “nice” town like Apex or Cary who whinges about why their little sweetie should go to a “nice” neighborhood school with all the electives and AP classes they can wan’t.  I do not care about them because I care about public school being good for ALL kids, and if it has to bias one way or another, it should be in favor of creating better schools for those who lack parental or financial resources to otherwise pay for a great education for their kids.

    The Apex or Cary parents can darn well send their kids to private schools for all I care.  I don’t pay taxes so that some kids get a great education and some kids get a lousy education.  I pay taxes for society’s good.

    Odd, that so many conservatives opposed to “big gummint” spending don’t mind wanting “their” tax dollars to go to “their” neighborhood schools.

    PS—as a Durham resident, I’ve envied Wake for its school system. Durham hasn’t had the guts to tackle these issues. A neighborhood listserv recently had a parent freaking out because their kid didn’t get into the magnet school via lottery, and the base school they’re assigned to is 95%+ F&R lunch and has an awful rep because good teachers don’t want to teach there. Wake County—welcome to your future. You just voted it in in the form of Ron “If NJ Was So Great Why Leave?” Margiotta.

  • tito
    03/04 09:12 AM

    @bull city - why not just make the shitty schools better? there seems to be an equally racist idea pervading this argument that schools in black neighborhoods are somehow automatically the bad schools. if i move into a neighborhood that meets the needs of my family then i’d like my kid to go to school as near that neighborhood as possible. the argument that it’s not fair that some other neighborhood’s kids have to go to a bad school makes even less sense when your solution is to make my kid go to it.

    again, why not spend more effort making the bad schools not suck?

  • tito
    03/04 09:20 AM

    also, mostly rhetorical, but how many of the folks outraged over the possibility of less racial integration have racially integrated their group of friends?...you know, the group of people who come to your house on the weekends, who your kids see regularly and form friendships with (and with their kids) and thus have a well-formed sense of racial balance without needing to send kids to school based on the color of their skin because they’re so concerned that their kid has a latino classmate in social studies because he might be warped without it. give me a break.

  • Kate
    03/04 09:24 AM

    Boo hoo, I had to ride the bus an hour to school each way when I was growing up (because I lived in Middle of Nowhere, N.C.) and it didn’t kill me.  Pampered city kids and their pampered parents whining….get off my lawn!!

  • RaleighRob
    03/04 09:25 AM

    People should have moved here knowing it was a county-based system (since the 70s, mind you) and dealt with it.  Don’t like it, don’t move here.  Instead they whined and whined about having to send their precious angels to schools with scary poor nonwhites.  Boo hoo.  Now the whole system is going to crash into a bunch of small dysfunctional mini-districts that are either wealthy or poor with nothing in the middle.  As a Wake Taxpayer, this pisses me off to no end—-ruining a perfectly good system that only needed some minor tweaking.  As another poster said: throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

    Someone once said something to me that’s so true—-Raleigh for all its merits and progress, will always have the misfortune of being in Wake County.  So true.

  • rl
    03/04 09:29 AM

    Once again this area has failed. Not passing the public safety building was silly enough but now this is an even more serious issue. Some of you up here are RACIST AS hell, either that or just care and dont see the big picture as a whole. To the clown who says they didnt see any white people protesting you are a shithead or just plain retarded. The march this past weekend had plenty whites out there to protest the new policy and there are plenty of whites, blacks, hispanics, and other races who are behind this movement. Me myself im all for it. The wake county school system will go to hell with the rest of the cities’ school systems. When are people gonna realize that the system will not be balanced at all if you put all whites in a school and then all blacks and hispanics in another? The funds will not be distributed equally ultimately leaving the whole quality of the system flawed and not up to par. You cant have some schools performing well and others not it just will not work correct. The school system in richmond, my home town is terrible!! It is like that because of the very policy that you people here have enabled. My thing also is how can the so called Smart people around here be so selfish to let this happen i mean is it that serious of a problem to get your kid bussed a few extra miles so that he or she can learn to interact with other cultures and races, that itself is education you know? Who wants to go to a school with all whites or all blacks that would just be right back to the way it was and YES this does have alot to do with civil rights. So many blacks and whites faought in the 60’s to get things equal and now it has been destroyed. If they were as selfish then as you guys are now nothing would have changed over the years. The fact is blacks usually dont get quality schools as whites do in their neighborhoods. Alot of the teachers who come into the schools dont wanna go to the schools and teach because they fear they wont be successful which is bullshit. The whole point of the diversity is so that everyone has a chance to succeed. I know about all of these issues because richmond is a predominately black city and i’ve seen how they bus all the black kids to the inner schools and the whites go to the suburbs schools. Thats what will happen here and you all will be sorry when wake county starts losing its credibility as one of the countries best school systems. Most of you here are spoiled anyway with cary and apex thinking they are the pedestal of wake county. I am part of the Movement to keep the diversity in wake county and i am WHITE, YES WHITE!

  • gd
    03/04 09:34 AM

    Time to move before property values fall.

  • joe
    03/04 09:43 AM

    Mike,

    You’re a jackass.

    Go back to your boring ass, cookie-cutter, bland, cul-de-sac with your matching mailboxes.

    Enjoy that life filled with “sameness”.

  • revolu
    03/04 09:48 AM

    What was broken in the first place?

    Besides Mike’s car.

  • Little Timmy
    03/04 10:05 AM

    I hope the NAACP sues Deborah Prickett into abject poverty.  Let’s see how she likes her kids’ new neighborhood school when she has to move her family into a double-wide on the outskirts of Fuquay.

  • Michael
    03/04 10:07 AM

    Since when did NR become so politically driven?  I’ve know for quite a while that it tends to lean to the left, but I was a little turned off on this article of how it took such a strong stance in what is “right” regarding this subject.  I look to NR to tell me about all the happenings around the city, but for a political stance.

    I am surprised with all the liberals around downtown that there hasn’t been a big fuss about all the gas that is wasted hauling these kids around town when there is a school across the street from their house.

    One of the rare common sense conservatives living among all the liberals in downtown.
    Michael

  • hank
    03/04 10:34 AM

    Common sense conservatives? Oxymoron.

  • OldTimer
    03/04 10:58 AM

    Little Timmy -

    if the NAACP sues Deborah Prickett, it will be in her capacity as a school board representative.  That means that the taxpayers (i.e., me and perhaps you) will pay for her defense. 

    Please oh please tell me that you (as well as so many of the clearly uneducated New Raleigh commenters) are not a product of the Wake County School System. New Raleigh seems to be trying very hard to prove that ignorance breeds intolerance (at least you are not likely to be as intolerant of anyone who is exactly like you as Joe above is, if that is saying anything nice.)

    For the record, I don’t support the change.

  • go home
    03/04 11:01 AM

    @ KATE:
    Take you ass back to the sticks if us pampered city folk arent tough enough for you. You’re in Raleigh, it’s our lawn you’re on now.

  • john
    03/04 11:01 AM

    Little Timmy, the local NAACP just wants to get more money from the National group, just follow the money.  And I’m offended about your remark about Fuquay.  I live in the outskirts of Fuquay and it is great out here!!!

  • tito
    03/04 11:38 AM

    and once again the argument turns into insults, name calling, and a lack of facts to back up assertions. i think who they’re being raised by is a bigger detriment to your children than who they sit next to in class.

  • Michael
    03/04 11:41 AM

    Comparing this to true segregation is a weak analogy and does the cause no good. Hopefully the true concern of the board members really is the unreasonable travel time. And for anyone crying ‘segregation,’ I would like to suggest that even though condescension is subtle racism it is still racism. The outrage seems to be that by ending the ‘diversity’ program we will be depriving the poor, ‘low income’ children of the immeasurable benefit of merely having rich, white kids in their midst.

    I think actually trying to improve opportunities and conditions in broader and more respectful ways would do a lot to make this a non-issue rather than pursuing the simplistic plan of just mixin’‘em up.

  • Mike
    03/04 11:46 AM

    @Joe and @revolu, I’m a hard working blue collar guys with 2 kids who do ride the bus to school. I don’t have an SUV, and I live in an old raleigh neighborhood that was established in the late 70’s. Funny how you stereotype people. Oh wait, its only the rich, white, republican folks who stereotype “those people”.

    So you can bitch and moan all you want. If you don’t like it, then have your say during the elections.

  • arthurb3
    03/04 11:50 AM

    I don’t have kids. Why are my taxes paying for any of this?

  • rl
    03/04 11:51 AM

    That is exactly what it is michael. Quit coming up with these bullshit excuses! Racism is racism. I dont see how you and the people who are supporting this keep coming up with reasons to prove that it isnt. Havent you ever heard of the unconscious racist? Thats when your racist and dont even see it, usually it has to be pointed out by someone else. You can be racist just by allowing racist acts to go on and not at least make a stand for it to stop it. Once again LIMITED RALEIGH THINKERS lol

  • 150
    03/04 11:58 AM

    I don’t support this change.  It’s a very important part of life education to be around people different from you.  If it means a longer bus ride, so be it.  I grew up in a suburb and went to a public high school (not in N.Carolina) with inner-city classmates who had to bus in.  I followed that with a trip to a private, conservative college with a homogenous student body, many of whom went to private, conservative, homogenous high schools.  The contrast in life view between my high school classmates and my college classmates was, and still is, immense, and it’s left a huge impression. 
    I will be sending my children to public schools, even if a “better” education is available, with the hope that they will experience the good and the bad of people different from them.  I will gladly put them on a bus, or drive them myself, to a school that isn’t the closest, for that cause.  Hopefully, the public school system will realize the value of diversity outweighs the benefit of a shorter bus ride.

  • joe
    03/04 12:14 PM

    Does anyone else besides me think Debra Prickett bears a striking resemblance to a certain Jim Henson character on the Muppet Show?

  • Bill M
    03/04 12:14 PM

    Mike, please provide a little more detail about how your children spend 2 hours per day on buses.

    Dan from Detroit, this change will make our school system more like the schools of Detroit, New Jersey and Philadelphia.  94/5% is happy with the current Wake Co. arrangement, is that the case in Detroit?

    Many of the people who were unhappy with the previous assignments are happy after living with them.  Their kids have settled into their schools and made friends.  Now it will all change again an just watch the rancor when they try start drawing new lines on the map.  And let’s be honest, they will have to raise taxes to accommodate everyone with their current plan.  The Year Round schedule wasn’t implemented for any other reason than to save money.

  • RachelCKincaid
    03/04 12:17 PM

    Jedidiah, fight another fight.  A mostly white or black bus is simply a snapshot of where parents feel most comfortable living.  Aren’t they segregating themselves?

    Neighborhood school busing isn’t reinstating segregation.  A bus will not pick up only white kids from a mixed neighborhood. 

    Let’s stick to the reporting and stop picking at old wounds.  Isn’t there a local band to review?

  • Ryal
    03/04 12:18 PM

    This issue will have critically important impact on the future branding of our local area - it could very well shape outside perspectives of Wake County and its current brand of being one of the nation’s top places to “live, work and play.”  We need to take into account the important role that education plays in attacking not only new families to this area, but also and maybe more importantly new business and top talent that are considering relocating to Raleigh. There are far-reaching implications at play here.  I suggest everyone do their best to get up to speed on this issue and get involved.

  • Bill M
    03/04 12:23 PM

    Rachel, that is hilarious for all the wrong reasons.  The current policy is based on economic diversity.  I’m sure many poor people would be most comfortable living in Wakefield, so why don’t they?

  • Michael
    03/04 12:23 PM

    rl, I’m afraid I don’t understand the point you’re trying to make. I think you are saying that I’m ‘racist’ because, according to you, I am in agreement with the school board’s decision to end the arbitrary assignment of students to ‘even out’ racial, economic and social markers.

    I’m not defending the school board’s decision or any of its members. I’m just pointing out that publishing a ham-handed, tendentious blog post about ‘segregation’ and touting something as vague and cozily-ambiguous as ‘diversity’ does nothing but invite nuance-impaired ranting about the same old tedious caricatures each side sees in the other.

  • Sarah
    03/04 12:48 PM

    I grew up attending school in the Wake County school system and really enjoyed it. I was excited that it was the type of school system my kids would someday be part of (part of what has kept me in the area). I am not excited anymore. I wonder if the magnet schools I was lucky enough to attend (over my very well-off neighborhood schools) will even exist when I have kids in school.

    There was a reason we were the envy of all the other school systems in the state. I am afraid no one will be looking up to us now.

  • Tengo
    03/04 12:59 PM

    Does anyone have a link laying out the budget cuts to schools in low income neighborhoods? 

    Obviously to reinstate segregation, this money will have to be taken from black/poor schools and given to the white/affluent schools. 

    Does anyone have a list of the black schools so we can start monitoring the reallocation of resources? 
     
    If the school board is serious about resegregation, I want to ensure that they are held accountable to that end.

  • JeffS
    03/04 01:09 PM

    I just wanted to remind everyone that the segregation is based on money, not race.

    Yes, that sometimes parallels the racial makeup, and yes, the NAACP has taken up the issue (which I don’t really think is a good thing), but the real issue here is income.


    What’s worse, is than in a time when there is a glimmer of inward development, infill and smart growth (only a glimmer), this comes about. I can hear the realtors now… “You have to move 20 miles outside of town so you can get the good schools”.

    ——————-

    Deborah P… who can’t respond to an email… enjoy it now, because I will personally make sure you don’t get reelected next term. Fat white women in big cookie-cutter houses will not continue to represent me.

  • JeffS
    03/04 01:12 PM

    Tengo, the lower income schools haven’t really been created yet. The new lines will need to be drawn, magnet schools dismanted, etc. etc. before we will really see how this plays out.

    The current numbers won’t be representative of what we see going forward, although I’m sure someone with more knowledge of the system can guesstimate where the problem areas will be.

  • Tengo
    03/04 01:43 PM

    JeffS:  As long as there are observable metrics, that is fine.  I would expect to see some changes in building codes to allow lower income schools to be built more cheaply than regular schools.  Failing that, we do need real assurances that the lower income schools will receive substantially less than regular schools. 
     
    There is also the problem of areas where there is not clear poor/affluent majority. Do we build one cut-rate school and one regular school?  The entire system breaks down if we allow socio-economic mixing just because we didn’t take the time to think through resegregation.
     
    We also need to prevent better trained teachers from working at the lower income schools, but this may require action by the North Carolina Association of Educators. 
     
    The School Board has their work cut out for them if the have gone through with reinstating segregation and have not done their homework. 
     
    I think there are already schools in clearly disadvantaged areas.  The board needs to act quickly to cut funding for the rest of the year in anticipation of this policy coming into full effect and to prove that this isn’t just a bunch of people throwing around terms like ‘segregation’.

  • A.Taxpayer
    03/04 01:43 PM

    Every child in Wake County has the RIGHT and is ENTITLED to an equal, quality public education. People in economically depressed areas pay taxes too and have a right to all the educational assets that their more fortunate counterparts have. The diversity policy was not only born out of combatting de facto segregation, but because the “separate but equal” school systems had immense educational disparities. These disparties still exist in many school systems across the United States where economic diversity polices don’t exist. I had experience of both approaches to public school systems. In Marietta, Georgia, there was no diversity or busing policies and I went to a totally homogenized economically advantaged school whose resources far outweighed those of my inner city counterparts in Dekalb and Fulton counties the differences were staggering. When I moved here, the diversity policies did not compromise the high educational standard I had become accustomed to. Also, I was not assigned the school closest to my home but my bus ride was not that long, at the longest an hour. I find it quite ridiculous that bus ride length (to some) trumps equal access to quality education.  I have seen first hand the ill effect of educational disparities. The Wake County School Board has a Moral Obligation to do what is right and maintain equality throughout the public school system. However, they have failed to do that as they are mainly concerned with their own agendas and imperatives and frankly I am outraged. I agree with everyone here who commented that this policy change will create de facto Segregation and I am deeply ashamed of this. Raleigh was supposed to be better than this. Good luck to the school board with the redistricting nightmare they are about to create. They might as well take bags of money and throw them into the gravel pit where the Public Safety center was supposed to be built!

  • JeffS
    03/04 01:50 PM

    Here’s some irony. If more kids rode the bus, the trips would be shorter. The trips are longer because they have to travel such distances to pick up enough kids to fill the bus.


    I’m not sure what people really expect there anyway. Even with a nearby school and relatively dense student distribution it still takes close to an hour to empty a bus. That’s probably best case.


    Either way, busing is a red herring.


    Tengo, better watch out. I doubt many teabaggers will see the sarcasm.

  • Jonathan Parker
    03/04 02:05 PM

    First off: “Despite the fact that Raleigh is seen as one of the most progressive cities in the country…”

    Um, Really?  (minor quibble, and not particularly on topic… and I am a Raleigh native)

    I totally agree with Bull City Rising, also being a taxpayer with no kids (I’m in Wake however).  The most troubling part has been watching just how easily the new majority has disregarded the successes the system has enjoyed over the past 30 years, and ignored the warnings from supportive parents and policy folks who know that trashing the entire system will reduce overall school performance.  Those who were elected by a few thousand trash the system that serves hundreds of thousands…

    FWIW, I *really* am hoping for a strong, swift NAACP lawsuit.

  • Jellyneck
    03/04 02:16 PM

    Regardless of where you stand on this issue, I think it is clear from the past successes of busing policy that poor people suck and their children need to be around children whose parents aren’t failures at life in order to get a quality education.

  • revolu
    03/04 02:17 PM

    Jonathan - great points.
    Mike - I was merely posing a question. Guess you didn’t get the joke, but I’m glad you don’t drive an SUV.

  • ct
    03/04 02:48 PM

    The problem is that WCPSS and prior school boards didn’t fully address the consequences of a 3X increase in the population of Wake County outside the Raleigh city limits. The frustration of parents outside Raleigh—and I mean really outside Raleigh, not Raleigh OTB—is understandable. It’s not right to demonize them all as racist. WCPSS and prior schools also didn’t anticipate the pushback that has materialized within the African-American community about putting *their* children on buses for hours. Actions of the NAACP notwithstanding, the reality is that most African-American voters did not run to the defense of WCPSS and the Democratic school board candidates.

  • RaleighRob
    03/04 03:28 PM

    OK as someone educated in the Environmental Sciences, I get really really riled up when these nuts say crap along the lines of “It will save gas, you should be in favor!”, blah blah.

    Um…no. 

    A—Busing never used as much gas as you suburbanites hauling your kids in your big SUV’s and minivans to school, instead of letting the bus actually pick them up.

    B—If all these conservative whites didn’t insist on living in big McMansions in sprawling HOA-run subdivisions way out in the middle of nowhere, far from the scary ghettoes or whatever, there would be TONS less gas burned every year…school-related or otherwise. 

    C—Then there’s all the trees that would still be where your glorious subdivision is located could clean the air even more.

    So don’t give me this “save all that gasoline” bullcrap.  I’m not buying it.  It’s your White-Flight lifestyle that lead to all this to begin with.

  • RA
    03/04 03:29 PM

    “The funds will not be distributed equally ultimately leaving the whole quality of the system flawed and not up to par. ” - rl
    That is impossible, as was already pointed out:
    “WCPSS is funded on COUNTY taxes and allocations are even across the system.” - BullCity

    The recent changes are a direct result of the past school board’s not listening to what parents wanted and instead chasing the accolades of academia.

    The major achievement of the diversity policy of WCPSS has been to make sure that there are no bad schools.  It has done nothing for the achievement levels of the at risk population it was claimed to be created to help.  Look for yourself.  The passing rates of F&R kids at magnet schools is no better than at non-magnets.  So all we have done is create a system that has given more to those who already had the most.  Now, as ct pointed out, there are too many of those on the outside looking in for that to continue.

    The Raleigh and Wake schools merger was a joke.  There have always been two school systems, just not formally.  Magnet programs have been put in Raleigh, and the low income kids displaced into suburban schools (see Garner) without the benefit of those programs.  Never the other way around.  Now that the population has shifted, the inevitable has happened.

  • RA
    03/04 03:33 PM

    “It’s your White-Flight lifestyle that lead to all this to begin with. ”  RaleighRob

    Speak for yourself.  There are more non-whites on the cul-de-sac of my suburban neighborhood than whites.  I chose to live there because it is what I like, not because of the race of my neighbors.  In fact, I bought the second house on built there, so I had no idea who was coming to live near me, and I didn’t care.

    Americans like the suburbs.  Race doesn’t matter.  Look at the housing trends of the past 50 years.  If you come to a different conclusion, look again.

  • JeffS
    03/04 03:38 PM

    Fine, live in your suburb.


    That doesn’t mean the county should be obligated to keep building new schools to accomodate the sprawl. The further from center you go, the greater the cost in infrastructure, whether it be roads or sewer or shools - yet these seem to be the most upset because they’re not getting their fair share.


    IMO, you’ve create the problem you’re complaining about and should STFU.

  • what?
    03/04 03:39 PM

    RaleighBob:
    So other races dont live in the burbs?  Only whites.  Across America only whites live in cul-de-sacs run by HOA’s.  Huh, who knew? Great argument.  The damn White folk be ruining the world.

  • RA
    03/04 03:47 PM

    “IMO, you’ve create the problem you’re complaining about and should STFU. ”  - Jeff

    How about I solve the problem?  Oh wait, that isn’t allowed.  As soon as those in the suburbs stand up and say that they will happily run and fund their own schools on the municipal level, they are yelled down as racists and segregationists.  So the only option appears to be for us to shut up and do it your way.  That isn’t how this country is supposed to work, although it is how this county has worked its school system for the last three plus decades.

    I am willing to pay more in taxes if I felt like it wasn’t paying for extras my children will never have a chance of benefiting from.  Right now, the education of children suffers as a result of my funding those programs.  The school my children attend is allowed to have a foreign language because doing so would reduce the appeal of the magnet programs.  Same thing with AP offerings in high schools.  If your kids go to Ligon, Enloe, et al they get all the high level classes you can imagine.  If not, they are denied the high level classes so that they will want to go to a Ligon or Enloe.  Well those schools are nowhere near me and in the opposite direction of where my wife and I work.  Yet I pay for them and my kids are denied services because they exist.

    Let the suburbs run their own schools and the “complainers” and “growth problems” you talk about will all be gone.  One small step in that direction and people go crazy.  Why is that?

  • ct
    03/04 03:59 PM

    If the growth of Wake County over the last 20 years had been sprawl-less—in other words, completely concentrated in the city limts of Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, etc as those cities existed in 1990—WCPSS would have had to have spent just as much money (possibly more) to add capacity for students. And if the density of Raleigh, in terms of people per square mile, had tripled in the last 20 years, you’d be hearing exactly the same comments because it would take over an hour for children on one side of Raleigh to reach a school on the other side of Raleigh. This is not really about sprawl. It’s about the failure of a magnet program designed 25 years ago to keep pace with the times. And it’s sad. My kids went to magnet schools.

  • RA
    03/04 04:03 PM

    For all of those you questioning the motives of others, look in the mirror.  Where was your sense of outrage in 2008-2009 when WCPSS had a school with 70% F&R (low income) and over 23% ESL (English as a Second Language)?  Where was your disgust with the school board’s segregationist policies just last year when this happened?

  • RB
    03/04 04:30 PM

    @rl, you said “To the clown who says they didnt see any white people protesting you are a shithead or just plain retarded.” 

    @rl, you are the retarded shithead.  Aaron said “Also I hate to be a jerk but I don’t see a single person that isn’t white in that protest picture.”

    Maybe you should be bused somewhere to brush up on reading comprehension

  • RA
    03/04 04:32 PM

    From - http://www.wcpss.net/demographics/

    2009-2010 per school ethnic and racial makeup:
    This does not include the special schools.
    Group   Min   Max
    Asian   0.20%  44.62%
    Hispanic 2.10%  45.72%
    Black   4.95%  78.25%
    White   5.80%  79.46%

    Let me get this straight, the new board is going to cause segregation?  Having a school where about 4 in 5 kids are Black in the same district where exists a school where only 1 in 20 is Black isn’t segregation?

    From - http://www.wcpss.net/evaluation-research/reports/2009/0931hs-graduation09.pdf

    On time graduation rate:
    Asian   88.30%
    Hispanic 51.10%
    Black   63.40%
    White   89.40%

    So this new board is going to cause inequality in our schools?

    Same report, on time graduation rate again:
    Group   Wake   NC
    Asian   88.30%  83.60%
    Hispanic 51.10%  58.90%
    Black   63.40%  63.20%
    White   89.40%  77.70%

    The new board is the problem?  Wake County has a larger gap in ethnic graduation rates than the state as a whole.

    Want to claim that the policies are allowed to address race so that isn’t fair?  OK, same source, four year grad rate again:

    Group   Wake   NC
    F&R   54.20%  61.80%
    LEP   38.90%  52.10%
    All   78.40%  71.70%

    Wake does worse for than the state average for the higher risk populations, but covers it up in the total by excelling with those who aren’t at seen as at risk.

    Where was your outrage when all this was happening?  Only now that the established practices for those who benefited the most have been put at risk are these of concern.  This outcry about the board is nothing more than self-serving drivel from a group of people pissed off that their gravy train has been brought to a stop.  You didn’t give a crap about the poor kids not graduating or being segregated last year when the system gave you what you wanted.  Don’t pretend to care about them now just because those things have been taken away.

  • ct
    03/04 04:40 PM

    RA’s statistics illuminate why the African-American community in Wake County is not thrilled with the status quo. If children from their population were performing better than the NC average, then perhaps those parents would be enthusiastic to have their children put on a bus to an OTB or county school. But they’re not.

  • JeffS
    03/04 04:51 PM

    RA, who are “those who benefited the most”? And what “gravy train” do you imagine that anyone was on?


    The idea that you deserve your “own” anything is laughable. It’s the self-centered arrogance that will make this a short-lived debacle.


    Everyone is quick to throw out numbers from previous years. Fine, things could be better. That has nothing to do with these changes though, which are focused on the parents and not the kids - and most certainly not on performance related issues.

  • RA
    03/04 05:15 PM

    Who has benefited the most?  Well, the graduation rate for whites is 11.7% over the state average, while that of the whole county is just 6.7% higher.  Isn’t it obvious?

    The gravy train is the diversity program which has, in the name of providing equality overseen (some say created, but I will not) a huge achievement gap.  Things like magnet programs and the dispersal of poorly performing children in order to mask the need for extra services. 

    And the numbers have everything to do with these changes.  If the system actually worked, if the diversity program had given us a lower achievement gap (by racial or economic measure) do you honestly think that the current board would be able to scrap it?  No way.  The idea would never get off the ground.  The reason that the diversity program is going to be eliminated is fundamentally because it didn’t worse.

    Elitism, racism, segregation and all the rest that people are screaming may indeed play a role, but if the policy hadn’t demonstrably failed those motives would obvious.  That it failed while getting accolades for excellence and creating, as I have shown, the very things it claimed to have been established to prevent provides enough cover for all motives, good and bad.

    I live in Wake and own the schools like everyone else who does.  My comment was simply about shifting the lines from county based to municipal based.

  • Case Closed
    03/04 05:31 PM

    I’m sorry, but the NAACP and the media have succeeded in labelling you a racist if you support the new board.

    That’s it. Case closed.

    (Aren’t those tactics good for an honest discussion between two sides, both of whom have genuine and legitimate concerns!)

  • Bill M
    03/04 06:09 PM

    This new board isn’t looking for solutions for increasing graduation rates among poor students and they aren’t listening to ideas, or doing research.  They are funded by right wing activists and they assumed power with plans in hand.  Here’s an idea to increase graduation rates for at-risk students: increase trade and career related instruction at schools like Enloe.  Many of the base students at Enloe KNOW they won’t go to college but all their instruction is geared toward college prep, they get frustrated and dropout at a high rate.  Why not partner with Wake Med to offer training in medical technology and a faster path to RN certification?  If someone is training to become an electrician, they know there are mathematics requirements on the state exam.  It removes the “I’ll never use this” scenario.  It creates a path forward.  But that isn’t what Art Pope wants, and he’s calling the shots.

  • RA
    03/04 07:30 PM

    Well said Bill M.  That isn’t his agenda and your suggestions are very good.  The problem is that (based on comments here and elsewhere) too many people seem to believe that the previous policy had no interest in increasing graduation rates of at-risk students either.

  • stafa287
    03/04 07:35 PM

    I would like to see statistics not on overall graduation rates among ethnic groups in Wake County, but on how many of those who do graduate from Wake County schools go on to higher education and receive college degrees.  While some students will remain lost no matter what the system due to many outside social and economic factors I bet that surrounding many of these at risk students in a culture of success rubs off on them and I believe they are more successful because of it.  I went to high school in Wayne County in a school that was mixed among races and income levels and I greatly benefited from it in seeing a much different world view than the predominate world view of my college classmates.  Also in Wayne County there is the inner city Goldsboro school districts with at risk numbers close to 100%.  Even with all kinds of money poured into the school to try and bring it up the graduation rates are dismal and teacher turnover is extremely high.  There is a culture of failure that is bred at places like this and Wake’s diversity policy has so far been able to avoid this.  Ending this policy will create multiple situations like this in Wake County and with it a culture of hopelessness.  Wake will also spend much more than the cost of gas in trying to pull up these schools because they will undoubtedly start failing.  More money will have to go to teachers to try and get them to stay there and the best and brightest teachers will for the most part stay away.  While you can argue that overall graduation rates may not change much I will argue that the quality of schools from one district to another will change tremendously.  This change in quality will cause a shift in population to these districts and just contribute to the dire circumstances in the other with even lower property values and home sales.  I really hope that the new school board is considering all of this rather than just voting for their ideology.

  • Zachary287
    03/04 08:53 PM

    Aaron, it is ignorant to say that people are less educated because they went to public schools, but even more ignorant and pathetic for someone to say that parents don’t care about their children if they send them to public schools.
    I am a highly educated individual who has my bachelors degree in business and now has a steady job. My single mom did care about me throughtout my education and I take offense to unproductive and frankly unreasonable comments. The only thing that stops students enrolled in public schools to acheiving great things is cynical people like yourself who through out comments in your own quest for self righteousness.

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    03/05 06:39 AM

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  • Aaron
    03/05 10:12 AM

    @Zachary287

    Apparently you’re not familiar with how schools work since I stated I went to magnet and charter schools and those are both public. This was meant to point out that parents can find great schools for their children that are PUBLIC. Public = good. Charter schools just need more money.

    Bummer for you.

  • Ivory
    03/05 10:52 AM

    Completely agree with Mike. I don’t have children but if I did, I wouldn’t want them to be forced to go to a school that’s 30-45 min away just for the sake of diversity. It’s a convenience factor for many families in the area. I grew up in Raleigh and was lucky to go to schools that were close to home.

    btw, I’m African-American.

  • Bill M
    03/05 10:59 AM

    Ivory, you are exactly right that it is a convenience factor.  So, the question is: do we sacrifice a successful school system, for parent convenience?  I think the Civil Rights movement was inconvenient for many but I think it improved society as a whole.

  • 150
    03/05 11:05 AM

    Ivory, you have a valid opinion. 
    Just to throw it out there, I’m white, have children, and will happily put them on a 30-45 minute bus ride for the sake of diversity.  I did it growing up, and I think I’m a better person for it.

  • ct
    03/05 11:05 AM

    This is not about mere convenience. Need an appointment with your child’s teacher or a school staff member during school hours? Want to attend an after-hours PTA meeting? Want to bring your child something that he or she left at home that morning, or just eat lunch with a child who is going through a difficult time? For single-parent or two-income households, these can be logistically difficult or even impossible when the school is half an hour away… especially for lower-income households (yet another reason why African-Americans are ambivalent about the status quo).

  • RA
    03/05 11:06 AM

    “So, the question is: do we sacrifice a successful school system, for parent convenience?”

    Successful for whom?  We need to get away from this myth that we are destroying a bastion of academic excellence.  Saving the diversity policy based on the benefits of diversity is one thing.  Saving the diversity policy based on student achievement simply isn’t sustainable.

  • Bill M
    03/05 11:22 AM

    RA, look at the Wake School data vs. Charlotte Mecklenberg.  Charlotte/Mecklenberg is trending downward, faster, Wake is improving.  The data shows that route doesn’t provide improvement, or cost savings.  So, if we need improvements, why choose that route?  Because this is a revival of a political issue from the days of Jesse Helms, not a solution to the academic problems.

  • RA
    03/05 11:24 AM

    “Wake is improving.”

    Other than the one recent dip in dropout percentage, can you provide any data to back this up?

    I am not advocating one solution over another.  I am just pointing out that what has been declared a solution may not be.

  • Youth
    03/05 12:01 PM

    I am a highschool and im african american and all thats going threw my head is its going to be more fights and bullying their just doing this so that higher payed familys can get their “moneys worth”

  • matt w
    03/05 12:04 PM

    Youth, I’m really hoping that you are trolling.


    Because if not—This is your awesome school system at work, Wake County.

  • Bill M
    03/05 12:14 PM

    RA, are you asking what evidence I have that Wake is improving, aside from the recent evidence that Wake is improving?  The dropout rate is THE major concern regarding low income students, as cited by the community school activists.  I am offering some solutions for that problem, as I described in a previous post.  Again, I’m stressing that this re-segregation policy has nothing to do with data, or academics.  The financial backers of that policy stand to gain financially if they createa Wake School system that is less successful than the current system.

  • RA
    03/05 12:28 PM

    Bill,

    “RA, are you asking what evidence I have that Wake is improving, aside from the recent evidence that Wake is improving?”
    I am asking for evidence other than this recent one year blip.  Long term trends.  Multiple indicators for specific groups.  Like what I supplied above, not one cherry-picked number.

    “I am offering some solutions for that problem, as I described in a previous post.”
    For that I have already applauded you.

    “Again, I’m stressing that this re-segregation policy has nothing to do with data, or academics.”
    And I am stressing that neither did the diversity policy.

    “The financial backers of that policy stand to gain financially if they create a Wake School system that is less successful than the current system.”
    There are just as many financial interest tied up in the old policy.  Do you think it a coincidence that the diversity policy had lots of corporate backers?  It is perfect PR vehicle; EXACTLY what companies care about in terms of public education.  Which makes news reports that discourage people from coming to an area:
    A) One school where 90% of kids are Black/poor/other group of your choosing with a 50% failure rate

    or

    B) One district where 50% of Black/poor/other fail, but they aren’t easily identified in one location?

    The diversity policy is the PERFECT give to corporate interests.  They can hide the problem, avoid the PR mess and not actually have to pay to make any substantive changes.  That the whole thing has brought accolades is just a bonus.

    The diversity policy is not achievement data driven, and every reference to data is on a school-wide level.  That is a smokescreen.  Education is about students, not schools.

    I get the feeling we agree on many things; I think I just have a more negative view of what has been done in the past so I am not as alarmed by what is happening now.  It isn’t like we are be pushed out of the Taj Mahal to live on the streets.  We are simply being pushed from one street to the next.

  • Gary
    03/05 12:48 PM

    I am gladd that they have done this I grew up poor and I fought my way out so my kids did not have to endure. I am so sick of hearing about diversity and blah blah blah blah blah. I am sorry that there are differences amongst groups and we are all tap dancing around the word diversity to to say that we mean POOR PEOPLE.

    I bought nice house and pay higher taxes to avoid this bull shit for my kids. Everyone had the same opporotunities I did fight there way out and not be poor any more.

    I am tired of everyone bitching about this diversity shit. I pay to live in a better neighborhood and not be sucked into the same crap.

  • Bill M
    03/05 12:50 PM

    RA there is a big difference between A)-business leaders championing a system because it is good for the region, or appears to be good for the region, and therefore good for business. And B) an owner of private schools, who has the current chairman of the Wake School Board on the board of one of his schools, pushing his agenda on the public schools.  A) uses the success of the region to better himself B) Has an interest in creating a worse system to move toward a voucher system that will fill his own pockets.  A) Jim Goodmon of Capital Broadcasting B) Bob Luddy - Thales Academy(s)

  • RA
    03/05 01:04 PM

    Bill,
    I disagree.  What we have in Wake are both B, just different in details.  Taking the people you identify, both benefit from certain policies and champion them without regard to student outcomes.  You can add gradations of malevolence to each (and based on what you have said here, I’d probably agree with what you say), but they are fundamentally the same thing - using the public education system for personal gain without regard to the needs of children.

    The “success of the region” is just a more polite way of saying “my own interests”.  The success of the region is a result of a strong public education system, not the reason for having one. 

    The wrong people/factors have been influencing education policy in Wake for a long time.  That suddenly a portion of the population (like many here) have just now realized that because the names, faces and ideas have changed doesn’t erase what has happened before.  Wanting to restore what was before is pure ignorance of the real problem - that our school system is not governed based on the simple principal of student learning coming first, middle and last in every decision made at every level.

  • matt
    03/05 04:53 PM

    Gary, I’m gladd you did well for yourself. Good work! You’re a hero in my book!

    Now that you’re all set up, maybe you can start working on “nice” and “smart”. “Empathetic”, “sympathetic”: look ‘em up.

  • Joe
    03/06 09:13 AM

    Someone show me a study that proves busing creates more diverse schools and better educated children!  There is NONE. The evidence is all anecdotal.  New Raleigh, like all media, cites an image of 1950’s era segregation to incite an emotional response to perceived injustice - the injustice that poor children are being robbed of their education - it’s simply NOT TRUE.  There is NO EVIDENCE to prove this.  There is evidence that suggests children who ride the bus are more likely to be obese.  Considering the fact that riding the bus and carpool saps all the freetime my children would otherwise have to be outside and play during the winter, I believe this to be true.  With the alarming rate of obesity in this country, especially North Carolina, the school board needs to start thinking about the future health of our children.  Provide some concrete evidence that busing helps create better schools and I will listen but, I haven’t seen anything but anectdotal evidence created to incite false feelings of injustice.

  • Joe
    03/06 09:25 AM

    One more thing - the school that my children (we’re white) are bused to failed to achieve academic standards two years in a row (despite having white kids bused to it).  So, the county sends us a letter saying that we have the option to choose another school to be bused to and gives us a choice of two other schools - each further awayand having failed to meet standards to years in a row!  That’s proof enough that busing doesn’t work.

    On the flip side, poor families bused to better schools not only have to deal with their children on buses for long periods of time, but also an inability to be involved in extracurricular activities because in most cases those parents lack transportation to travel to those schools.

    As we are learning in the school we are bused to, there is little parent-involvement from poor children.  That’s the problem - not the fact that they are poor - or the teachers are bad (they’re not, in fact, we found them to be excellent).  I believe that problem is not because the parents don’t care, but because they lack transportation, or flexible work schedules, etc.

    I can’t imagine the difficulties these parents face in trying to get across town should their children get bused to a better school, where sadly, they won’t be able to capitalize on the resources of a better school because it’s TOO FAR AWAY!

    New Raleigh and the Del Burns era school board have no evidence to suggest busing works.  If so, let’s see it.

  • Alton
    03/06 09:49 AM

    Joe, just compare Wake’s performance to Charlotte Meck since Charlotte ended their diversity policy.  Charlotte now pays more per student for school, more for transportation costs, and their performance has trended downward in a substantial way.  Wake hasn’t.

  • RG
    03/06 01:31 PM

    WCPSS had plenty of schools over 40% F&R last year and no one was complaining. How many suburban re-assignments were for “diversity” and how many were because Apex, Morrisville, and Wake Forest schools would be over capacity??! Why are the pushers of the new board majority making this a racial issue and continuing to ignore the implications of Wake’s rapid growth on school infrastructure? They campaigned on “neighborhood” schools and six months later are still vague on their actual plans to make it a reality. The “community zones” would end busing, yes, but more importantly it LIMITS THE ABILITY OF WCPSS TO PREVENT OVER-CROWDING. And they’re cutting the budget! Watch where Luddy’s building his schools…

  • Tony Woodard
    03/06 02:05 PM

    Lord, I can’t believe that I am intentionally stepping into this pile of shit, but here goes.

    A few observations from a mid-30’s fag who neither has his own, nor particularly cares about your obnoxious, expensive little spawn:

    Popular or not, the current system has been held in high regard across the country by other local governments because we do it pretty well, and more importantly, pretty cheaply. Experts have come and studied and taken back ideas to their municipalities. No one is talking about the money/quality ratio right now. Yeah, community schools probably could be as successful as the diversified ones, but at what cost. The budget, which is controlled by another, differently minded, board, just *might* predicate what changes this board can afford to make.

    And don’t even tell me that you want me to pay higher taxes to support the education of your decisions to procreate. None. Period.

    What do the teachers think? Everyone agrees that quality teachers are the key to success, so we must ask ourselves how these changes will effect teacher retention and recruitment. In an informal straw poll I’ve conducted amongst teachers I know, they have been overwhelmingly against the community model.

    This whole debate has been one of the most bizarre and down-right hateful fuck storms in recent memory. With an issue so obviously charged and with both sides claiming to know the true will of the majority, why not put the issue to a referendum? I think we are having a county commissioner election this fall, so it wouldn’t cost that much more to put it on the ballot and just might save some money if the change gets voted down.

    Regardless, you breeders need to get your shit together. If ya’ll are going to collectively rape me to subsidize your lifestyles, at least act like you know what you’re doing.

  • Synaesthesiac
    03/07 11:29 PM

    The spectrum:

    <—Segregation <-> Diversity <-> Integration—>

    Racism lies at either extreme.

  • JeffS
    03/08 12:10 AM

    Joe, first let me say that I sympathize with your situation. It is unfortunate that any kid has to go to a “failing” school.

    To address your question in a roundabout way… it is prettymuch undisputed that low income schools breed any number of problems, not the least of which being horrible problems recruiting and maintaining quality staff. Knowingly creating such schools seems to be a morally questionable decision.

    I assume we are all looking out for what we feel are the best interests of our kids. I’m just not sure that sacrificing the education of one kid to help another makes sense in the long run.

    I don’t claim this to be the intention of anyone here, or the board members. To date, we have yet to hear the board address these concerns - or even acknowledge that there is a concern. The blind faith that the administration will somehow “make it work” strikes me as a head in the sand approach.

    I am more than willing, and in fact eager, to hear a comprehensive plan for the future. A great first step would be a plan for paying for the reduced seats due to the loss of YR schools. This needs to be more than a one or two issue discussion.

  • Synaesthesiac
    03/08 01:48 AM

    The right way to solve the problem is to help strengthen existing communities using a systems-thinking approach.

    If each department of the government focused on solving their own problems, they could undermine other broad objectives.

    Schools are central to healthy communities.  They stimulate not just student involvement, but parent and community involvement as well.

    Attempting to help individual students while damaging a potentially valuable community resource is short term thinking.

    The key isn’t to increase diversity by some arbitrary integration strategy, but to enhance a community as a whole.  This type of thinking may require opting for long-term strategies over short-term “solutions” to specific problems.

  • RA
    03/08 10:02 AM

    Synaesthesiac - “The key isn’t to increase diversity by some arbitrary integration strategy, but to enhance a community as a whole.  This type of thinking may require opting for long-term strategies over short-term “solutions” to specific problems. “

    Brilliantly stated.  This is the root of the problem I have with both sides.  Neither one does anything to address the long term challenges.  It was always clear to me that the diversity program was going to bring about steadily decreasing returns.  The problems get hidden, forgotten and worse.  The same impact will happen result from the neighborhood policy, just in reverse.  The problems will be evident, but those that cannot be solved will just get worse.

  • Bill M
    03/08 10:17 AM

    Yes, I think we can all agree that some great new system of community should be invented.  RA, you’ve made it clear that you are unhappy with the current options and I look forward to reading what you propose.  In the meantime, we’re about to undo a system that while not perfect, works better than the vague proposal of the school board.  So, might I suggest we fight for immediate good and long-term perfection at the same time, rather than neglecting the good in favor of vague ideas of perfection?

  • RA
    03/08 11:21 AM

    Bill,
    “In the meantime, we’re about to undo a system that while not perfect, works better than the vague proposal of the school board.”

    This is where we disagree.  The diversity program prevents us from working towards any meaningful solution because it pretends to be one.  I am not for scraping the entire thing as fast as possible, but it is an impediment to the pursuit of real improvement.

    My suggestion is that we go back to local community control of schools.  No more factory style one size fits all garbage that we know doesn’t work.  Kids get educated in the way that the community they are part of sees as having the maximum value.  If parents don’t see what is taught in schools as being important or meaningful, they won’t support it and the children won’t be successful.  The root problem is that there is a disconnect between what the school system sees as important and what the community sees as important.

    Two important elements are needed to control this, one we have, one we don’t.  The first is to make sure we have equal funding.  We have this.  A county wide system and the state proving most of the funds means that we won’t see disparity in funding between areas where there is disparity of income.  The second is that we need a real system of choice.  Not the current magnet system which is nothing more than a give away to the rich, but real choice that allows parents to send their children to different schools when the one in their community is not in line with their vision.  Again, no more one size fits all.  For example, if you live in one of the few affordable homes in a really affluent area, and the IB program seems like a waste to you, your high school kid can go to another school and learn auto-tech or welding.  Or if you are in a lower income area that has decided that the school system should teach practical skills like personal income management and vocations, yet you believe your child should be taking AP Literature because he is going to go to college and become a journalist, then you can do that.

    The problem with the diversity program is many of these elements are there, but the community control isn’t.  If you went to the people who are classified as the base population for Enloe High School and asked them, how many of them do you think would say that the best way to help raise the percent of kids in their community graduate is a school with the largest number of honors and AP electives in the county?  Who in their right mind thought that this was the best way to increase the engagement of a community that is problematically ambivalent towards the education of their children?

    We need to restore relevance.  I taught in what was at the time the highest F&R middle school in WCPSS.  In a parent teacher conference, when I asked if a the child had a set place and time to do their work, I was told by the parent “school never did me no good.”  Until we show the parents of the at risk kids that it can and allow them to make sure it does, we are at best treading water.

  • Joe
    03/09 07:52 AM

    Thanks for all your comments, I want to reply to individuals but can’t speak to one person solely on any issue, so please read my response below as it is - a real experience.  This is not anecdotal evidence, this is what we’re going through as a redistricted family…

    My community school is over-crowded but so is the school we’re bused to.  I would prefer that my children not attend classes in a trailer but we haven’t been given a choice of any school that doesn’t have trailers where playgrounds should be.  That’s sad and clearly proves that health and mental well-being aren’t a concern amongst the school board, although it should be. 

    Our children are being doomed to a life expectancy shorter than our own because we are not addressing their right to a healthy lifestyle.  The school breakfasts and lunches are horrendous - practically, and in some cases they are, simply fast food.  Our only problem in the school during kindergarten was the fact that F&R kids were eating breakfast (in the classroom because there isn’t enough room in the cafeteria in the morning to feed them all) in front of my child who started wanting pancake encased sausage on a stick and sticky buns for breakfast.  We packed lunch but she wanted to get breakfast and lunch at school with all her friends.  The school menus are completely unhealthy and I refused.  I found a service that would provide healthy lunches to kids at school but was told by the CEO that they weren’t allowed in public schools in North Carolina because it would be viewed as discriminatory against the F&R kids who couldn’t afford it.  We’ve resolved the issue with our child but our intervention with our own child isn’t helping the children who are being taught the sausage on a stick and sticky buns are “breakfast”.  Who knows what trash kids are served for lunch. 

    As I stated, our biggest gripe in kindergarten were the F&R kids eating unhealthy food in front of our child.  We had no issues with the teacher because she was excellent, as is our first grade teacher.  The problem is that while the teachers are excellent, they cannot devote time to the outlier students - those academically below or above the majority.  While attending field trips (we are usually the only parents to do so) we have discovered from some of our child’s friends that they do not have a place at home for homework, much less parents who are around to ensure they do homework.  We’re also learning that even though many of her friends are only 6 years old, they are the only member of the family that speaks English.  How can a parent not fluent in English supervise homework written in English?  As a result, the teacher’s time is spent bringing these kids up to speed in the classroom because their work isn’t being done at home.  My child recently received a notice from the teacher for talking in class.  We immediately scheduled time with the teacher to talk about it and she was completely surprised because our child, she said, “was only talking because she already understands the material - the other kids don’t - I’m worried mostly that your child will distract the others from learning what she already knows”.  Clearly, it’s our child’s education that is being sacrificed here.  We were constantly reprimanding her for saying “school is boring” and then we found out in a roundabout way from her teacher, that yes, it is actually boring to her.  We’re only in first grade and already, the home lives of children in her class are bringing not just themselves down, but our daughter as well.

    The teacher’s in our child’s new school are excellent, but are fighting a losing battle against the forces present in that school’s community.  What is really VAGUE is how implanting a child into that environment is going to somehow lift up those families unable to speak english to their child, unable to provide a place to do homework, and unable to actually supervise homework because they are service workers who work after school hours.  This is what the Del Burns era school board has asked of my child at a mere five years old - “you’re white and live in neighborhood that is not poor, so please lift up this school in a poor community in the name of diversity.”

    Someone please explain to me, or show me a study that Del Burns based his decisions on:
    1. How the school board defines the quality of teachers, if it’s true, that poorer schools attract less “quality” teachers.  I don’t think this is true but often here it stated in arguments against community schools.
    2. How diversity produces better educated children.  Again, purely anecdotal.  Yes, there was a day and age where this was a problem but, it isn’t anymore.  Old imagery is being used to play the race card in an issue that isn’t race related, but economics related.
    3. How busing kids to school results in lower transportation costs than children walking or biking to school.
    4. How sausage on a stick and sticky buns provides the necessary nutrients for children to be alert and focused for class.

  • Bill M
    03/09 08:22 AM

    Joe, let’s just use your own example as a guide. I don’t know the answer to #1 but you could just ask some teachers if they would rather teach at Lacy, or a poor school where most kids arrive not speaking English. 2.  Do you think your child’s school would improve if it were 90% F&R with 60% Latino from non-English speaking families? No, it would only improve your daughter’s education at whatever wealthy white school she’d be attending. 3.  Kids don’t walk to school anymore.  They eat sausage sticks and their parents drive them everywhere because the parents are equally fat and lazy and they have irrational fears about abduction.  4. Pack a lunch.  This seems like quite an issue for you.

  • RA
    03/09 08:23 AM

    Joe,
    Well said and a mirror of my own experiences, both as a parent and teacher.  The problem is that there are no answers to your questions.  It is all about appearances.  It looks good, sounds good and even feels good.  Nothing more.

  • RA
    03/09 08:27 AM

    Bill,
    “2.  Do you think your child’s school would improve if it were 90% F&R with 60% Latino from non-English speaking families? No, it would only improve your daughter’s education at whatever wealthy white school she’d be attending.”

    Incorrect, based on WCPSS’s own research.  They found that at the elementary school level that there was no difference in achievement based on ESL concentration, but at the middle school level, higher ESL concentrations did better because the school was able to devote resources to their needs and because the kids acted as resources for each other.

    In spite of this research, they still recommended that ESL be considered a part of the diversity program and the kids be dispersed.

    The documents are online in the WCPSS research area.  I generally try to provide references for everything I post, but I have to go somewhere at 7:30 and it is 7:28 right now.

  • Bill m
    03/09 10:11 AM

    RA, that study still has economic diversity as a component it isn’t 90% free and reduced lunches.  I have experience with private school, and public school and the key component in the success of all of the schools is parent involvement and participation.  Private schools, and Lacy Elementary, have such high levels of volunteerism, that teachers have assistants every day.  Somehow, people paying high tuition at private schools feel more of an obligation to volunteer. Lacy hires extra faculty through the Lacy Foundation and has full time volunteers. And I have no doubt the poorer students who ride buses to Lacy benefit from that.  You seem to feel that is only masking a problem.

  • JeffS
    03/09 10:25 AM

    Joe, what you describe is a problem larger than Wake County. The entire nation is teaching the tests now. Unless you are in one of a handful of special programs, there is nothing that can be done for your advanced elementary school kid.

    The economic makeup of your kids school is going to have very little effect here. This is not a new problem, but it has certainly been exacerbated by NCLB and other well-meaning initiatives.

    My personal preference is for diverse schools that target ability levels. Apparently that hurts the slow kids’ feelings though (more likely, their slow parents’ feelings), so we can’t do it anymore.

  • RA
    03/09 10:34 AM

    Bill,
    It is masking the problem because there are only so many Lacy’s in this world.  Far fewer than the number of kids who need what it offers.  Furthermore, those benefits are not being offered with the high needs kids in mind.  They are being offered because of the kids who need it the least.

  • Bill m
    03/09 10:46 AM

    RA, so what?  Why deny the kids that benefit because you don’t like the selfish intention of the volunteers?  Neighborhood schools don’t improve that disparity of parent involvement. Your solution seems to be that we should make the situation so bad that we “unmask” the problem.

  • RA
    03/09 12:42 PM

    So what?  The so what is that it is morally reprehensible to knowingly deny children of an education.  Hiding the problem does us no good.  Unmasking it may not bring a solution, but it is ethically superior to maintaining the problem while telling people it isn’t there.

  • Bill M
    03/09 01:01 PM

    Take it easy.  Take a breath and re-read my post.  The “So what” is in regard to the intentions of volunteers.  You can’t force people to be altruistic.  The community school assignment is in effect in Goldsboro and the inequity problem is currently “unmasked”.  The people in the high poverty schools don’t seem happy, even though they have the advantage of being “ethically superior”.

  • RA
    03/09 02:46 PM

    Goldsboro is a red herring.  The schools there are not run with anything remotely resembling community involvement.

    And Lacy is ridiculous.  A private foundation for a single public school?  How is that equitable?

  • Joe
    03/09 09:52 PM

    Bill M,

    I don’t buy your counter points…

    1. For the stakes at hand (our children’s and our own future) you need to come up with better evidence that there is a disparity in teachers than “ask around”.  As I said before, there is no proof that this is true. 

    2. As you said in regards to RA, the key is parent involvement.  If my wife and I were wealthy as the Del Burns era school board must have deemed us, my wife would be a stay-at-home mom and volunteer much more than we currently do, which is a lot, because we believe in diversity.  But we can’t control the home environment of other families and as you stated, that’s where the problem lies - parent involvement - not even busing can fix that.

    3. I think we’re in agreement that the state of health of our children is poor because of the parents.

    4. We do pack lunch.  After discovering the service that delivered healthy foods I got a local organization to agree to work with them to finance a portion of the lunch costs for children who couldn’t afford it.  I put a lot of time and effort in this for the sake of the F&R kids who don’t have a choice what they’re being fed, but ironically, the service couldn’t get into NC schools because the notion of providing healthy lunches was incredulously deemed discriminatory.  Sadly, you seem to make light of this, but I urge you to research the diabetes rate of hispanics and blacks compared to whites - you want to talk about racial discrimination - there you have it - government sponsored programs for the poor that provide foods which are well-known to cause type II diabetes.

  • Bill M
    03/10 10:48 AM

    Joe, 1. I think it is too simple an idea to build a formal study around. Why would you believe, even for a minute, that a teacher would prefer to teach in a high poverty school with fewer resources?  2.  Yes, some people can afford to volunteer more than others.  That is my point.  Best not let those people concentrate in schools with private foundations benefiting only themselves - average those assets across income levels.  They won’t go to a high poverty school, so send the poor to them. 3. Joe, yes, we can all agree cafeteria food is bad.  If you think this new school board gives a crap about that, you’re in for a rude surprise.  Your best advocate for that issue is Dr. McClaurin.  Are you really hoping for economic segregation so that poor kids won’t teach your child bad dietary habits?

  • nate
    03/10 06:10 PM

    I realize this isn’t very scientific but I have a good friend who is a teacher at a “high poverty” school (not in Wake County).  She is probably 110 lbs soaking wet and has told me there are multiple instances where she has had to break up or gotten pushed in the middle of fights between full grown kids much bigger than her.  I am 100% certain that she would rather teach in an area where she does not have to worry as much about fights, drugs and guns.  Anyone who think teachers don’t care where they teach is dumb.

  • Steve Huffman
    03/10 07:28 PM

    PEOPLE, WAKE UP!!!

    It is just ridiculous to bus kids out of their neighborhoods and out of their local schools for the sake of diversity! It doesn’t matter what race they are or how much money their parents have, or don’t have, they need to go to the closest school to their house…period!  Stop wasting taxpayers money! STOP SPENDING MONEY THAT WE DO NOT HAVE!!!

    For those trouble making kids, how about we start inforcing some laws.  Come on people, is that such a bad idea?  It doesn’t matter what color they are or who their parents are, send those trouble makers to the Youth Authorities! DO THE CRIME, DO THE TIME!!!  Is that such a bad idea?  Make these kids accountable for their actions!!!  This will make them better citizens when they grow up.
    Do you see where I am going with this?

    PEOPLE, WAKE UP!!!

    Signed,
    Steve Huffman
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

  • Steve Huffman
    03/10 07:37 PM

    Mr. Jedidiah,
    Using that picture at the top of this story is just ridiculous!  What are you trying to do? Stir the pot?  This country has moved way past those times and I think it is uncalled for to use pictures like that these days!
    If I were your supervisor, I would fire you in a minute for pulling a stunt like that!
    Come on people, can’t we all just get along?
    Signed,
    Steve Huffman
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

  • Joe
    03/10 07:37 PM

    Bill M.

    1. The teachers in my child’s school are excellent.  They are also idealistic and striving for a better future.  If good teachers exist in my school, they’re likely to exist elsewhere, or at least, serve as enough proof that the issue should be studied.
    2. I agree.  That’s why we spend the time we do at our school.  We want to make it better but even at first grade we can see that the problems at children’s home are far too great for us to overcome. 
    3-4.  We were assigned (as if we’re some sort of military asset) to a poor school under some vague notion that statistical diversity alone is going to lift up the school.  Even though it violates our freedom of choice, we accepted the assignment and proceeded to try and lift up the school.  I had resources available to me to help provide better meals and teach healthy lifestyles, yet was rebuked by the very organization that sent me there to make a change. 

    Finally, if there was a study that proved diversity attracted higher quality teachers and meant better educated children, wouldn’t the Del Burns era school board have the most powerful evidence to justify their decision?  Of course they would, but since it’s not true, they resort to anecdotal evidence and 1950’s induced imagery to incite fears of “segregation”.  However, if what you say is true, that only wealthy white schools attract high quality teachers, than that would mean that the teachers coming out of college are truly the racists.  Maybe we should change our teachers?

  • Galpduendep
    03/12 07:09 PM

    Hi, my name is Tim. Just wanted to say hi to the forum, I been creeping around here for a while now, but tend to participate more. Looking forward to make some new friends. Ciao!

    Tim

    NY, NY

  • JrJonesBr
    03/13 11:41 AM

    Hello folks… I’m new here but I can not wait to start off having/getting some excellent conversations with you all! I just figured i would introduce myself to you all so howdy!

  • Weslaw
    03/13 06:26 PM

    The bottom line here is that the so-called policies of the school board’s new leadership will lead to segregated “have” and “have not” schools. Margiotta even seems to want to take it a step further by actually dividing the system into separate school districts. Margiotta seems bent on recreating the failed policies of New Jersey in Raleigh, and if he succeeds it will be a sad day for Raleighwood indeed.

  • Lauram
    03/17 11:39 PM

    I am completely for diversity, but not to shipping our kids away from neighborhood schools. I don’t necessarily want my 5 year old on any bus going to any school - - I want to drive her there and walk her myself into her classroom. Doing this, and getting my preschooler to her class on time would be tricky. Plus, I want to be a parent helper, and driving a further distance would make that difficult. My family wants to be an active part of our child’s school, but living further would make that difficult.

    I think telling people because they don’t want their child sent to a more diverse school, that they are close-minded, is close-minded in itself. I was a victim of busing in the 1980’s two hours a day away from my family on a bus to satisfy a social experiment was detrimental. Plus, I don’t know if this happens, but I used to get threatened physically because I was white and I still have nightmares about it.

    While I am for neighborhood schools, I do think all schools should get the same funding! No child in a financially disadvantaged neighborhood should be short-changed. We need to care about the education of ALL of our children!

  • Steve Huffman
    03/18 10:16 PM

    LauraM, you’re a great American!
    Our kids went to a neighborhood school and we walked them to class, what a beautiful thing to do for your kids.  I worked the late shift, so I was fortunate to be able to help out in class and our girls were so proud to have their daddy giving his time to help their friends and the teacher.  It was a great example to them of how adults can care for others.  I was also the ‘Brownies’ Dad.  My wife worked days, so she was home in time to be the socker mom and Little League coach. 
    If our kids were bussed out of the area, sadly, we would not have been able to be as involved in their school years.
    Keep up the good work Laura!

  • MrJakke
    03/22 03:04 AM

    Hello fellas… Im fresh here but I cannot wait to start having/getting some excellent conversations along with you all! I just figured i would introduce myself to you all so hello there!

  • Mrs. Quick
    03/24 04:03 PM

    I feel like that this situation is segregation all over again Lets just be honest. Half of the people on here who are trying to find reasons why this is not in some part racial or a segregated situation need to open their eyes and their ears. Bottom Line is that if you look at all the communities in Raleigh as well as the schools they are not created equal. Especially when you have Private, Moderate to Median and Poor areas. When this neighborhood so called redistricting comes into effect things will change greatly. There is no way you can say that the schools in the poor areas are going to have some of the same advantages and the ones that are located in the well to do communities.The whole thing in a nut shell is until something can be done as far as paying all teachers what they are worth and supplying the things that every school needs and not just in certain areas as far as books computers and more teacher because there is a shortage, reconstructing some schools that need it. Things will be taken back to some form of segregation.  Also keeping this very truthful how many teachers are willing to go and work in an area where it maybe a high crime rate? Not many Black nor White. It’s already sad enough that their pay is not grand. We the Good Ole USA are suppose to the country of land of the free it doesn’t seem free when children are being up rooted from schools that they have gotten use to. It’s just the same as when Africans were up rooted from Africa and brought to the USA for slavery and we didn’t ask to come here but yet times have change but certain situations have not and the words are still being said to this day go back to Africa. When my ancestors didn’t ask to come here then and we didn’t ask for this situation that has come about now.

  • Michaelescov
    04/25 01:42 PM

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  • Scott
    04/28 06:32 PM

    I thought WCPSS had good schools. Public schools can off a quality education.  My daughter attended a Magnet program and was bused from Garner to Raleigh.  I think it’s clear that “neighborhood” schools, will really mean segregated schools.  That’s likely the goal of the new school board majority anyway…no matter how it is packaged.  If the City and County Boards are really set against it, they should refuse to approve the school boards funding until they change the plan.  In any case, the whole plan can be de-railed by an injunction. One final musing to ponder…Is a Prickett, a small Prick, a female Prick, or a combination of the two?

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