Despite the thousands who marched with the NAACP against the proposal to re-segregate the Wake County school system this past weekend, the protests led by Enloe High School students outside the school board meeting, and the fact Wake County has been recognized for the successes of its income-based schooling assignments, the school board voted 5-4 last night to re-segregate its schools.

The switch to neighborhood schooling assignments will manifest as a class and racial segregation, against the successes that the income-based assignments have created. Wake County’s SAT scores were on average, “58 points above the national average and 83 points above the state average.” When it comes to EOC proficiency, in 2008 the district scored 7.9% higher than the state.

For more information on Wake’s successes see this NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/25/education/25raleigh.html

Web editor of Carolina Parent, Odile Fredericks, summed up this push towards re-segregation by saying, “yesterday I realized what ‘neighborhood schools’ mean. They mean that children whose parents have less economic means will be clustered together at school. They mean that children will have less exposure to people who come from walks of life different than their own. They mean we parents are ultimately going to take care of our own children, and leave those less fortunate to their own resources.”

Arguments for re-segregating the schools included the fact that buses provide transportation for students to schools further away, and that parents, especially low-income, may have difficulties reaching the schools. Yet in a poll taken, an astounding 94% of people were happy with their school placement, no matter how far from their home it was.

It was made clear last night that it is not the low-income and families of color that were in support of the new school system. Parent Dawn Bartlett said, “I’m completely in favor of neighborhood and community schools. It will allow me to volunteer in a school that’s not 20 miles away.” Bartlett’s statement, accompanied by clusters of older white men dressed in suits with large red stickers reading “I support the new school system,” made it painfully clear who the new school system is meant to benefit.

The Wake County school system is the second largest in the state. Not only will this school board decision negatively affect children in this county, but it will set a precedent for the re-segregation of school systems around the state. Racism is different today than it was half a century ago. It is more discreet, disguised by terms like “forced busing” and “neighborhood schools.” Yet it is no less dangerous than the Jim Crow laws of America’s discriminatory past.

Thankfully the decision is not yet finalized. We cannot allow conservative reactionaries to undermine the progress that has been made.  Come out on Tuesday March 16th for the final vote and make it known, Wake County will not be re-segregated!

In solidarity,

Laurel and Lauren

For more information on this push towards re-segregation, see this NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/us/28raleigh.html

http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/03/03/367017/wake-ends-diversity-policy-in.html#gallerytop
http://www.raleighrelo.com/schools/schools.html
http://www.carolinaparent.com/Blogs/Blogs.php
http://www.greatschools.org/cgi-bin/nc/district-profile/171#eog_subgroup
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