The city of Raleigh is looking into a lawsuit over the change in direction taken by WCPSS.
I resonate with the city; I do. I think that our schools should use every tool in the toolbox to make all schools as strong as possible for all kids. And I think that maintaining economic diversity, when possible, is just such a tool.
But look, schools are meant to be managed by the people. The people elect board members who then set policy and standards for the district. In Wake Country, that means the majority of the board feels that neighborhood schools is more important than economically diverse schools.
Raleigh, N.C. — The city of Raleigh could be getting in the fight against a controversial decision by the Wake County Board of Education to eliminate a longstanding policy of busing students for socioeconomic diversity.
Mayor Charles Meeker said Thursday he will form a group of education leaders and attorneys to review the school board’s move toward an assignment policy that would place students in schools as close as possible to where they live.
I’m not sure what the city would use as cause in this case. Certainly the idea of assigning kids to schools in their neighborhood is not something that isn’t done; virtually every school in America assigns kids that way.
Now, do I think the city is right?
The new assignment plan is more than a year away from implementation, but opponents believe it will re-segregate schools, create pockets of poverty in the community and lead to high teacher turnover.
I do. I think that assigning kids to nearby schools will create pockets of economically distressed schools. Folks who disagree will maintain that we just need to spend more money on those schools. But I don’t feel that’s realistic. Money has shown never to work, and as the current parents “age out” of the system, new parents will enter and resent the spending of extra resources. We already see that with the magnet school debate.
In short, Raleigh is right to disagree with the change in policy, but they’re wrong to bring suit.