Diversity in Wake County Public Schools

Wake County Schools is huge, massive.  It ranks in the top 50 districts in the country and may be in the top 45 this year.  Compounding the challenge is the fact that the district encompasses the entire county; it’s large in terms of population and in terms of geography.

When faced with such a challenge, it’s the savvy manager that will set aside all preconceived notions of “how” and investigate all potential tools in the tool box.

And so it is that WCPSS embraced the “Diversity” policy.

Years ago the accepted thinking was that race was a proxy for achievement.  That is that white students achieved at a higher level than minority students.

The result?  Busing kids; white kids into traditionally black schools and black students into traditionally white schools.

The High Court struck down this practice saying that race can not be a determining factor.  In response, Wake County began assigning kids to school based on economic status.  That is, rather than trying to balance schools based on racial diversity, they tried to do it via economic diversity.

The thinking, supported by several studies, shows that achievement is shaped by poverty and affluence.  That children of wealthy parents attend high performing schools and, conversely, children of poorer families attend low achieving schools.  Busing continued in Wake County, just not based on race any longer.

The most recent school board election changed the shape of of the board putting in power a decidedly different view of school assignment.  The county shifted from Diversity to Neighborhood schools.

Say what you will, support either the economic policy or the neighborhood school policy, the underlying factor is NOT that parents or schools are in some way racist.

And to suggest so is just poor and cheap reporting:

Wake County School Board Reinstates Segregated Schooling, I Mean Busing

Wake County just stepped backwards a few decades and sadly it may take us a few decades to right this wrong.

While I may disagree with parents and thinkers that abandon diversity, I certainly resonate with a parent that wants their child to go to their closest school.

And THAT has nothing to do with race.

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