NC: National NAACP plans education summit in Raleigh Dec. 2-4 to train school activists
Wake County schools have drawn protests and formal civil rights complaints from the state NAACP, but for three days in December, Wake County will be a gathering place for NAACP education activists from around the country.
From December 2-4 in Raleigh, the NAACP will host the Daisy Bates Education summit. Over the course of the event, NAACP members and community activists will be trained on how to advocate for improved public schools in their communities.
The summit is named for the late Daisy Bates, former president of the Arkansas State Conference of the NAACP and adviser in 1957 to the nine black students who faced taunts and outrage when they became the first blacks to attend Central High School in Little Rock, Ark.
Adora Obi Nweze, the president of NAACP’s Florida chapter and chairwoman of the national organization’s education committee, said holding the summit in Raleigh will let those attending see how a state chapter is fighting a change in school policy. Nweze said the approach is needed in every state.
“I think it’s a national issue,” Nweze said at a Monday morning press conference in Raleigh. “In every state you could find a Wake County. There is an effort to re-segregate under the guise of new plans.”
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the North Carolina NAACP, said it was fitting that the summit was coming to North Carolina. The NAACP is challenging racial imbalance in several North Carolina counties, including Wake.
“Scores of Daisy Bates are springing up around the state,” Barber said in a statement prior to a Monday press conference announcing the summit. “Wherever right-wing opportunists stoop to the old racial fear tactic, to harm our public schools, more Daisy Bates are created.”
NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous will deliver a keynote address on the evening of Dec. 3 at the Sheraton Hotel in Raleigh.
Wake County schools have drawn national attention since the state NAACP began protesting the board’s decision to eliminate socioeconomic diversity from the formula for assigning students to schools. In June, the state NAACP President Rev. William Barber and three others were arrested for a protest that disrupted a Wake County school board meeting.
In September, the NAACP filed a civil rights complaint against the Wake County school board and school system saying the new assignment policy would re-segregate the schools. It added that the school system’s discipline policy was disproportionately applied to black students. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has agreed to investigate the complaint. A second complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Justice is under review.
Workshops at the summit will include instruction on electing “equity friendly” school boards, improving classroom teaching, changing discipline policies to discourage dropouts and how to use computer mapping tools to draw school district lines.