U.S. Secretary of Education cautions Wake schools on move away from diversity
The turmoil in Wake schools over its move away from promoting diversity has drawn the attention — and the criticism — of U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
In a letter to the Washington Post Thursday, Duncan wrote, “It is troubling to see North Carolina’s Wake County School Board taking steps to reverse a long-standing policy to promote racial diversity in its schools.”
Duncan was responding to a report in the Washington Post that described Wake’s descent into division and acrimony over diversity after having established itself as a national model of successful integration.
Duncan’s comments do not bode well for the outcome of a civil rights investigation being conducted by his department in Wake County. Investigators are looking in complaints from the NAACP and others that the county’s Republican-led school board’s switch to neighborhood schools would concentrate poor and minority students in schools located in low income areas.
In his letter, Duncan wrote:
“In an increasingly diverse society like ours, racial isolation is not a positive outcome for children of any color or background. School is where children learn to appreciate, respect and collaborate with people different from themselves. I respectfully urge school boards across America to fully consider the consequences before taking such action. This is no time to go backward.”