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.”
This is amazing to me that in 2011 that we are even having this debate/discussion over this is right or wrong! The Wake County Board Members are supposed to be educated people. How can they even remotely think this is right. We are heading into the future not going backward. And yes I completely agree that if you live in a certain area/bought a house/rent a house/apartment in a certain part of town because of the schools you should be able to go to those schools. Not everyone wants that and shouldn’t be made to send our/their children to those schools. We live in a very diverse upper middle class area and have chosen to take our kids out of neighborhood schools. We have been blessed to get our kids in a Magnet program that buses and we carpool to a great magnet school that is in a very low income area of Raleigh. The school is amazing! We love the school curriculum and what it offers is incredible! They go to a school where maybe 20 different languages are spoken at home and the global thinking is PRICELESS! We live in the real world of DIVERSITY!!! I rest of the world is getting ahead of us. We have to diversify ourselves and think globally not NARROWLY!! We don’t want our children to go to or live in some homogenized narrow minded area with narrow minded people with big wallets. Some the our school board members are not from here and probably never went to school with diversity of color. only with people of their same race. This is very common in some of these small northern towns. I know this because my husband grew up in a northern town and never went to school with nor did anyone of color live in his home town. He,we understand the importance and need for education and diversity. We are a working class family of 2 parents who both went to public schools. I am from the south and grew up below poverty level in a housing project and went to HeadStart in the late 60′s and we one of the only 2 “white” kids there. I loved it! I feel blessed that this experience made me the person I am today. A strong grateful open minded intelligent woman! I was told NOT entitlement but a “go to school and get a good education”! And if that means I put my kids on a bus and to go a very good school then that’s what I’m going to do and thank God I have that choose. We want our kids to grow up thinking and knowing global diversity! And to love and appreciate our differences. It helps us to grow, learn and makes us grateful! Thank God we’re not all a like! The world would be SO boring! Let’s not go backward!