What we are witnessing today on the Wake County School Board is politics at its best.
In 2009, the School Board removed quotas for diversity in the WCPSS assignment policy. After all, there was decades of data that showed the busing scheme in Wake County - that is, using the assignment of poor children to fill quotas at each school - did not work. It did not improve academic outcomes.
However, as a result of that simple change, the liberals went wild.
They packed the Board meetings, protested anywhere they could, chanted and sang, encouraged students to get arrested, and proudly crossed the security barriers to physically take over the School Board seats. C'mon, we all remember it. Overly-dramatic candlelight vigils. Yelling, singing, and praying during Board meetings. Years of hateful statements, speeches, and name-calling.
Fast forward to this past week...
New Superintendent Merrill and WCPSS staff presented a new academic formula to the School Board. This formula could be used to better identify the needs of struggling schools - how to place resources properly - rather than simply using diversity busing to address educational problems. Sadly, it does include the ability to reassign students to "improve" performance. But, it's no longer the be-all and end-all as this Board and their liberal friends so desired.
This new formula is divided into 5 areas - yet "diversity" is no longer
the most important factor. In fact, "demographics" (which it is named
under this formula) is similarly weighted to 3 of the other 5 factors.
And, shockingly, the left remains silent. No outrage. Silence. Crickets.
Let's not forget... the end result of all that hubbub from the liberals
was the buyout of the contract of a very effective and very successful
superintendent. With the support of the 2009 Board, Tata managed to
change the conversation in Wake County. Not an easy feat.
So, I can only believe that either Merrill is treading on very thin ice with this Board by basically dismissing diversity busing as a solution in education. Or this School Board is filled with a bunch of liars and hypocrites.
In a nutshell...
A vision and leadership from a superintendent hired by a Republican-majority board?
Bad, bad, bad.
The same vision from a superintendent hired by a Democratic-majority board?
Hmmm... seems OK.
Now, don't get me wrong. This isn't set in stone. The Board has to approve this new formula that puts little emphasis on diversity busing. And, in the long shot that they will vote in favor of it, I wonder if the outrage will return.
I'm not betting on it.