Sunday, June 22, 2014

D before E

Have you ever wondered if diversity really trumps education in Wake County? I mean, honestly... you can read my posts from the past two years and listen to my opinion but I'm sure you've thought: 

"Yeah, yeah. You're just political and hate this School Board" or 

"My kids are fine. Diversity is a good thing (as long as we don't get reassigned)." or 

(in a whisper...) "That woman is crazy."

Well, I feel your pain. This School Board has not made it easy. In the past 3 years, they have made many damaging decisions (like going through 4 superintendents in 2 years) and many non-decisions (uh, after 3 years and whole lotta talking, still no assignment plan?).

But, are they really so focused on creating diversity in our schools that the educational needs of our students run a far second?

Here's some clarity. 

Last week, the N&O had an article about the WCPSS School Board ending a successful and effective program that was running at 5 low-income schools in Wake County.  While Mr. Literal, aka School Board Jim Martin, tried to berate the N&O and claim that the Board never canceled this program, the reality is the funding has ended and this program, one that has helped thousands of low-income children, is over. Don't let Mr. Martin's patronizing twist on the truth make you believe otherwise. 

In the end, the program was ended because this Board doesn't like helping all sorts of poor kids together in one school. In the Board's opinion, it's wrong for poor families to choose to attend school together and then have the school system provide extra resources to help their children. The success of that program isn't what's important to them. The diversity of that school is important. Diversity over education.

But, do you care? After all, not my children.

So, let's talk about something that you might care about. Something that really speaks to the Board's one and only concern: diversity.

At their last work session (the meeting before the official Board meeting), there was a discussion about the placement of the new schools that will be built from the 2013 bond money. You know, the bond you voted for last year because "it's for the children".

WCPSS staff has been working to identify areas to build schools around the county in order to best serve the growing population of Wake County. To make it easy, I'll recap that discussion for those of you who live in SW Wake. 

Here's what your unsympathetic and magnet-focused School Board member Susan Evans had to say:

"We've been having various other conversations about student assignment and the magnet program and I think this is probably a good time for us to put it out there on the table. We have to be forward thinking about all of that stuff and I don't know what the decent answers are but, I've said this before and I'll say it again."

Here it comes, people...

"While I understand that the density of new neighborhoods is strong along that Western corridor and will be strong along the most Southern corridor, so that looks like that's our immediate need, I have a concern from a long-term perspective that, in 20 years when those neighborhoods have aged up and we've got a bazillion schools around the perimeter of the county, is that going to serve us well? We need to think globally about the positioning of schools with long-term in mind and build more towards the center of [the county]."

Globally? Uh, ok. So, even though we have been recognized as the fastest growing area of the county...  And, even though you have been told by Susan Evans that you matter and she will work for your family and your children...  And, even though you honestly believed that your support of the 2013 school bond would result in new schools in your crowded neighborhood...  Even though there is an "immediate need" (her words, not mine) for schools in our district, we're not going to get them.

As quoted in the N&O, "It’s easier to assign children to schools in the central areas of the county to balance population and diversity than to send them to schools farther away."

Let me say that in plain English. 

Schools will be built closer to Raleigh so diversity will be easier to achieve. And your kids are the next pawns in that system.

So, the joke's on you. Do you care now?


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