Earlier this week, I contacted Joanna (whose blog is titled My Name Is JuJuBe) and asked if she was interested in writing a guest post about the controversy brewing down in Wade County (located in North Carolina) over school busing. She offered up the following:
In 1954, Brown vs. the Board of Education ruled that schools segregated by race were inherently unequal, and therefore not permitted under the US Constitution. Yet in 2010, we have an educational system in this country where more Black and Hispanic students attend segregated schools then did forty years ago. Two out of five African American and Hispanic students today attend intensely segregated schools. Not only are schools segregated by race, there is also extreme segregation based on socioeconomic levels. And schools located in low income areas are often staffed poorly, funded inadequately, and negatively impacted by high rates of drop outs and violence.
In 1999 the Wake County Board of Education (NC) implemented a busing program designed to combat socioeconomic segregation in schools. The socioeconomic based busing program was designed to promote diversity and equality within the school district, and has been seen as a model program for school desegregation. But, the Wake County BOE now wants to end the program and move towards a community based school model. Since residential patterns are largely determined by race and socioeconomic status, a move away from busing could potentially result in Black and Hispanic children being sent to schools that are racially and economically segregated.
Since the federal courts stopped their oversight of a busing program in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district in 1999 (which had been a model school district in terms of racial and socioeconomic integration) due to the fact that the goal of integration had been supposedly been achieved, the district reverted to previous levels of segregation and inequality, and the Black and Hispanic communities in Wake County fear that their children will be attending “separate and unequal” schools if the district decides to stop IT’S busing program.
Reverend William Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP has this to say:
"It's time that the Wake County school board officials wake up and realize how a model for resegregation will damage not only our state, but the basic principles of our nation, It's time to say no to resegregation and say yes to diversity and school excellence." "Neighborhood-schools [policy] not only separates bodies, it separates the budget, the buildings, the teachers -- basically, all the building blocks of education. What you end up with is a district that's high in poverty, high in turnover, and high in underachievement."
It is unfortunate that in 2010, a Black or Hispanic student cannot obtain equal educational opportunities UNLESS they are sent to a school with white students. In a perfect world, residential segregation would not exist. Children would be able to attend ANY school and receive a first class education. But the truth is, even in 2010 schools with a majority-minority student body are NOT funded, staffed and administered properly. Until the inequality in schools have been addressed, Black and Hispanic children, especially those who are classified as “low income” cannot receive an adequate education UNLESS measures are taken to counter the effects of racial and economic segregation in residential patterns.
The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America by Jonathan Kozol
Below is the Reverend Barber's 7/21/10 appearance on The Ed Show with Ed Schultz: