Quotable Quote of the Month

What does it take for Republicans to take off the flag pin and say, 'I am just too embarrassed to be on this team'?".- Bill Maher

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Guest Post by Joanna: Controversy Erupts In North Carolina Over School Busing

Police arrest protesters at a school board meeting on 7/20/10 in Raleigh, NC

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.

Recommended read:

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:


Joanna said...

No one wants to talk about busing? About school issues? About the crappy society that we live in that cares so little about Black and Hispanic kids that the only way they can get an adequate education in many cases is to go to school miles and miles away from home with white kids?

Dave Vacilek said...

As usual, I preface my comments with a disclaimer that I am a white, middle-aged male that leans to the right on several major issues. This is not one of them. It seems blatantly racist to split the kids up like this and also sets race relations back several decades. How do they think that this would go unnoticed? Kids have a hard enough time the way it is. Why mess with them even more by imposing racism into them from the get-go? This is just one of many reasons that my wife and I choose to homeschool.

Joanna said...

Dave- the whole idea of "community based schools" seems to be code word for "segregated schools". I believe that the school budget should also not be tied into local property taxes, because that also leads to inequality in funding, which of course leads to inequality in educational quality.

Malcolm said...

It's a shame that the Wake County BOE has forgotten a cardinal rule in life: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I had a friend who taught in a Detroit public school and she used to tell me about the deplorable conditions, apathy on the part of students/other teachers, etc. Wake County will likely face a fate similar to Detroit and other places if the BOE ends the busing program.

Joanna said...

All because little Becky's parents are afraid she is going to bring Hakim home for dinner some day. That is really what it is all about.

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