School board election heating up

October 4, 2009 4:21:10 PM PDT
Some hot-button issues are taking center stage in the upcoming Wake County School Board election.One of the biggest is the school system's diversity policy.

Few will argue about the intentions of Wake County School System's policy. It allows them to shuffle kids between schools to create a better balance. But many argue about its effectiveness.

"It's time to quit the experiment and start treating the students with the respect they deserve," Vice-Chairman of the Wake County Republican Party Susan Bryant said.

"We as a community, many residents and parents believe the diversity policy is working and it is serving and meeting the needs of the children, which ensures academic success for all children," said Calla White with the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African-American Children.

That issue has both sides gearing up for a public relations fight days before voters pick four new members of the Wake County School Board.

Bryant says lower income students are getting lost in the shuffle in the name of diversity.

"The report on the experiment that just came out that says our graduation rate among disadvantaged students continues to drop," she said. "I don't think any of us would be arguing if we saw a huge increase and improvement, but we're wasting resources that need to get to the kids."

However, Wright urges voters to support candidates who will uphold the policy.

"We are fearful of schools becoming re-segregated again we look at the civil rights movement and the struggles that many of the civil rights leaders endured for our schools to become integrated and diverse," she said.

Several news conferences are scheduled for Monday from groups for and against the diversity policy, so they can get their opinions heard before the election.

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