Old school board members criticize new direction

April 26, 2010 3:03:04 PM PDT
Twenty-two former members of the Wake County Public Schools Board of Education lined up Monday to criticize the new direction of the district in a news conference.

The group, who served as far back as the 1970s, says a move to create community schools at the expense of diversity is a mistake.

Click here to read the group's statement (.pdf)

"We feel like diversity in our schools is extremely important," offered former chairman Patti Head.

"We need to make sure that all children have an equal opportunity to a good education," said former chairman Rosa Gill.

They don't believe that'll happen when they county is divided into zones as proposed by John Tedesco last week. They fear resegregation and problems they witnessed in the 70s.

"People that were moving into Wake County were moving into Cary, Garner, Millbrook, where it was predominantly white," said former chairman Alvin Roy Tilley. "The city of Raleigh was becoming more minority and they could close schools like this one right here."

Tilley referred to the Murphey School, which now serves as apartments. It used to be a Raleigh township school before the city and county merged to form one school system. Over the past decade, former school board members agreed to bus students to create diversity county-wide. The hope was to help economically challenged students succeed.

Critics say it hasn't worked.

"Unfortunately, the previous school board members who were speaking this morning are the ones who put us in this position. We've had academic standards that have plummeted and have fallen woefully short for those in our most fragile community," charged Joey Stansbury with WakeCares.

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