Expert says he has answer for Wake diversity

Consultant meets with NAACP to discuss diversity

July 28, 2010 8:57:25 PM PDT
The NAACP has met with a national education expert who says he might have a compromise in the diversity fight in Wake County.Education Consultant Michael Alves explained to a small audience on Wednesday how Controlled Choice would achieve racial integration, while establishing community schools in the county.

To read more about what Controlled Choice is click here

"This may be a framework, a framework that may make some sense now for the Wake County school district," Alves said.

Under Controlled Choice, Alves says Wake County would be divided into community zones, each one would include poverty and wealth as well as have schools that offer the same courses and programs. He says in order for the model to work, there has to be equity.

"This is Wake, so you need to get to the point where, just like the idea that none of the zones would have high poverty schools or low-achieving schools, well that now has to be a part of your criteria," Alves said.

The president of the state NAACP, Reverend William Barber, maintains that socio-economic diversity should be a key factor in student assignment that's why he's calling on the school board to rescind its resolution and return to the original plan.

"Don't make socio-economic diversity a bad word, a bad thing," Barber said. "Embrace it and then say over the next few months we're going to develop a plan then put your new plan beside the old plan and show that the new plan is better."

He says he likes some aspects of Controlled Choice, but still wants the board to return to the old student assignment model.

"The devil is in the details," Barber said. "So I don't think today is a matter of accepting or not accepting. This is not a game; this is not a quick thing."

But that is something board member John Tedesco says will not happen. Tedesco released a statement Wednesday saying in part, "It feels like most of our community is trying to work together to find what's best for Wake County children, families, and our public education system. Mr. Barber doesn't seem interested in that at this time."

Alves' meeting with the NAACP came just one day after he met with Wake County school board members.

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