National NAACP conference begins in Raleigh

December 3, 2010 5:45:36 AM PST
As the debate over school diversity simmers in Wake County, the NAACP brought its annual conference on education to Raleigh Thursday.

The Daisy Bates Education summit runs Thursday through Saturday. NAACP national president Benjamin Jealous will deliver an address Friday.

The summit is named for the activist who played the leading role in the historic integration of Little Rock, Arkansas schools in 1957.

In a news release, the NAACP said this week's conference will bring in "grassroots organizers from across the country to focus on moving the NAACP’s education agenda forward with a combination of traditional and innovative education organizing techniques conducted in concert with local allies."

In September, Jealous announced his organization has taken legal action against the Wake County Public School System over its decision to end a nationally-recognized socio-economic diversity policy.

Jealous said his group filed has filed a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department and the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education based on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, saying that Wake's new policies violate that law which says that the recipients of federal funds cannot discriminate on basis of race, color or national origin.

The U.S. Department of Education spends more than $77 million a year in Wake County.

The current majority on the Wake County School Board voted to move away from its long-standing diversity policy, and toward a community-based school assignment plan in a series of contentious meetings earlier this year.

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