Residents on opposing sides address Wake board

January 20, 2011 9:11:24 PM PST
It's a tale of two communities in the Wake County Schools' diversity debate.During a reassignment meeting Thursday night in Garner, the school board majority received an outpouring of support.

Most of the people who came out to the meeting support the move to neighborhood schools.

Many thanked the board majority for their efforts, but there were a few speakers who expressed their concerns about the change.

"It's outstanding the efforts that you have put forth and the sacrifices that you've given," Wake County resident Jane Wilson said.

"There is a cost to our children standing at bus stops in the dark at 6:25 a.m. to go to a school that is unfamiliar to them," Wake County resident Venita Peyton said.

"They're not growing up with their friends," Garner Resident Paul Capps said. "They're not going to school with their neighbors. We are fragmenting the social stability."

There was also plenty of praise for Board Member John Tedesco in his district.

"John Tedesco is informed, engaged," Capps said.

The comments come after Tedesco was personally slammed on a Comedy Central TV show Tuesday night, in which comedian Steven Colbert ridiculed the Wake County School System for taking diversity out of student assignment.

Click here to watch all of Colbert's comments.

Other speakers at Thursday's meeting, like Chris Simes, criticized the board for the negative attention.

"You have taken our nationally recognized school system and you've turned us into a national joke," Simes said.

However, people also spoke about the board's decision to do away with diversity and asked the board to reconsider the move.

"This change in the diversity plan is not the right plan," Garner resident David Prince said.

"You have created policies that created a mockery of America's children by only providing access to the latest educational technologies to your golf club buddies and your tea party girlfriend's children," concerned parent Jamal Brown said.

Governor Bev Perdue is also talking about the recent negative attention the Wake County School Board has been receiving.

Perdue told the Greensboro News and Record, "I was unhappy we were on Colbert, watching what was 'YouTubed' around the world. I was unhappy about that ... if you're a business leader, you don't want to come to an area where the schools are in disarray."

The governor also says the subject of public schools usually comes up in business recruiting meetings.

Meanwhile, There is still one more student assignment hearing left. That one is scheduled for Monday at Cary High School.

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