Superintendent, NAACP president talk diversity

March 2, 2011 6:03:23 PM PST
The Wake County schools' diversity debate was front and center again Wednesday.

Superintendent Tony Tata met with North Carolina NAACP President William Barber at school board headquarters on Wake Forest Road in Raleigh.

The meeting came after Barber sent the new Wake County superintendent a letter of prayers and best wishes. He also said he looked forward to sitting down with him to discuss Wake County schools.

Tata replied that he also looked forward to a sit down in private to have an honest conversation about working together to increase student achievement for all children in Wake County.

Click here to read the letter

When the Wake County school board majority voted to eliminate socio-economic diversity as a factor in student assignments, Barber called it a move toward school re-segregation.

Heading into the meeting Wednesday, Barber told ABC11: "We believe the members of the school board who voted to dismantle a plan without a plan are extreme, and are going backwards. The question is are we going to go forward? Are we going to be true to the lessons learned in history?"

Rev. Barber says he wants to stop actions that would dismantle the diversity policy.

Tata, who works for the school board that has conservative members pushing a neighborhood schools policy, formally requested last month the responsibility to create a new school/student assignment plan.

He said he would create a task force of school system personnel which will have the responsibility of taking a plan submitted by the Wake Education Partnership and The Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, and other plans discussed during a listening tour, to create a long-term student assignment plan by late spring. The group will also address under-enrolled schools and bring monthly updates to the board for input.

And while Wednesday's meeting between Tata and Rev. Barber was private, Tata will be publicly meeting with some student assignment critics on Thursday at the Martin Street Baptist Church.

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