Group critical of school board's new direction

WAKE COUNTY A coalition that's critical of the new direction of the Wake School Board got a professor from Duke, UNC, and NC State, to share their research and thoughts Wednesday as to why ending the diversity policy is a bad idea.

They say some of the least qualified teachers would end up working there and turnover would be high. They believe students would suffer.

"No matter what we look at, the high poverty schools have teachers with the weakest credentials," Duke Econ. & Public Policy Professor Helen Ladd said.

They point to their own research which shows teacher turnover would be high, and it would cost more to attract and retain stronger teachers.

Kathleen Brown from UNC's School of Education says business leaders prefer students who come from diverse schools, who have experience with people from different races and different socioeconomic backgrounds.

"Our Fortune 500 companies do not want white cookie cutter graduates from Wake County," Brown said.

"There are good moral reasons to include diversity," added Paul Bitting an education philosopher from NC State.

The new majority on Wake's school board supports diversity too, but has argued the policy as it is written treats students unfairly and isn't working in terms of student achievement.

"I have to ensure that there is equal opportunity for every kid in Wake County and we currently don't have that," said John Tedesco, member of board majority, on February 3.

The student assignment committee is meeting Thursday to discuss the issue.

Meanwhile, there's a lot going on in anticipation of Tuesday's vote to end Wake County Schools' diversity policy.

The Great Schools in Wake Coalition is rallying more support against the new board majority. ABC11 Eyewitness News has learned the Wake clergy plans to hold a candlelight vigil Monday night in essence to pray for the new board.

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