This week, JLF’s Dr. Terry Stoops was quoted by Education Week in an article focused on the racial and socio-economic imbalances between schools in the Wake County public school district. According to the reporter, Christina Samuels:
10 years ago, voters [in Wake County] who were angered by frequent school reassignments because of massive growth in the district elected a Republican-backed school board majority that promised change. That board created a neighborhood-based student assignment policy, eliminating the goal of socioeconomic diversity altogether.
That particular school assignment policy lasted only one year. The board members who favored it were voted out of office two years later, and ever since, the board has been under the control of a Democratic-backed majority.
…But up to this point, the school board has not reinstated a policy that aims for a specific demographic balance within schools.
While the Democratic-led school board may hypothetically be in favor of integration-motivated reassignment, Stoops argues their inaction on this issue signals board members’ acknowledgment that their constituents are not in favor of more reassignment. The story quotes Dr. Stoops:
“[T]heir unwillingness to make this change over the last eight years is an effort to keep the board in the hands of a Democrat-backed majority. This is an instance where politics trumps their ideology,” he said.
Parents’ disfavor of this policy is reflected in comments by the school board chairman, Jim Martin:
“I try not to just walk around with my head in the clouds,” [Martin] said. Whatever the district decides to do will require support from parents and the business community, which was one of the original drivers of integration in the region. It can’t just involve moving students around on buses, he said.
“Our board is very cognizant that we cannot just be a board of education that goes out and says ‘rah rah, we’re doing this.’ We have to make it a community effort.”
Dr. Terry Stoops hasn’t seen any such efforts:
“There doesn’t seem to be any active effort to reach out to parents and ask them whether they desire this, or whether this would make their decision to stay in the Wake County public schools or go to a school of choice any different.”