Wake Diversity Policy Stays For Now

T. Keung Hui, News & Observer (Raleigh), February 25, 2010

A second attempt by the new Wake County school board majority to push through the elimination of busing for diversity in favor of neighborhood schools failed Wednesday when one of its members didn’t back the change.

New school board member Debra Goldman again broke ranks with the majority when she killed a motion Wednesday by refusing to second proposed changes in the student assignment policy.

Goldman was also one of the members of the majority who backed down on adopting the changes when they were introduced Dec.1, right after the newcomers took office.

Goldman stressed Wednesday that she’s still a critic of the current policy. But Goldman, who also split with the majority to pass a compromise resolution that doesn’t completely ban mandatory year-round schools, said more “due diligence” needs to occur before the student assignment policy is changed.

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Goldman’s position caused at least one group that supports the new board majority to say it’s beginning to have doubts about her.

“We have seen this nightmare before, where new school board members do not vote to do what they said they were going to do in their campaigns,” said Dallas Woodhouse, state director of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative advocacy group, in a written statement.

Not in my melting pot

Wake has received national recognition for trying to balance the percentages of low-income, low-performing, special education and limited English proficient students at individual schools.

But opposition to the diversity policy helped fuel the election of Goldman and three other board members last fall. They formed a new majority with veteran board member Ron Margiotta.

The proposed changes eliminate all references to diversity and prioritize the formation of neighborhood schools. New school board member John Tedesco justified the change by saying the current policy isn’t working.

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[Stories about the Wake County School Board election are listed here.]

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