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Raleigh: Arrests as protests over re-segregation effort by fundie school board moves forward

This is a sickening and embarrassing here in the Triangle, as the national spotlight focuses on the effort by a fundie-controlled school board is drawing increasingly  passionate protests.

People outside of NC may think that this nonsense is being perpetrated by some Southern rednecks, but no, this is an example of transplants from the North (led by extremist chair Ron Margiotta, who is a founding director of the fundie organization Called2Action, well-known for its anti-gay, anti-reality-based thinking), who want to keep their children away from black and brown children under the guise of “neighborhood schools” — as in their white, middle and upper middle class suburbs. The diversity policy that has made Wake County (Raleigh and surrounding areas; Durham County has a separate system) schools recognized models for the nation is being broken down by fundamentalists who won seats on the school board.

Now we are seeing the parents and community leaders rise up in protest as segregation under a new moniker and approach is being forced upon the children in our “post-racial” era. Look at this video, via CNN:

The North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP and local African Methodist Episcopal Zion Churches held a mass mobilization march Tuesday in Raleigh, North Carolina, to protest the recent decision by the Wake County Board of Education to end a 10-year-old socioeconomic diversity plan for public schools. The school board voted 5-4 on March 23 to end “forced busing,” a method initiated in the 1970s to promote diversity in public schools.

Nearly 1000 people, including members of local church, community and advocacy groups, gathered at the Raleigh Convention Center and marched to the state capitol, according to local police and other officials.

As other counties ended busing and returned to neighborhood schools, the Wake County Public School System transformed the legislation in 1999, moving away from the traditional race-based integration policy and replacing it with a socioeconomic diversity program.

This plan attempted to balance the proportion of wealthy and poor students at county schools by moving students around, with a busing system based on the percentage of children that received subsidized lunches. To foster this diversity, some students traveled an hour from their homes to school, and some suburban students were bused to inner-city schools.

Parents frustrated by long drives and bus routes elected a school board that opposed the 1999 policy and imposed a new plan for neighborhood-based schools.

The new plan requires students to go to schools in their communities, often leaving black students in underachieving schools and white students in higher quality schools, Dorosin said.

And the strawman imagery of kids walking to “neighborhood schools” is appalling. Most of these kids are still getting on a bus and riding a good long way. Wake County is huge. No, everyone knows what this is about.

It’s a sad tale of progressive and centrist voters simply asleep at the wheel — not showing up to vote in these critical local elections — and the fundies with well-planned efforts to make inroads via local school boards. Wake up America — this is the kind of sh*te the social conservatives are trying to do under the radar.


* NC: Call2Action fundie chairs Wake County School Board, steering schools toward resegregation

* NC: NAACP’s Ben Jealous calls for Wake County School Board chair Margiotta to step down

* Study: Segregated schools are hurting U.S. competitiveness (hear that Wake County?)

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding