Home > Political Philosophy and Current Events, Politics > Wake County Public School System takes a stand for freedom, ignores fraudulent claims of racism.

Wake County Public School System takes a stand for freedom, ignores fraudulent claims of racism.

“Segregation.”

It’s a powerful word because it evokes powerful feelings. Hearing the word “segregation” instills in our minds images of violence, exclusion, and a bitter hatred of innocent men for no reason beyond the color of their skin. We remember a time when little boys and girls couldn’t ride the bus together or sit at the same lunch table for fear of being shouted down, bullied, or even arrested. We know it represents a dark, evil, and unforgivable period in American history.

Or do we? Perhaps not, if we listen to local NAACP leader and spokesman Rev. William Barber, who was arrested today on charges of trespassing while screaming and pleading with fellow activists to rebel against the Wake County public schools’ recent decision to resegregate. This would be a compelling tale of a brave man resisting police state oppression, if he were correct that the schools are resegregating at all. Unfortunately for the good reverend’s cause, they are not.

Actually, the Wake County School Board is relaxing government controls that previously forced students to attend schools far away from their homes based only on their parents’ socioeconomic status. The bizarre and somewhat authoritarian policy of redistributing thousands of students to new schools every year, which encumbered students’ social development and caused abnormally long bus rides, was created with the intention of improving school performance through increased racial diversity. It is unclear whether there was any reason at the time to believe that racial diversity would cause students or teachers to become smarter. However, it is abundantly clear now that the plan has not worked. In 2007-2008, an abysmal 18% of Wake County public schools met the already lax standards of adequate yearly progress under No Child Left Behind. That is not the mark of a successful government program.

Now the School Board has voted to eliminate much of the harsh policies that forced redistributing students across great distances, instead focusing its efforts on neighborhood schools to avoid long bus rides. The obvious benefits of this are multi-faceted and substantial. Consumption of gasoline will decline, providing schools with a small but precious way to save money in a time of across-the-board budget cuts. Carbon emissions will be slashed, as well. Most importantly, parents will have greater choice in where to send their children to school, and children will enjoy shorter bus rides and a more stable base of friends as they can attend the same school year after year, if, of course, that is what they want.

The School Board’s decision is an invaluable step forward in the movement to put parents back in charge of how their children are raised. The emotional issue of racial segregation is a fraud, a scapegoat set up to distract debate away from the real issue of school choice and throw advocates of freedom into an un-winnable game while busy-body school assignment officials try to retain some semblance of usefulness. Concerned parents cannot defend themselves against the accusation of being racist because the accusation is made without evidence, and therefore cannot be refuted with evidence. What they can do – and what we all must do – is stand our ground and never waiver in asserting our right to choice and freedom, not long bus rides and bureaucratic control.

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  1. Alex Dixon
    July 21, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    You have so clearly stated everything I have been thinking about this situation, and I applaud you for it. One thing I will mention, though, is that I personally believe the force used against Rev. Barber and Dr. Petty is unjustified.

  2. quouar
    July 22, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    (Janneke here) My thoughts are torn on this. On the one hand, blending students in the hopes that they’ll rub off on each other and create a happy medium is silly. Yes, mixing backgrounds does create a better environment, but not enough so to justify sending kids across the county.

    On the other hand, making kids living in poor neighbourhoods go to their severely under-funded schools leaves them at a disadvantage compared to how they might have done at a better funded school. I’m thinking of the urban school in the town where I used to live that was falling apart, had ancient books, and had something like a 50% graduation rate at best. Funding does make a serious difference in education, and depriving students of that makes a difference in their lives.

    In short, I commented because I felt like commenting. I honestly don’t know which side I agree with, but probably not the one you’re on.

  1. July 20, 2010 at 6:06 PM
  2. July 20, 2010 at 6:10 PM
  3. July 20, 2010 at 9:54 PM
  4. August 4, 2010 at 8:40 AM
  5. August 13, 2010 at 6:05 PM
  6. September 27, 2010 at 4:10 PM

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