The Wake County Board of Education is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to end Wake’s nationally recognized income-based busing policy, the New York Times reports.
"At stake is the direction of the 140,000-student school system — the largest in America to consider family income in school placements. Wake has long been the most prominent example of a district that dropped race-based busing, which courts have ruled unconstitutional, in favor of trying to achieve economic diversity in the schools."
Click here to read the full story.
Charlotte gets a mention in the story for its decision in 2002 that "eliminated busing for diversification, leading to rapid repolarization of schools by race and income.
“My feeling is that it’s very important for people in Wake to drive over to Charlotte and see what’s happened,” said Gary Orfield, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, who studies school busing."
In the comments section, a few thoughts from Charlotte readers, who support or take issue with Orfield's view:
- I am a graduate of and currently a teacher in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. When I was growing up Charlotte had a wonderful, diverse, equitable school system that produced highly-educated students. We had busing for desegregation coupled with very strong magnet programs. Just living in a "good" part of town did not entitle you to any better a school than any other family in the county. In the late 1990s some residents (I will suggest that many of them were recent arrivals in Charlotte) started clamoring for our system to be dismantled. Now we have become a very divided district. There are many "poor" schools and many "rich" schools and not a lot in between. ...Raleigh would be wise to not start down the road that Charlotte is on.
- Things were not so rosy here under busing, with a wide achievement gap (of course all schools looked "good" because the high achieving students balanced out the low achieving students). But that did not mean that minority students were receiving a good education. In addition the population of the district more than doubled over the past twenty years--more traffic, more schools, more diversity, and more poverty. Busing was no longer serving the community well. Currently we do not have "pooor" schools and "rich" schools, as Margaret says. We do have schools that are serving predominately high poverty children; however, these schools receive far greater funds than the schools serving low poverty students. The many needs that our high poverty students bring with them to school are being addressed in their neighborhood schools, which does not happen under busing.
- Doug Miller