I’ve been watching the fight over ending Socio-economic busing in Wake County for over a year now. I’ve watched a very vocal minority drag everything but the kitchen sink into this issue and have on more than one occasion felt thoroughly nauseated at the circus it has turned into in the national news. Over this past weekend, at an event celebrating Martin Luther King Day, Mayor Charles Meeker decided to put his two cents in and attack the board while giving his speech. The political addition of his remarks was wholly inappropriate not to mention biased, as his wife sits on the minority opinion side of the Board. I had enough after the 60’s style sit-in and subsequent series of arrests at School Board meetings led by Reverend Barber of the NAACP.
Those opposed to ending “Diversity” busing conveniently have ignored that it is paid for by the taxpayers of Wake County to the tune of $5 million roughly in a $72 million dollar busing budget a year. In a time when budgets are shrinking at a frightening rate, it’s easy to play the race card than admit to that fact. Then again it’s very easy to round-up a group of about twenty or thirty kids and stick signs in their hands.
The attacks on the Board have been building one upon the other, with a theme in the background of a return to segregation and therefore this must be a racist act. That theme has lent itself to pot shots of the Board members being Republicans, yet School Board elections have no party affiliations nor have the political affiliations of the new members been confirmed or denied but news outlets keep running with it. That’s O.K. though, continue to harp on it and eventually those protesting will make it true with the help of the Media. Don’t pay any attention to the fact these people were elected by the majority of voters because they ran on the platform of moving back to neighborhood based school assignments. I find the noise level of those protesting the re-assignment a bit hard to stomach since they all but abandoned other meetings regarding Wake Schools.
There obviously is a strong section of parents out there who want their kid to go to the school nearest their home. Does that make them racists? I think not, but instead wanting their kids to be in familiar surroundings, close to home and at schools with the kids they see and play with outside the classroom. It’s just unheard of for wanting your kid not to have to wake up while it’s still night out, hungry and tired most likely, and be on a bus at 6:30 am to take a forty-five minute ride past at least three or four appropriate schools. All of that in the name of making our schools more equal but really what it means is spreading test scores out evenly across the county (shortening score gaps) and correcting perceived social injustices. To some it may be an ugly thought, but people live where they want to live for a reason. It follows that ‘good’ schools are part of that reason if not a primary reason. Just slap the Magnet label on them and make it look more respectable and less like hiding the failings of some schools? Yeah, sure. Problem solved!
When that didn’t gain traction, attacks on John Tedesco being linked to the Tea Party by having a “Like” on his Facebook page – quite a smoking gun and proof positive he is in cahoots with the evil Tea Party. We all know what racists the Tea Partiers are, therefore this change in policy cannot stand and must be based on racism. Yep, that’s the ticket! Blame the Tea Party with no proof of anything, that always works!
Leave it to the Washington Post to lead the charge in such high quality one-sided investigative journalism. Of course that has led to a slew of other bloggers taking up arms with absolutely no idea what they are talking about but instead regurgitating falsehoods they wish to be true.
Not one article I’ve managed to find does its homework on the roots of busing for desegregation, the Supreme Court ruling that you cannot bus based on race alone, or that this same turn of events has already occurred once in North Carolina and the decision to end busing was upheld: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. None of the articles I’ve read talk about the test scores not improving or how discipline problems have risen in schools where kids are bused from ‘struggling’ schools to ‘rich suburban’ schools. The supporters of the “Diversity” program aren’t interested in the idea that busing is not solving the problem that some kids are not reading past a fourth grade level. It has to be about making classrooms look like a Benetton advertisement so they can alleviate any guilt they might have about the kids that are indeed being left behind in the system.
It’s my assertion, and I am not alone by a long shot in this thinking, that until you address the reasons any particular school is failing no amount of busing in and out will solve it. Throwing money at a problem rarely makes it go away but, more often than not, makes said problem come back in search of more money. Whether that be lack of funding, location being crime ridden, drugs, discipline/violence on campus, poor teachers or lack of parental participation depends on the individual school. It may very well be all of the above. This mentality that the needs and wants of the few should outweigh the needs and wants of the many has become a dangerous trend.
Other underlying factors that these proponent of the School Board won’t touch with a ten foot pole deal with the powerful teachers union in North Carolina which is among others in the area allying with the AFL-CIO and the push-back from them on moving to a performance based salary versus the current accreditation based system. The protestors have recently upped the ante again by involving the accrediting firm that accredits Wake County Schools as another means to apply pressure and keep this bandwagon to illiteracy on the right track.
None of the problems with some kids not learning could possibly be that their teachers are sub-par seeing as up until last year teachers in NC got raises in excess of 5% for the last decade while other state employees were given less than 2% raises or no raises at all. Of course it can’t be the testing either or the fact that instead of failing kids who need to fail because they just aren’t learning, we are passing them by lowering the bar. Afterall, if no one is left behind then no one ever will be ahead… or as a wise man once said to me “Social Justice is less about justice and more about making everyone exactly the same to ensure that no one is exceptional in any way, especially monetarily… and thereby ensuring the misery of an entire populace for their own good.” Indeed.