The WakeEd blog is devoted to discussing and answering questions about the major issues facing the Wake County school system. How will the new student assignment plan balance diversity, stability, proximity and stability? How will Jim Merrill replace Tony Tata as the new superintendent of the state's largest district? How will voters react to a $810 million school construction bond referendum on Oct. 8 ballot? How will this fall's school board elections impact the future of the district?

WakeEd is maintained by The News & Observer's Wake schools reporter, T. Keung Hui. While Keung posts information and analysis on the issues, keep us posted on your suggestions, questions, tips and what you're doing to cope with the changes in Wake's schools.

Choose a blog

Attacking neighborhood schools and asking for forgiveness

Bookmark and Share

The comparison between Jim Crow racial segregation and the Wake County school board majority's plan for community-based schools was heavily stressed at Saturday's NAACP news conference.

The Rev. David Forbes, pastor of Christian Faith Baptist Church in Raleigh,  said the talk about neighborhood schools reminds him of what it was like having gone to segregated schools as a child. He said "neighborhood schools means that they use the best for them and leave the least for us."

"Before we would be slaves we would be buried in our graves and go home to be with the Lord and to be free," Forbes said to cheers. "But freedom is not free. We must roll up our sleeves, even if they are short sleeves. Roll them up. Get behind our leadership and get the job done. Wake County today, North Carolina tomorrow, the United States of America next week. Let's get the job done."

Forbes is a local civil rights legend who helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960. It's no coincidence that the news conference was held at his church.

The Rev. Nancy Petty, senior pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, was  the next speaker after Forbes.

"As a white person standing here this morning I feel like I ought to lead us in a time of confession on the part of my people," Petty said to first laughter and then applause. "Ask for your forgiveness because we've been part of a sinful time and I stand here before you to ask for your forgiveness and to join your hand in walking with you not as black and white but as one humanity."


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

One humanity?

I think they call this self-flagellation. She probably felt so good afterwards. 

This perspective imposes too much interest in labels to get to 'one humanity'.  How about if we stop labeling each other, or how about if we can at least agree to stop labeling children - as way of getting to one humanity? Americans are becoming so mixed now that it will become increasingly difficult for groups like the NAACP to impose their old agenda, which requires labeling. So, if I am 1/16th black can I join the NAACP? Is there a label for mixed black and white? Maybe I need one of those. Maybe we need to get back to the old labels that existed for different equations. Those were pretty specific.

Color does not equal American experience. What about 'new' white people who have moved to the US in the last 20 years or so? I know quite a few of those. Are they included in her umbrella apology, or are they exempt? Do they get a special label for being exempt or should we just assume they are 'guilty' based on their color? I also know black folks who have moved here from Africa in the last 20 years. How do they fit in? And what about all the other colors of Americans not mentioned in this sermon? Do they need their own emissaries to justify/explain the experience for all people of that color? If we're going to get to the 'new humanity' through self-labeling-flagellation, then they'll need to know. 

As long as the labeling continues we cannot get to 'one humanity'. 

SDR, My 3 children have all


My 3 children have all gone to elementary school and made friends with some (my label here) black children.  Each and every time, they have come home and described their new friends as either being "brown", "tan" or the girl with "really dark hair".  I wonder how many of these NAACP leaders children have come home and described their new white friends as "biege", "light brown" or "the girl with really light hair"?




When my child excitedly made a new friend two years ago - one of her best friends now - her father asked her which girl in her class she was (as he was vaguely familiar with a number of them from volunteering). She described everything about this child, her glasses, what she's good at, her laugh, her braids - except her color. It seemed she hadn't noticed that her new friend was a different color. 

When you really connect with someone this is about the last concern - for those who don't label, that is. 

Its sad how grownups keep churning the toxic junk. 

These two little girls do talk about their differences now, but mostly in the form of beauty tips. :)

Excuse me PETTY!!!  don't

Excuse me PETTY!!!  don't you EVER speak for me!!! Don't ever speak for my family, my friends and my neighbors.  YOU "lady" and I use that term loosely here....you have a lot to learn!  She must be missing something in her life, since she has been sucked into this whole racial arena with Barber and his goons!

Cary I agree with you...these folks have gone COMPLETELY over the edge.  I've got to the point I actually feel sorry for them, since the way they are caring on, etc....their own lives are empty and feel the need to fill it will all of this crap.

I am one...

of your neighbors and don't you speak for me!

Ever heard of irony?


Aqua never said he was speaking for you?

What did busing and status

What did busing and status quo thinking give us over the past 10 years?

  • Declining test scores among our most vulnerable students
  • Declining graduation rates among ED and black male and hispanic students
  • Systematic discrimination agasint ED and minority students in access to advanced math courses
  • An increasing number of high-poverty schools ... increased from 16 in 2001 61 today!
  • Repeated and massive reassignements
  • Lack of stability
  • Wide-scale parental discontent

Is this what Forbes and Petty are fighting for? Do they really want MORE failure?

Their race hustling rhetoric cannot disguise the facts.

My question is - what are

My question is - what are these community leaders getting out of this? Granted, they are getting their 15 minutes of fame, but where is the real reward? They are fighting against the same student assignment plan that is used in the rest of NC, and across the US. When will people say 'enough', you are wasting our time and especially our students' time? Who is at the top? The emperor (NAACP, AdvancED, WEP.... ) has no clothes, but I guess people have no shame any more.

"My question is - what are

"My question is - what are these community leaders getting out of this? Granted, they are getting their 15 minutes of fame, but where is the real reward?"

This is where I think you and woodstock fail to understand what is going on (seek first to understand and than be understood) ... you two keep concentrating on how bad things are in your mind and how good the majority is going to make the world ... what people keep thinking is what I have is ok and how much worse are the majority going to make it (e.g lose accreditation) ....the majority has been dictators pushing through their agenda without community involvement or consensus ... they have not concentrated on the things like funding, resources, VoTech that would instill confidence in a genuine interest in ED but they have spend much time on new lawyers, bell schedules, moving a few donor nodes ... 

"...what people keep

"...what people keep thinking is what I have is ok and how much worse are the majority going to make it."

Nope. No one is thinking that. There was no confidence in the old way ...the is hope and promise with the new ...and so far the mew board has made all the right moves, which is why the fringe opposition is in such a tizzy.

"...what people keep

"...what people keep thinking is what I have is ok and how much worse are the majority going to make it..."

You are right. This is exactly what some people are thinking. For years, some families have faced MYR, split calendars for their families, no regard for stability in assignment for their children. Others, meanwhile, have had none of the above. You cannot continue to sacrifice some for the benefit of others. Some adjustments will be needed but ultimately every family should have choice and increased stability.

"You cannot continue to

"You cannot continue to sacrifice some for the benefit of others"

The question becomes "is what some kids are going to be dealing with in the future (80%+ schools) worse than what others are have been dealing with so far?" 

If (if) high poverty schools impact student achievement levels, then there will just be different students sacrificing for the benefit of others.  And that set of others, quite honestly, probably doesn't need the help.


If high poverty schools impact student achievement, we must address that with academic solutions -- not busing, forced calendars and some strange concept of "healthy" schools. Why has it been OK for students to fail as long as it's not all in one school? The false perception of "No bad schools in Raleigh" has had economic benefits for Schmitt and Co. but has done nothing for the education of many students.

BTW, I don't believe stability, choice and keeping families together should just be "laudable goals" in a school system (as Harvey Schmitt called them recently). They should be part of the foundation of our school system for all families.

So how are the old guard

So how are the old guard power brokers, the magnet folks, and the NAACP all intertwined? I can see the old guard and the magnets - they've enjoyed a lion's share of WCPSS resources for years and are panicking they mightbhave to share, or endure some of what the rest have put up with for years. But I don't get the NAACP .

The NAACP is losing its

The NAACP is losing its appeal as we progress into the 21st Century ..a lot of folks do not understand why they are still around or what their purpose is. I think part of their Wake County presence is to appear legitimate. But I think we should focus more on Barbar himself. I think this is a career-building exercise for him. He desperately wants a national-level position and he sees the fabricarted issues in Wake County as his ticket to a more prestigious opportunity. That is my take.

Yes - I see that with

Yes - I see that with Barber, but why is he getting support from the 'old guard'.   The N&O breathlessly publishes every utterance, and notes w/ glee that 'this is what the new board gets' for changing things... or are they just letting him continue to be a distraction.  I noticed Meeker has stepped way back into the shadows.

Looks like there was an informal truce - Barber got to brag about 'busing for diversity' and how he's 'helping his people', and the ITB crowd was happy that all 'those kids' are bused out and magnet kids are bused in (and that they supported 'diversity').    Now - Barber may be making a little too much noise for the comfort of some ... this accreditation mess probably has a few folks rattled - not too many businesses will relocate here if the schools are not accredited.  I guess the CC race is the big battleground for November.  

Still, there has to be so much more.  

"My people...?" Petty is

"My people...?" Petty is delusional.

It is amazing to me the lack

It is amazing to me the lack of respect these people have for their neighbors. They are essentially saying their communities and the people in them are do not possess the ability or will to support their children's academic pursuits. They are enabling a defeatest attitude and perpretuating dependency. It is very sad and down-right disturbing to witness this pathetic spectacle.

"As a white person standing

"As a white person standing here this morning I feel like I ought to lead us in a time of confession on the part of my people," Petty said
Talk about arrogant, she has appointed herself as spokesperson for an entire race.  I do believe these people have gone completely over the edge.

And all God's people said:


Cars View All
Find a Car
Jobs View All
Find a Job
Homes View All
Find a Home

Want to post a comment?

In order to join the conversation, you must be a member of newsobserver.com. Click here to register or to log in.

About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.