Wake County Schools Superintendent Del Burns said today he just couldn't stay on and implement the new school board majority's policies.
In an interview with the N&O today, Burns specifically cited concerns over the elimination of weekly Wednesday early dismissals and proposed elimination of the diversity policy.
“Once they [school board] set a direction, then it’s very important for the direction to be embraced, for folks to be passionate about it,” Burns said. “I have some other opinions and some other beliefs and to stay on as superintendent and implement policies I’m concerned about is wrong. It’s wrong for me.”
Burns acknowledged that the current assignment system can be improved, but he said he’s worried about what could be implemented in its place.
“If you were to abandon [the diversity policy] and have students going to their closest school, and I don’t know what that means, one of the concerns that I would have would be would you then be developing a system of rich schools and poor schools?” Burns said.
Burns said increasing the number of high-poverty schools would require significantly increasing the amount of money spent in those schools. But he questioned the ability to sustain academic progress at high-poverty schools, saying that the examples cited by critics of the diversity policy are the exception..
Burns said he was also unhappy that the board had dropped the weekly early dismissals that allowed teachers to hold one-hour planning sessions to focus on how to improve student achievement. Some parents have called the early dismissals “wacky Wednesdays.”
Despite the public airing of his differences, Burns said he feels he can
still effectively work with board members over the next four months.