The 22 former Wake County school board members who gathered together today were officially diplomatic about the changes being made by the new board majority, but it was clear they were personally unhappy with what's happening.
The former members talked about wanting "to ensure an equal opportunity for a sound basic education for every child in Wake County Public Schools." It was clear from their two-page statement that they feel "equal opportunity" is based on keeping the school district's longstanding busing for diversity efforts.
"For over 30 years, the Wake County Public School System has been a model for school districts around the nation," according to the statement read at today's press conference. "Because research consistently shows that challenges to success for all students in high poverty and racially isolated schools are greater, we have worked hard to prevent the creation of such schools."
At the end of the statement, they offered their services to work with the current board "to help ensure the worthy goal that each child in Wake County receives the equal opportunity and quality education he or she deserves." You may have a dispute between new and old board members about what that "equal opportunity" means.
Many of these same former board members who came today had signed a joint letter shortly before the October election endorsing school board candidates who supported the diversity policy.
Since then, several of these former members have joined groups such as the Great Schools in Wake Coalition and have spoken out publicly against the changes being made by the new board majority.
As noted in today's online article by Thomas Goldsmith, the diplomacy wore off after the statement was read.
"I think it's been shocking to us, the rapidity with which things went downhill," said former member Jeff York, who served from 2001 to 2003.
York was defeated by Ron Margiotta in 2003 for the Southwest Wake seat.
Click here for an article in the Independent that lists the statement read by the former school board members..