The Great Schools in Wake Coalition is going to use the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system as the boogeyman at today's Wake County school board meeting.
GSIW has asked Jim Henderlite, a member of the CMS Equity Committee and current board member of the Swann Fellowship to be one of today's speakers. Swann opposed ending busing for diversity in Charlotte.
Members of the old Wake school board had passed out Swann's reports about resegregation in Charlotte to justify keeping the diversity policy.
Henderlite said he has a personal stake in the issue because his grandson attends the magnet program at Douglas Elementary School.
"My son and his wife are very concerned about what might happen to Douglas under a neighborhood school assignment plan," Henderlite said in an e-mail message. "They are very happy there now and value the highly diverse student population that exists at Douglas."
Douglas Elementary, located near North Hills shopping center in Raleigh, was an example of a rim school who was badly hurt by the magnet program. The school board added the magnet program to Douglas in 1999 to help the school.
GSIW had also drawn the Wake-Charlotte comparison at Saturday's forum. One of the panelists was Amy Hawn Nelson, a doctoral candidate at UNC-Charlotte and a principal-intern at Lincoln Heights Elementary, a high-poverty Charlotte school.
Nelson said the number of extremely high-poverty schools in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system has increased since the district abandoned busing for diversity in favor of neighborhood schools in 2002.
"You don't have to guess what Wake County will look like in four years," Nelson said on Saturday. "You have a case study three hours down the road. It's not pretty."
Critics of the diversity policy will counter that Charlotte's low-income students outperform those in Wake. But supporters of the diversity policy say that the performance in Charlotte's high-poverty schools is much lower than in the more economically balanced schools.