John Hood argues that "the Left" has failed in its defense of the Wake County school system's old socioeconomic diversity policy.
In a column today, Hood, president of the conservative John Locke Foundation, writes that "the Left" has failed to generate a ground swell of support for restoring Wake's "forced busing" policy. He says a big reason is that liberals don't have the data to show that the policy has improved the achievement of Wake's disadvantaged students.
"Liberals have tried to convince the public to embrace a policy that hasn’t achieved its stated goal of improving achievement among disadvantaged students," Hood writes. "And in doing so, liberals have disregarded the public’s opinions, insulted the public’s intelligence, and questioned the public’s moral character."
Hood points to how Wake's low-income students are performing below Charlotte-Mecklenburg and the state average on reading and math tests. He also notes how Wake's low-income and black students have a graduation rate below the state average.
Hood argues that you can't blame the test data on Wake not following through on the diversity policy when districts with greater concentrations of higher poverty schools are doing better with those students.
Without the test data, Hood says "the Left" has inappropriately tried to use the tactics of the civil rights movement to back their case.
"To assert that today’s conservative politicians and activists – and the majority of North Carolina voters, of all backgrounds, who agree with them on this issue – are little more than modern-day Klansmen is to seek to offend and provoke, not to persuade," Hood writes.
Hood also calls it "phony-baloney" to says that Wake only buses 3 percent of its students for diversity.
"If true, what’s all the hullabaloo about?," Hood writes. "A shift of three percent of students couldn’t possibly affect the socioeconomic balance of schools enough to be consequential, much less calamitous."