Supporters of the diversity policy are trying to mobilize magnet school parents for Election Day.
Former school board member Roxie Cash and former Wake County PTA Council President Diana Bader sent out an e-mail message today warning that a victory by supporters of neighborhood schools would lead to the end of the magnet program.
Jennifer Mansfield, one of the leaders of the Wake Schools Community Alliance, calls the assertions "fear mongering on election eve." She denies that a win by WSCA candidates would lead to the end of magnet schools.
It's a fair question to ask what would happen if the four WSCA candidates win and join Ron Margiotta to form a new majority on the school board. Margiotta made waves this year when he discussed elimination of the magnet program as a cost-cutting measure.
One thing to consider is that if the thousands of students who are now assigned out of magnet schools are returned home, where's the room for the magnet kids?
Here's the e-mail message from Bader and Cash:
Wake Diversity Policy Supports All Children, Magnet Programs and Taxpayers
Dear Community Leader:
The harsh reality of “neighborhood schools” is resegregation. Period. Another reality: Neighborhoods in Wake County are not socio-economically diverse.
A significant ingredient of Wake’s Diversity Policy is Magnet Schools which one of several objectives is to reduce high concentrations of poverty by drawing students from the suburbs. A policy of resegregation or “neighborhood schools” indicates the Magnet Schools won’t be needed! We’ll find ourselves wondering, “Where did all the magnet schools go?”
Thus, with “neighborhood schools,” the 10,000 to 26,000 children that come into the magnet schools, depending on where the “neighborhood school” attendance lines are drawn, will now go to their “neighborhood schools.” Where will these children have seats? Resegregation creates the need to build more schools and also add more resources to support the high poverty schools and children.
More schools and more resources require more money and the source of more money is more taxes!
Currently, with the School System’s Diversity Policy, 80% of all children and 91% of elementary school children attend a school within a 5 mile radius of home!
Let’s make certain that each and every child has access to the best educational opportunities available regardless of race or socio-economic status and that we keep our Magnet Schools without increasing our taxes. Wake County ’s Diversity Policy has proven to be the most cost effective program to ensure that every child gets this chance.
The children and taxpayers of Wake County need Lois Nixon, Rita Rakestraw , Karen Simon and Horace Tart on the School Board who share this vision for each and every child.
Please vote tomorrow, Tuesday, October 6th.
Diana Bader, Cary citizen
Roxie Cash, Raleigh citizen
Here's Mansfield's response on her Voice for Equity blog:
Fear Mongering on Election Eve
It has come to my attention that an email containing falsehoods is circulating this evening. Written by Diana Bader and Roxie Cash, the email claims that if the 4 candidates supported by WSCA get elected, it will mean the disappearance of magnet schools. This is FALSE. None of our candidates have ever said that they would get rid of magnet schools. This rumor has appeared before and when asked directly if he would get rid of magnet schools in low income areas, Chris Malone responded "No. Why would we get rid of a successful program?" Other candidates have expressed interest in expanding magnet opportunities and ending the magnet acceptance policy that discriminates against low income children and any child assigned to a school over 40% F&R.
Supporters of the status-quo are willing to say anything they have to to maintain control of our school system. WSCA and the candidates we support, John Tedesco, Chris Malone, Debra Goldman and Deborah Prickett do not advocate for the removal of magnets nor do we advocate throwing everything out and starting from scratch. These candidates will do what current and former Board of Education members have been unwilling to do: honestly assess what is working and what is not working in WCPSS and make recommendations for improvement.
I urge you all to see through the lies and half-truths being spread and vote for positive change tomorrow!