The state NAACP is questioning whether the blue and green plans will avoid resegregating Wake County schools or promote student achievement more than old diversity policy.
In an open letter released today to Superintendent Tony Tata, the Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, says school leaders shouldn’t abandon the old efforts of trying to balance schools by family income levels. Barber also asks for a meeting with Tata before a possible school board vote on June 21 on which of the plans to use.
In the letter, Barber raises three questions:
* “What empirical data shows how the two proposals will further student achievement in ways beyond the diversity plan, which had a nationally recognized record of success here in Wake County, developed by (former) Superintendent Bill McNeal and his colleagues?" Barber asks.
* “If well over 90 percent of parents, in a survey last year, said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their children's schools, why would Wake County choose to abandon rather than simply improve such a plan and enable it to address the vibrant economic and population growth that it fueled?,” Barber asks. “Why does neither of these plans build on rather than abandon the McNeal plan?”
* “The empirical scholarship on education is virtually unanimous that diversity and resources are keys to student achievement,” Barber writes in the open letter. “How will either of the proposed plans ensure, with built-in and concrete corrective mechanisms that any significant increase in re-segregation will trigger, that Wake County will not create or increase racially identifiable, high-poverty schools?"
Tata said at today's news conference that he hadn't yet had a chance to review Barber's letter or decide whether to arrange a meeting with the NAACP before next week's vote.