Jamil Smith, producer of the liberal "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC, questions whether the Wake County school board election results "really matter" because the old diversity policy isn't being reinstituted.
In a post today on The Maddow Blog, Smith writes that the GOP board majority "has been pushing a nouveau-segregationist 'neighborhood schools' plan. He writes that "on its face," Kevin Hill's victory "would seem to spell the end for the idea of resegregating the county's schools."
But Smith then points to how Hill and other members of the new Democratic majority "aren't saying that they'll reverse what the Republicans did" when they dropped the socioeconomic diversity policy. He points to Kevin Hill saying they'll only make a few tweaks to the new student assignment plan.
"Now, keep in mind: the Wake County school system has been a national model for school integration," Smith writes. "The district is not particularly diverse along racial lines, but its schools have reflected socio-economic diversity for a long time now.
The Republican 'neighborhood schools' plan aimed to completely undo that progress, concentrating poorer students in inevitably poorer schools. And Mr. Hill thinks all that needs only a few tweaks?"
Locally, Heather Losurdo and board vice chairman John Tedesco had charged that Hill's support for having seat set-asides at high-performing schools for students from low-performing areas was a return to forced busing. Smith isn't impressed with Hill's idea.
"How taking the extreme Separate but Unequal, 2.0 and 'tweaking' it into a slightly more palatable 3.0 serves the interests of voters in Wake County, only those voters can answer," Smith writes. "Yes, Democrats stood up to 2.0, but they were hemming and hawing on replacing it before they won the majority. That may have helped them get elected.
But the consequences of their election appear to be scrapping what was working, and then diluting the Republican plan replacing it. How much, then, does last night's victory really matter?"
This comes after Maddow, like a number of other liberal commentators, have praised the Democratic takeover of the school board.