May 07 2010

School Choice

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Most scholars recognize that the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Brown v Board of Education case was a landmark decision for the civil rights movement. Technically then 1954 was the end of racial segregation in American schools…at least on paper. But, over time it became evident that pronouncing an end to de jure segregation did little to alter the practices that contributed to persisting de facto segregation revealing how deeply embedded cultural beliefs about race and literacy are within the American educational system. Today, more than fifty years after the Brown decision, some might think that the exigence surrounding school integration has abated. However, recent national debates over student assignment policies have turned our attention to the possibility that our schools could become resegregated. This panel will examine Wake County, North Carolina a school district that has been hailed as a national model for socio-economic diversity in K-12 education. A March 2010 school board vote to change the district’s student assignment policy has been called racist by the NAACP who argues that the revised plan will resegregate the school system and create high poverty schools. Proponents of changing the student assignment policy, on the other hand, argue that Wake County has “an at-risk model of education” attributing this crisis to two primary causes: diversity and busing.


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