Magnet school inequities

September 9, 2010 

We celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Campbell family's contribution to the civil rights movement by petitioning and then sending their son Bill to integrate Murphey School ("School integration enters its 50th year," Sept. 6 news article). This fete marked a significant triumph for all of Raleigh. The Campbell children - Ralph, Mildred, Bill and Eddie - have all excelled in their chosen fields.

In the Sept. 6 article, Bill Campbell calls the dismantling of Wake County's diversity policy old wine in new bottles. What do we call creating magnet schools in Southeast Raleigh that are loaded with extras to attract affluent families from other sections of the county while sending students out of Southeast Raleigh to attend just plain old traditional schools in other sections of the county?

Furthermore, how do you handle the data when it shows that the child from Southeast Raleigh, whether educated there or in the county at large, scores at the bottom of the charts? How do we examine this without being called re-segregationist or Uncle Toms?

The magnet school component of our diversity school assignment policy is nothing more than the repackaging of separate and unequal. All children should expect the same equal access to an extraordinary education. If we are going to augment the process then those who are being moved about should expect the same experience at the end of the bus ride, nothing less. It could be argued that those children that need the most are given the least.

It is only fitting that we review whether we have closed the achievement gap between the black and white race that was most assuredly exacerbated by the polices of slavery, Jim Crow and "separate but equal." I think currently we are deciding what metrics to use. That in itself is a good thing.

Dan Coleman

Raleigh

The writer is president of the Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association. The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response.

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