The Wake County school board marked the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation ruling by passing a resolution Tuesday that shows “its commitment to building equity and opportunity for all students.”
School board members talked about the importance of the Brown ruling and the benefits of attending desegregated schools. The resolution comes as board members are wrestling with how much of a priority to place on achievement/diversity in developing the new student assignment plan.
School board member Susan Evans kicked things off by talking about how much things have changed since she attended segregated schools.
"We all know that no child is born a racist,” Evans said. “If we were racist or our families were racist, that was something we were taught. No child is born as a racist.
And so what I've been reflecting on. like as I said, I saw great changes during my lifetime. But even more special is that my children, a generation later who benefited from desegregated schools, are mostly color blind, and I think that's a marvelous thing.
Now I know we've still got a long way to go in completely eliminating racism in our society, but I think it's important for us to acknowledge while the original intent for Brown vs. Board was certainly to provide equal education opportunities for all students because separate was never equal, but I think we should never lose sight of how important the desegregation of our public schools were in eliminating racism in this country."
During the discussion of the resolution, school board member Jim Martin talked about the 1954 ruling still resonating today.
"When one looks at the issues surrounding the need for that ruling, as the news and lots of perspectives show, we have the same need today to pay attention to the very issues that led to that ruling,’ Martin said. “In that context, I found it important and insightful to go and read some of the language from the ruling itself and recognize how contemporary it is, and that is the context for this resolution with the final resolve clause reaffirming our commitment to ensuring equity across our school system."
School board member Keith Sutton brought up the findings in the recent “ Brown at 60” report issued by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. Sutton got the board to include wording in the resolution talking about the segregation that Hispanic students now experience and the benefits that students face attending integrated schools.
Click here to view a copy of the resolution, minus the wording that was added at the table by Sutton.