Wake Ed

Book gives insight on views on Wake County school assignment

Toby Parcel and Andy Taylor gave some tantalizing details about community views on student assignment in Wake County during their book signing Thursday night at Quail Ridge Books & Music.

The N.C. State University professors are co-authors of the new book “The End of Consensus: Diversity, Neighborhoods, and the Politics of Public School Assignments,” which explores Wake County student assignment from 2000 to 2012. As part of the research for the book, they surveyed 1,700 Wake County adults on their views on assignment, neighborhood schools and diversity.

Here are some of the survey highlights they shared Thursday:

▪ Affluent African Americans favored diversity more than their lower-income counterparts. Parcel said that might reflect how lower-income African-American families were likely managing work and family with fewer resources, making having children assigned far from home less appealing.

▪ Women were much more likely than men to favor diversity. But there were no difference by gender for support for neighborhood schools.

▪ Whites who live within Central Raleigh/inside the Beltline were much more supportive of diversity than others geographically. Taylor said there’s some suggestion in their findings that the white ITB support was in many ways opposition to diversification within their own neighborhoods because the practical effect of the diversity policy was to take out less affluent kids from their neighborhoods and to bus them to the suburbs.

▪ Those with school-age children were very, very much opposed to the diversity policy.

▪ Those who greatly inflated the percentage of students who were bused for diversification purposes were more likely to be against diversity.

▪ One’s length of residence in Wake County and the South had absolutely no effect on their views on the general assignment policy. Taylor said that goes against the belief that newcomers were against the diversity policy because they didn’t understand Wake County’s history.

▪ Older residents were very much more supportive of year-round schools. But residents of school-age children tended to be more against year-round schools.

▪ People who live in western Wake were more supportive of year-round schools than those in other areas. Taylor said that goes against the idea that opposition would be more intense in places like western Wake where the defacto mandatory year-round school policy was put into effect.

▪ Conservatives were much more against year-round schools and liberals were much more in favor of them.

I’ll have more on the book, which I just received in the mail today from UNC Press, after I’ve had a chance to read it.

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