Wake Ed

Wake County adults surveyed on views on school diversity

Wake County residents shouldn’t be surprised if they receive telephone calls this week asking for their views on school diversity and integration.

A team of researchers led by N.C. State Professor Toby Parcel began surveying adults Wednesday in five metropolitan areas: Wake County, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Rock Hill in South Carolina, Davidson County (Nashville) in Tennessee and Jefferson County (Louisville) in Kentucky. The researchers hope to get responses from 1,000 people in each area.

The goal, according to Parcel, is to see if there are attitudes that are common between the areas that have sustained school desegregation that are distinct from the counties which have seen significant resegregation. Wake, Louisville and Rock Hill are considered to have done a better job of maintaining desegregated schools than Charlotte and Nashville.

“If we can chart what these differences are, and why, policy makers can make informed decisions on issues that affect diversity in schools,” Parcel said in a press release.

The surveys are funded out of a two-year $482,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The new study builds upon the work that Parcel and fellow N.C. State Professor Andy Taylor did when they co-wrote “The End Of Conensus: Diversity, Neighborhoods, and the Politics of Public School Assignments,” a book published in April that looked at the history of Wake County student assignment politics.

For the book, Parcel also extensively surveyed the community.