Regarding the Aug. 16 news article “Wake buses fewer students for diversity”: The current Wake County school board brought stability to a system that was in chaos under the leadership of former board member John Tedesco, who was widely quoted in your article.
Your piece did not highlight the resegregating effects of Tedesco’s 2011 countywide choice plan, which also broke the school system’s overextended transportation system. When the current board did away with Tedesco’s choice scheme, members did not uproot children from their school assignments the way Tedesco and his colleagues did in their 2010 and 2011 plans. Instead, the board instituted a “stay where you start” policy to bring much-needed stability to families after several tumultuous years.
As for Tedesco’s embrace of community diversity, Wake County should accept that challenge and work toward more affordable and diverse housing throughout the county. That certainly would support diverse schools, which studies show are the ideal learning environments for children.
This current board has expanded magnets, which are based on principles of reducing socioeconomic isolation, and has sent resources to low-performing schools. The board and school system staff have engaged the community in student assignment plans that focus on stability, proximity and student achievement, and its work has focused on opening new schools.
Truth be told, the vast majority of reassignments pre-2011 occurred to open new schools, but that narrative is lost in the urban legend about diversity busing.
Richard Kahlenberg got it right: Wake County schools remain more integrated than other comparable school systems nationwide.
Our residents need to engage in a communitywide conversation to discuss what is best for children, and I as an individual would argue that integrated schools are indeed part of what is best for children – and communities.
Chair, WCPSS Board of Education
The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response to the article.