From the 1970s through the 1990s, Wake County Public Schools in North Carolina was known for its academic performance and dedication to racial integration of its schools. However, since 2000, when the courts ruled race could no longer be a criterion in determining which school students attend, Wake county has had to look for other routes to promote equality.
The County is now one of the first in the nation to adopt a system of socioeconomic integration. The idea was that every school would have a mix of children, with 60% not requiring subsidized lunch, while the other 40% did. However, in 2009 a new conservative majority was elected to the Wake school board, and it has voted to dismantle the integration plan. Families will now send their children to the closest neighborhood school.
This meant that students from poor areas will attend schools composed of mostly poor children, and wealthier children will attend wealthier schools. However, Wake county is full of well-educated people (50% of employees are college grads) and did not take this decision lying down. Two weeks ago, civil leaders proposed a “third generation” of integration: integration by achievement.
Under this plan, no school would have an overwhelming number of failing students. Rather, schools would have something like a 70/30 mix—70% students who score proficient on state assessments, and 30% who are below grade level. This type of integration plan is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. So far, the initial reaction to the plan has been positive. Conservative and liberal school board members, as well as a former and the current superintendent have all expressed their satisfaction with this plan as a starting point.
To read more, please visit http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/28/education/28winerip.html?_r=1