For Raleigh Schools, Resegregation by Another Name?
The Wake County school board has stepped in it big time. National attention has focused on a move by John Tedesco and other Republican (or tea party) board members toward dismantling the busing arrangements ensuring that no single school has a high concentration of "students from low-income households."
That's because "low-income households" is a euphemism for black and Latino drug-dealing gang members. Some members of the Wake County school board are determined to see these miscreants stuffed into schools that good white kids won't attend. Simple enough. And perfectly explicable.
On Jan. 2, The Washington Post ran a front-page story about the brouhaha created by the Wake board's move toward "resegregation," and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, whose Division for Civil Rights is scrutinizing complaints made by the NAACP against the Wake Board, said that the board's actions are "troubling" (nice use of understatement).
The board has also drawn criticism from Gov. Beverly Perdue and Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker - and anyone else who has an ounce of good sense.
The corker came on Jan. 18, when Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central's "Colbert Report" aired a segment of his bitingly satiric segment of "The Word," in which he mocked Tedesco and the proposed actions of the Wake board. The word was "disintegration." (You can find the entire shtick by going to thecolbertnation.com and entering "disintegration" under "search"; it's a hoot.)
"A recent poll showed that 94.5 percent of Wake County parents are satisfied with their children's schools," Colbert says. "Clearly, a tragic triumph of government intervention. ... Sure, integrating may sound benign, but what's the use of living in a gated community if my kids go to school and get 'poor' all over them?
"Nothing captures the attention of America more than concentrating all the poor in one location. Just take public transportation. City buses are dirty, but we ignore the problem because it's not squalid enough. But I believe if we made certain groups of people ride in the back of the bus again, we'd remember how poor those conditions are, and I'm sure we'd fix them. And then we can reverse socially engineered progress in other areas like lunch counters and water fountains until things get so bad for the poor that we won't be able to ignore them."
The State Board of Education has a safeguard against resegregation. It is called Disadvantaged Students Supplemental Funding, and it reads: "In determining whether to approve a local school administrative unit's plan for the expenditure of funds allocated to it for disadvantaged student supplemental funding, the State Board of Education shall take into consideration the extent to which the local school administrative unit's policies or expenditures have contributed to or are contributing to increased segregation of schools on the basis of race or socioeconomic status."
Wake County schools stand to lose $3.5 million. That ought to get the board's attention.
While I'm on the subject:
This column isn't only about a couple of Wake County buffoons. No, it's about TV news reporters and their inability to pronounce "accreditation" correctly.
Triangle TV news has been reporting on the possibility that Wake County high schools might lose their accreditation by AdvancedED, an agency that accredits American universities and secondary schools. And when the TV reporters make these reports - which is almost every evening - they almost always say "accredidation" instead of -"accreditation." (I'm excluding Amanda Lamb from this criticism. She pronounces the word correctly.)
Let me make this absolutely clear: It's ac-cred-i-ta-tion. Say each syllable, and you'll hear that there is only one "d" at work in the pronunciation.
In addition to the TV reporters, I've heard members of the Wake County school board pronounce the word incorrectly - and it's embarrassing!
All right, one more time: ac-cred-i-ta-tion. If we don't want folks to make fun of us, we ought to talk right.
Stephen Smith lives in Southern Pines. Contact him at email@example.com.
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