For Immediate Release
March 11, 2011
For More Information: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President, 919-394-8137
Amina Turner, Executive Director, 919-682-4700
RESPONSE TO THE RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE WAKE COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM
TITLE VI COMPLAINT
The Wake County Title VI complaint is an ongoing investigation requiring a full vetting. After consultation with our attorneys the North Carolina NAACP has taken the following positions regarding recent developments with the Wake County School case.
The NC NAACP believes the USDA’s position regarding the use of Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) data in school assignment is a misinterpretation of the law and of how data is being used as it pertains to the socioeconomic diversity criteria in Wake County’s former student assignment policy. Wake County uses FRL data in an aggregate form to assess the overall percentage of economically disadvantaged students in student assignment nodes. No student is individually identifiable by this aggregated data; therefore, our attorneys believe that this use does not violate the privacy rights of any student. USDA’s limited interpretation of how FRL data can be used impacts over 70 districts across the country that incorporate this information in assignment plans to promote socioeconomic diversity in schools. We will continue to investigate all available options to engage the USDA on this matter.
Wake County school officials have claimed they do not have records indicating how many students were moved under the socioeconomic diversity student assignment plan. We are currently analyzing the reassignment data provided by the school district and have a number of questions regarding how it is collected, collated, and presented, particularly as it relates to racial, socioeconomic, and performance demographics within nodes and at individual schools.
The opening of Walnut Creek Elementary School this fall epitomizes the direction in which Wake County Schools are moving as they drop the student assignment plan based on socioeconomic diversity. This new school is expected to open with 81% of its students eligible for Free or Reduced Lunch, 53% of students performing below grade level, and nearly 100% minority students. Our positions on education are rooted in constitutional law which still says segregation and discrimination are illegal; the lessons of history that tell us segregation and resegregation are wrong; and the findings of sound research conclusively and overwhelmingly say high poverty, racially identifiable, resegregated schools are the antithesis of student achievement and deny children a high quality, constitutional, diverse, well-funded public education.
Representatives from OCR will be visiting Wake County next week on Wednesday to continue their investigation into the Title VI complaint. The NAACP looks forward to engaging with OCR investigators at that time on these and other issues that pertain to the Title VI complaint.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization whose mission is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. For more information, call the StateOffice at 866-626-2227 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. # # #
Wake County Public Schools