Little John Tedesco and Co. are facing a federal civil rights investigation, a review by the Schools' accrediting body, and increasing pressure from the NAACP and other civil rights organizations. It is time to bring all available pressure to bear, from talking to walking to civil disobedience.
From the News-Observer:
RALEIGH NAACP officials capped their organization's education conference in Raleigh on Saturday by recasting the local fight over school busing in Wake County as a national referendum on integration and social progress.
The group's representatives said that financial resources of the national organization and local branches will be directed to North Carolina to counter efforts by conservative advocates to replace a diversity-busing policy with a policy of neighborhood schools.
Organizers from around the country next plan to gather in Raleigh on Feb. 12 for a downtown march to press their point that creating neighborhood schools would create what the NAACP and others call de-facto resegregation.
The NAACP held its three-day educational conference here to rally behind the local NAACP branch and draw attention to the political fight brewing over the county's education policy. More than 200 attended the gathering at the downtown Sheraton Hotel to discuss the Wake County school system, which in past years has won accolades for educational excellence.
"We've spent decades bragging about Wake County," said Benjamin Todd Jealous, the NAACP's national president and CEO. "We're going to defend our victories, and this is one of our victories."
Efforts to end busing for diversity here has sparked an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office for Civil Rights, which is looking into the NAACP's complaints of racial discrimination. NAACP officials said federal officials would begin their probe this coming week.
A national accreditation group, Advancing Excellence in Education Worldwide, is also reviewing Wake County's move to dismantle its diversity policy, with the potential result of loss of accreditation and prestige for the county's public schools.
The Republican majority on the school board was well on its way to abolishing the diversity policy until October, when a school board member changed her mind and sided with the Democrats to block a zone-based assignment plan.
But NAACP leaders are alarmed about the most recent proposal: to reassign more than 6,000 students, most of whom live in Southeast Raleigh but are bused to suburban schools, back to their own neighborhood schools.
Such a move, NAACP leaders said, would create high concentrations of poverty and failure.
As a result of the Wake County controversy, the NAACP's education committee said Saturday it has revised its national agenda to promote such policies as longer school days, year-round schools, universal kindergarten and redirecting public resources to poor children with the greatest needs.. . . .