"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, January 17, 2011

NC Governor and Raleigh Mayor Stand Up for Socioeconomic Diversity

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker received a standing ovation Monday morning after criticizing members of the Wake County Board of Education for not upholding the dream and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Speaking to community leaders at the 31st Annual Triangle Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Prayer Breakfast, the mayor called four school board members “way off track” for moving ahead with student assignment policy that places children in schools closer to their homes instead of busing them to help achieve socio-economic diversity in schools.

“This is a civil rights issue. We all have roles to play in this,” Meeker said. “Our community simply needs to stand up and get the board back on track.”

Meeker, like his wife, school board member Dr. Anne McLaurin, has long opposed the controversial and divisive measure that was narrowly adopted last year by the Republican-backed board majority.

He urged students Monday to write letters and for business leaders to “stand up for what’s right.”

“We all need to be involved,” he said. “This is an issue where the spirit of Martin Luther King needs to shine through. This is an issue on which we need to prevail.”

Meeker was one of a number of local and state officials speaking at Monday’s breakfast in honor of the slain civil rights leader, who would have turned 82 on Saturday.

In speaking about King’s legacy and fight for racial equality, Gov. Bev Perdue alluded to the school assignment controversy, saying King’s work is not finished in Wake County and that “we need to keep on pushing.”

“I believe that everything that we have and hope to be is defined by education,” she said. “I believe that the only way to give a young girl or young boy a chance to be somebody is through a free public education that works for all of the people.” . . .

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