If there is one national story every parent should be following, it is the transformation of public school policy in Raleigh and surrounding cities. Next week marks a critical point in this unfolding drama.
In 2009, local citizens grew tired of incessant poverty and useless public education in their communities, so they voted in new faces on the Board of Education. They wanted an end to diversity busing (yes, some districts still do that) and a chance to choose among better schools in their city.
Liberal groups like the NAACP have spent the last two years actively stalling every effort to change things, apparently not caring that they are the wrong side of public opinion even among black parents. Liberal journalists have flooded the media with negative coverage. Your humble blogger recorded in 2010 how big the chasm is between progressive elitists and the real feelings among local families.
The antics from these busybodies in Raleigh are Exhibit A that they will blatantly squash any effort to empower minorities with more options. Being trapped in a failing status quo is good enough for those people.
At long last, a compromise plan was introduced Friday. It will present parents with a limited list of schools their children would be eligible to attend. Parents would research each school and submit an application that ranks each option. Administrators would balance parent applications against school capacity and try to match families with their choice as much as possible. There will likely be a formula to ensure that all the smart kids don’t flood one place, meaning a child’s performance could be a factor in where they end up.
It is not a perfect plan, but at least it’s a start. If Wake comes out of this as a success story, it could help break the firewall in front of school choice.
This story is all the more remarkable given the Democrats’ stranglehold on local elections and the fact that the DNC chose Charlotte for the 2012 convention. It will be interesting to watch the Obamas defend their education policies in Raleigh’s back yard.
To monitor updates on this story, Raleigh’s News and Observer has an exclusive blog.