The decision of the Wake County, NC School Board to start using a "neighborhood schools" methodology to make student school assignments was diaried by MsSpentyouth here. In that diary she very well outlines the use of Magnet Schools here in Wake County and why they are important.
What is becoming clear, especially now that parents have received their children's school assignments, is the fact that this travesty has everything to do with politics. And yes, there's even a teabagger component to all of this. More over the jump.
The new "gang of five" on the new Wake County School Board did finally vote on March 23rd, 2010, 5-4, to "develop attendance zones closer to a students' homes." During that Board meeting there was plenty of protest from parents and students who would like to preserve the diversity of the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS).
There is information surfacing that the make-up of the School Board was heavily influenced by the largest donor to the three newest Republican board members, Bob Luddy. Mr. Luddy has long been a proponent of the privatization of public education with the use of vouchers. That's very convenient since Mr. Luddy owns three private schools in North Carolina. And guess what? The chairman of the WCPSS Board, Ron Margiotta, just happens to sit on the Board of Directors of one of them, Thales Academy. (Mr. Margiotta is also a member of the incredibly impressive group named called2action.
Other interesting interesting information about the newly Republican WCPSS Board include the fact that they have hired Thomas Farr, a Republican Raleigh attorney to "advise them" on their legal contracts and obligations. Verrrrry interesting, no?
There are still a few other players in this sublimation of the School Board as non-partisan. One is a woman named Kathleen Brennan who heads a group called "Wake Cares" an organization which has been plodding the death of public schools behind the guise of reforming it. They were quite instrumental in getting out the vote in October. Drill down into their website and you'll find plenty of rhetoric which, in my opinion, uses the issues of busing, magnet schools, the make up of the School Board, etc. to hide a true racist intent.
But the best for last! That would be a teabagging Republican strategist named Art Pope who was instrumental in advising the Republican candidates for the School Board. His job was to address the smaller elections such as School Boards. It is the Republican intention to keep knocking away at the "grass roots" level. If they can ply racism into School Board elections, they may have learned some important tactics. I think that would be "Play to your base." We all know that worked out pretty well in the Presidential elections of 2008.
All said, I have to take responsibility for not paying attention to such things as School Board politics. Since I don't have children--though I care about them and good education in our local school systems--I left these smaller elections off my radar. But it is a very good wake up call to pay attention to the small stuff.
I hope that everyone may learn what I learned. You can't trust the Republicans, ever.