Friday, December 2, 2011

Civil rights groups laud diversity plan

Friday afternoon the federal Justice and Education departments issued a joint advisory on how "educational institutions can lawfully pursue voluntary policies to achieve diversity or avoid racial isolation," overturning a 2008 directive issued under the Bush administration. Read it here.

"The elementary and secondary guidance discusses school districts’ options in areas such as student assignment, student transfers, school siting, feeder patterns, and school zoning. Similarly, the postsecondary guidance provides examples of how colleges and universities can further diversity in contexts including admissions, pipeline programs, recruitment and outreach, and mentoring, tutoring, retention, and support programs," the letter says.

The news landed too late for official Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools reaction, but national civil rights groups were quick to applaud the statement.

“This thoughtfully crafted guidance affirms, as a majority of Supreme Court justices have recognized, that K-12 schools, colleges, and universities have compelling interests in ensuring integration and alleviating racial and economic isolation in our schools," says a statement sent Friday evening by the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Coalition on School Diversity, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and other groups. "Racial segregation and concentrated poverty are increasing in our nation’s schools, suggesting that we are backtracking on the successes of the civil rights movement. Many schools are more racially isolated today than they were in the 1970s. Today’s guidance recognizes the harms of resegregation and the benefits of diversity."

Charlotte-Mecklenburg's race-based assignment plan, which included drawing boundaries to increase diversity and offering magnet seats based partly on race, was overturned after a long legal battle. Since then, some have lamented the increasing isolation of African American, Hispanic and low-income students in CMS schools.

"Racial isolation remains far too common in America's classrooms today and it is increasing," U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says in a press release. "This denies our children the experiences they need to succeed in a global economy, where employers, coworkers and customers will be increasingly diverse. It also breeds educational inequity, which is inconsistent with America's core values."


Anonymous said...

Go to the link and then click on Guidance ESE. Scary! It looks to me like busing is okay once again. I imagine Swann, NAACP, and perhaps some at the Observer will be celebrating tonight.

Anonymous said...

Luckily we have a court order that says race can not be used as a factor in pupil assignment. Anyway, our population has skewed enough now that there is no way without tripling our school bus fleet to do this.

Anonymous said...

Just passed a Middle School that was letting out and was amazed at how many school buses are required. It would appear to me that 90% of the students there rode the bus. No wonder out school budget and taxes are so high, busing children from one side of town to the other. To me, it would work best, like it use to, if kids went to the school closest to them, they could walk since I walked about 5 miles when I went to high school. This is a big problem with the younger set. They have it too easy and the Guidance ESE. is just another way of saying, it's going to continue.

Veronica said...

I'm going to give these new "guidelines" about ten minutes before being struck down in court.

Anonymous said...

Elections have consequences. This guideline was put out by the Obama justice department. And then of course we've just elected a new school board.......

Anonymous said...

Hey 4:43:

Those buses bus kids to their neighborhood school and back, there are very few magnet middles, and those mostly use the central drop offs. The reason there are a lot of buses is that many middle schools have 1500+ kids in them.

Anonymous said...

Charlotte's return to segregated schools has hurt the schools, the students and the whole community.

Other systems, Wake County included, have had good success with trying a more integrated approach. The most recent school board elections there showed community support for the school policies in place before the Art Pope-funded 2009 elections there.

Research clearly shows students in high-poverty schools have a tougher time learning, and counteracting those difficulties with extra staffing, etc., is hugely expensive. It's long past time for Mecklenburg County to re-examine its failed segragationist policies of the past decade and come up with a better way to assign students, such as strengthening its magnet programs and considering income in student assignments.

The Supreme Court decision in the CMS case ultimately UPHELD CMS's magnet school assignment policies, which aimed to create more balanced populations at magnet schools. That fact has been conveniently forgotten here.

Wake offers good examples. CMS should take note.

Anonymous said...

As a child I was bussed to an all black school and this was to help who? I was fighting everyday because they said i didn't belong there to go back to my side of town and they would jump on me at least 5 at a time. One good thing was I learned to fight really well and after I sent a few of them to the nurses room with a couple teeth missing the parents of these kids wanted me removed not them, go figure they wanted me to be punished but not them. This is a problem when you force people to mix, today there are not many all white schools so bussing is just another way to force one type of person to mix with another type, where do you think all the bad habits are learned? and type of person is not a race, but type, like those who think its ok to live off the system. White, Black, or hispanic have this type of person in their race and we as a nation need to stand up and say enough. Leave the bad element in the bad neighborhood so they dont teach the bad habits to the rest of society. And yes i'm white but most all my newphews and nieces are not so don't try the racist crap with me. Those who use the racist term are the true racist. True

Wiley Coyote said...

....and some people kept telling me I was overreacting to the likes of a few special interest groups and individuals here who support a return to busing.

When government uses terms such as "compelling interests", you can rest assured that means ambiguity, which allows just enough wiggle room for them to implement new policies.

They know it would take years and years to go through the courts do there is nothing to stop these idiots from doing what they want.

If you read their garbage, one has to wonder how people can head their heads stuck back in the 50's and 60's today.

You also have to wonder where CMS is going to get all these White people start the same failed policies of the past 40+ years that didn't sork then. nor will they work today.

Get ready for round two of White Flight within CMS. I predict within the next 10 years, the White student population will be between 25% and 28%.

The really, really sad fact is, Little Johnny from a high poverty area still has to learn his ABC's at a school one block from his home or 10 miles from home, or whether he sits between two White kids or two Black kids....

That's something the Federal government just can't seems to grasp...

Larry said...

Good news as I have been asked by many in District Six to apply for the upcoming BOE seat. These requests came as people analyzed the voting in our District Six and feel my platform would be of benefit to District Six and District Six needs.

District Six will no longer be a training ground for new Teachers.

(While we appreciate CMS allowing the experienced ones to be sent to Urban Schools we need to realize we have unique challenges here in District Six.)

District Six will also need to be fully funded from here on out to achieve potential the Children of District Sixes possess.

We will also be fighting for fairness for every Child no matter who they are or if they live in District Six.

Fairness that has to come from a laser like focus on education and no longer being a omnibus for society perceived ills or needs.

Larry Bumgarner for District Six

Wiley Coyote said...

I have no idea what happened to my post above, but it sure didn't post the way I typed it!

It's like some words didn't make the journey...

Oh get the gist of it.

Wiley Coyote said...


You need to go retro to have any chance at that seat. The status quo is making a huge comeback, stronger than ever.

Learn this term: "compelling interests" and forget about the term "fairness", as it is not in the Federal Government's vocabulary...

Larry said...

Actually we are going to see things happening to protect the interest of all people living in Mecklenburg, even if they have worked hard for what they have and pay the majority of the taxes.

Getting less for being more productive is not a great way to encourage business to come to our City. Nor to entice people to stay and make those tax payments needed so badly.

So along with our fellow residents who do not live in the favored areas, we are going to have to fight for our Children just as hard and with every option at our disposal as those with favored status.

What do you say North Mecklenburg?

Ann Doss Helms said...

Wiley, I don't know ... I finally figured out the spam trap, but I don't think it's snagging individual words!

Larry, I'm not sure if you were intentionally posting your statement repeatedly with a third-person intro, but I took those down. Once is fine, but it's enough.

DistrictSix said...

Sorry Anne I was posting for Larry and realized I was on his account which we will be using to keep in touch with our District Six residents along with our website

So posting it on different discussions is not something the Observer allows? We had seen the same repeats posted on different discussions before, and did not realize we needed to report it if we see it happen again.

But we will keep a look out for you in the future.


Wiley Coyote said...


I'm in Seattle and the internet connection in this hotel is suspect.

I was in the process of copying th etext in case I had to repost and the next thing I know the post was sent, so it's possible some of the highlighted text was deleted the second before it was sent.....

Robert L. Canida, II said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Anonymous 6:14p:

Except that recent research shows schools that were 90% and greater minority students to be successful. How can one account for that?

I'd bet it's because the teachers and administration took a no excuses approach and concentrated on teaching their students.

And if I'm not mistaken Wake schools have not scored significantly better, if at all, than Charlotte schools, so what then are the benefits of busing?

Get down to brass tacks, the goal is to give students the best education possible with good teachers. The rest is just distracting fluff used to ignore the fundamental issues.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 6:14...

We had 40 years of busing Little Johnny from here to yonder and it failed miserably.

Again, at the end of the day, Little Johnny has to learn, no matter how far away from home he is and he also goes back to the same home, in the same neighborhood.

It is your type mindset that damns these kids before they even step foot in school.

More money and resources have been thrown into these high poverty schools than in any other and the results are still pathetic.

The first mistake is believing any data coming from any politician or educrat that has a vested interest in the positive outcome of their data.

But while we're at it, here's a little story about a Harvard study on poverty versus test scores and how poverty can't explain the low scores away:

America's child poverty problem does not entirely explain away its students' relatively low math scores, says a report from Harvard's Program on Education Policy and Governance...

Also, can you give me a verifiable number of students within CMS who truly qualify for free or reduced lunches?

...that's what I thought.

Anonymous said...

"I predict within the next 10 years, the White student population will be between 25% and 28%"

Its already 25%. There are no whites left to diversify and this keeps drying up daily. In 10 years it will be 10% or less exactly like Detroit NYC and LA. The real number who qualify for a free lunch rhetorically is zero but you already knew that.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 7:05...

Show me your data supporting 25% White student population within CMS.

Anonymous said...

Larry, please remember that in your quest for the school board Holy Grail that some businesses moving here (Bananas) are totally unconcerned about CMS. The CO article this week said specifically they were scouting private and parochial schools prior to the move. That really says everything you need to know.

Wiley Coyote said...

Perhaps the NAACP should put out a Top 5 wish list of what they believe will "fix" their issues with public education in Mecklenburg County.

That way, we can finally shut them up, eliminate all excuses and see how great their plan works.

We already know racial diversity is not one of the issues because there are not enough White people left in the system to dilute the "minority" group.

I hardly believe per pupil expenditures is an issue because high poverty schools already get more than the rest.

So, tell us NAACP, what is it we need to do to eliminate excuses?

What, if anything, after more than 50 years will finally solve "the problem"?

Anonymous said...

One of the positives that had come out of all the uproar over testing was the admission, finally, that background trumps everything in classroom performance. For the past ten years it had been fashionable to blame inadequate facilities, then inequitable funding, and finally poor teaching for the failures of high poverty schools. Gradually (and it was like pulling teeth to get the truth out there) these excuses have been shown to be based on false premises. As they rallied to support teachers the very groups who had so long cast aspersions on teachers at high poverty schools were suddenly saying "The teachers can't be blamed (or judged). The problems starts with the family and community".

Now suddenly it seems we are going back to the age old excuse of "kids can't learn in high poverty schools". Wow--talk about flip flopping!

Anonymous said...

Ann, I'm a bit confused by your article today about this issue. In it you state "Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools went through years of legal battles challenging a court-ordered desegregation system that included race-based magnet assignments, boundaries drawn to increase racial diversity and "midpoint" schools located to draw from black and white neighborhoods." Doesn't "Boundaries drawn to increase racial diversity" actually mean "cross town busing". Your way of putting it makes it all sound so benign.

Anonymous said...

December 3, 2011 7:37 AM

Dont hold your breath. That will only be available when MLKs files are made public or when Obamas real birth certificate or his full college and SS records are unsealed.

answer = never

Anonymous said...

Busing was a colossal failure. End of discussion.

What hasn't been a failure are some schools that specifically target the varying needs of individual communities in low-income areas which generally means doing things differently than a traditional neighborhood school in the suburbs. Educating students at a low-income school on an Indian reservation in the desert requires a different approach than educating students in NYC whose parents are mostly from Guatemala. And yes, this costs more. Get over it. I don't know how the practice of mix-ed income housing affects educational outcomes since every city has a different definition of the term. I'm all for VOLUNTARY integration which some CMS magnet schools do a fairly good job at. If diversity is an admirable goal (I think it is), than how about consolidating magnet schools that work and making each one the best it can possibly be? CMS has too many magnet schools and I've never quite understood the logic behind partial magnet programs which seem to be a half-ass attempt at accomplishing I don't know what. Also, when was the last time anyone attended a truly diverse place of worship? Our country places a high value on allowing people to freely express their values and religious beliefs in a homogeneous setting but God forbid we tailor schools the same way. The overall white population in CMS is less than a third and it's highly unlikely this number will ever go significantly up from here. So, what exactly does "diversity" mean today in CMS? Does diversity mean the same thing it did in 1972?

Anonymous said...

The NC Dept. of Public Instruction may make me take a "Diversity in Education" course if the "Cultural Understanding" education course I took in 1984 isn't up to date enough. Really?

Laud this "Current Issues and Trends in Education" requirement.

We've come a long way, baby.

Anonymous said...

Wiley said "....and some people kept telling me I was overreacting to the likes of a few special interest groups and individuals here who support a return to busing."

Ah, yes, wasn't that just a few short months ago, Wiley, when some of us were mocked for being concerned about (or did they say obsessed with)the possibility of a push to return to busing.

Silly us. What did we know.

Anonymous said...


"Cultural Understanding and Diversity in Education" - It's called ART.

Ann Doss Helms said...

7:45 a.m., that line from the Chiquita story caught my attention, too. It did add that they met with CMS officials. That could mean they were checking out all options ... or it could be read as visiting private options for the execs while talking to CMS about workforce issues.

Anonymous said...

Community colleges are models of diversity, yet with regard to government funding they are treated like red-headed stepchildren. Maybe the way to promote diversity in public education is to cut funding.

therestofthestory said...

WC, I tried to tell you (about busing)! Some may retort then that this BOE had taken a vote and decided it would focus on making neighborhood schools stronger. Yes, but the change of that is only one vote away. However, this may be viewed as a huge negative to an incoming superintendent stepping into a heated community issue and not getting to focus on running a public education system.

Anonymous said...

Chiquita folks are accustomed to Cincinnati area schools, most of which are part of small school districts based in the many small towns that make up Hamilton County. There is also a strong parochial school system and some top notch private schools for those who do live in the confines of the city of Cincinnati itself and don't care for that "urban" school system. Families flock to the small districts, where the community has real input into their schools and where there is not usually the media hyped school crisis du jour. Granted there have been funding issues in Ohio lately as there have been everywhere, but for the most part people like their school systems because the small systems can be responsive to their individual communities.

So CMS and the constant barrage of negative publicity about the local schools is going to be a shock to the Chiquita folks. Of course those that don't go the private or parochial school route may all wind up in the surrounding counties.

Anonymous said...

Northern Kentucky burbs just across the Ohio River are likewise tight knit small independent school systems.
The key to success is breaking up a monopoly into smaller independent pieces. Each school system has its own rules and salary scales that can vary.

There are only 200 new Chiquita jobs for locals mostly in the 30 to 40 range. The other 200 are the elite administrative 100,000 range who will transfer.

Dont buy that crap about they wanted to be closer to S America. That is hilarious. If that was the case they would have gone to Miami although it is true the Cincinatti-Northern Kentucky airport has cut back from 1000 flights a day 35 years ago to 200 now for an area of 3 million.
It was all about the 50 million and 12 yrs of tax shelter.

Carnyx said...

After the end of de jure segregation, the most effective force in resegregating the nation’s public schools in the last fifty years has been forced busing for diversity aka integration. Busing for diversity assured segregated schools by triggering white flight, leaving the proportion of black students at majority-white schools in 2005 at a level lower in America than in any year since 1968.

Anonymous said...

The more I see what is going on in CMS the happier I am to live over the border in SC.

Why on earth would I EVER want my kid in a school with low-performing thugs?

I don't care who thinks "diversity" is a "compelling objective", I see absolutely no advantages to me or my family in their compulsions.

Until these "diverse" kids learn to behave I don't want anything to do with them.

I grew up with the little thugs in an urban school and my kids don't need that kind of distraction with the tough academic competition we're facing globally.

And I'll move away from anyplace that tries to force me to send my kids to the same school.

Anonymous said...

No way to promote 'diversity' in Charlotte schools in 2012 - they have run out of white kids. Perhaps you can bus them in from the surrounding counties ;)