Tea Party Tries to Segregate North Carolina Schools

By all accounts the Wake County School District in North Carolina defies the conventional wisdom of public schools.  Some of its best and most diverse schools existed in low income neighborhoods of Raleigh while the suburban districts include children whose parents can’t afford to live in the neighborhood.  But if national tea party conservatives have their way, one of the nation’s most celebrated integration efforts will end.

That’s because the new majority-Republican school board, backed by the national tea party groups want to concentrate poor children into just a few schools by allowing children to only attend their neighborhood school.

The effort is seen as the first organized tea party push-back to government-sponsored integration in public schools and one that has put the district squarely in the center of a debate many thought ended with Brown v. Board of Education–that is the idea that diversity and equality in education are essential to one another.

The move already faces legal challenge as the NAACP has filed a civil rights complaint alleging that 700 initial student transfers have already increased racial segregation and violate laws that prohibit the use of federal funds for discriminatory purposes.  Federal education officials have also visited the county, leading many to believe a federal investigation is around the corner.

One of the underreported tragedies in this story is that, prior to the meddling from national tea party interests, the school board and its integration policies was the beneficiary of strong bi-partisan support.  Both Republican and Democratic leaders recognized the value in making sure all children in their district, regardless of income or geographic location, benefited from a diverse education experience.  Both poor and wealthy students did well in the schools, despite the large size of the district and its sprawling boundaries.

With actions like these the veneer that the tea party interests are anything other than racist wears thin.  It’s not as if our education system has not experimented with segregated schools in the past and this move is some genuine effort at innovating districts.  Instead, it is a concerted effort to turn back the clock to a time when academic access, achievement and success remained largely elusive to those not fortunate enough to be born wealthy and white.

photo courtesy of Frerieke via Flickr


Millisa Davis
Millisa Davis4 years ago

They put African American children in the picture but, it said poor children... It didn't actually say African American children. They are actually trying to keep all poor children away from their precious rich kids!!!

Mary Hale
Mary Hale4 years ago

How can the Tea Party and Rep. in N.C. Not see what they are doing is wrong. The integration of schools was a hard road, but it was done.These people that want to segrate schools again cnnot be the Christians they claim to be. They are out and out racises. It is bad to have to ride an hour to school, but in the country a lot of students do it.We all pay taxes so should be able to attend any school we wish to. But may be if they used some of that money it cost to transport students to improve the schools in the poor areas they could get a good education without having to travel so far. There is another advantage of going to schools with students of different races. Learning that people of different races may have different facial features, different skin color but are all the same under the skin.I was raised in California and didn't move from there till I was an adult and it started getting real crowded. The point is though we had several different raceses in our school. , all born in this country and all American. We didn't look at a person and see someone different . they were friends. The only ones we didn't want around with us was ones that lied, steal or drank. Education needs to be equal

Terri Lynn M.
Terri M4 years ago

I strongly support kids going to neighborhood schools close enough to walk to and close enough for parents to go to events after work. I also believe that we should offer equal resources and good teachers to all students in all of the schools. The suggestion that black kids are too inferior to succeed and do well unless they are in predominately white schools sounds offensive.

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle6 years ago

Oh no, the Tea Party and repubs are not racist! The veneer indeed rubs thin.

It benefits all of society, not just the individual students, when all children get a good education. Long-range thinking knows that a better educated society, means less poor and a drag-down of society. But the tea party and repubs aren't good at long-range thinking.

Will our country survive with these short-sighted people (and the voters who were too impatient to let change happen) making our laws and dragging us backward? As their insane policies take effect, we will have more poor, and instead of blaming themselves, they will trumpet the old sounds of "welfare queens" and "people not pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps."

Susan Ingram
Susan Ingram6 years ago

They keep saying they are not racists. I guess so long as they can keep brown people away from them and away from their children they can continue to believe their own lies.

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman6 years ago

noted :0

susan twentyeight
Past Member 6 years ago

Ernest: Kathy's right, it was begun in New Hampshire by some of my own libertarian compatriots in response to the proposed 2008 bailouts being demanded by Bushco and which both major presidential candidates supported - ESPECIALLY the GOP - and calling for an audit of the Fed, and since we had such popular messaging, next thing you know Fox shows up at a rally with their own *trucked-in people* who got all the coverage and made it a motherfucking pro-war, pro-life, anti-Obama religious revival, the anti-endless-war libertarians are literally being REMOVED from where any cameras were and next thing you know Sarah Palin's the new "leader", when she was the veep for a candidate who backed the very policies the Tea Party movement (NEVER intended to be a partisan movement but one of *accountability* of spending to the electorate, not anti-tax as such) was founded to challenge.

Anyway, last month the LP asked whether members felt we should distance ourselves from the so-called Tea Party and the response was an overwhelming "good riddance to bad rubbish". They're PR death to us.

We were literally throwing separate rallies toward the end, so we weren't hijacked so much as plagarised. But to say we didn't try hard enough not to be hijacked isn't fair. It's like blaming an entire protest for the acts of some brick-throwing government provocateurs in the crowd.

It was us against The Man; we did our best and chose disengagement to dishonour.

And that's the REST of the story.

Chantelle L.
Chantelle L6 years ago

I wish this article surprised me, but it doesn't at all. Freaking Tea Party.

Connie Kirkpatrick
Past Member 6 years ago

This is horrifying. I can only see the worse coming from this if the Tea Party has its way. Discrimination is the point of all this. I believe no matter your ethnicity and economic status education should always remain equal. Why change what works? If it is not broke, do not break it so you can fix it.

Zoraida Colon-collado
Zoraida colon6 years ago

Water, when stopped from running it's natural course, does not disappear. It continues to build up pressure until it either bursts whatever is holding it back or makes it's own way somewhere else, not alway to the pleasure and safety of others. "The poor will always be with you." If I am not mistaken, this is in the bible, which has been around a good many years, thousands? And this statement is even more true today. So when we take away their jobs, make it impossible for them to own anything, remove their healthcare and then all hope that through education they might find some relief from this unending vicitimization, will they then...disappear? Only from the radar. You will find them in your parks, on your highways, in back alleys and dark shadows waiting...waiting for an opportunity to get, by any means possible, what they need to survive. Maybe someone will approach them then and say, "Here. Strap this bomb on yourself and we will give your widow and kids $10.000.00." And maybe in the strangling desperation his nation has pushed him to, this will be very appealing. Maybe he'll visit the White House that day and that might be the day you decide to take your kids for a tour. Maybe, if you survive the blast, you will wonder what makes a man do such horrible things? Maybe you will remember how you voted to take everything from them because it was the popular thing to do. All abuse does not involve beatings. Abuse of power has many disguises, all dangerous.