Atkinson: Diversity improves student knowledge

The newest members of the Wake County School Board have vowed to end the school system’s policy of promoting diversity by balancing percentages of low-income students within the public schools.

Now the State Superintendent of North Carolina’s Public Schools is weighing in.

June Atkinson says diversity is a critical component of a quality education in a school district that serves nearly 140,000 students.

Click below for a preview of Atkinson’s interview with Chris Fitzsimon:
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5 Comments

  1. Something Clever

    December 9, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Atkinson’s dogmatic devotion to the diversity policy as “a critical component of a quality education” repeated with not only total commitment but complete lack of substantiation stands in stark contrast to the excellent piece published by the N&O, written by J.B.Buxton.

    http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/columnists_blogs/other_views/story/225915.html

    “View diversity as neither a silver bullet nor a failed strategy. The performance of our low-income students demonstrates that school balance alone will not eliminate the achievement gap. That said, it provides an important foundation and is key to students’ futures.”

    For too long the diversity program has been heralded as THE answer. With 140,000 students, there will need to be 140,000 answers. It is time to put aside the adoration, the accolades and the attention that the policy has gained and get back to what is important – teaching all children.

  2. gregflynn

    December 9, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Unless there is an endowment lying around somewhere to generate over $60 million extra per year, Wake County needs the diversity policy as a prerequisite for success. All those AFP/WCTA people will not be standing on the sidewalk next week chanting for more money.

  3. Something Clever

    December 9, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Greg – You and I finally agree on a school issue. The diversity program was a great way to keep taxes low. Pity it did so at the expense of our most vulnerable students. Rather than obscure the truth by dispersing the low income population on the hope that their plight goes unnoticed, can we please organize a way to reclaim the school system that doesn’t include the aforementioned sellout to the anti-public schools crowd? The previous policy provided them what they wanted (low taxes and continuation of the uneducated underclass ripe for exploitation) all the while fostering parent discontent to the point where now they control the whole system.

  4. joydad

    December 9, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Actually, I see her comments as very complementary (not in stark contrast) to Buxton’s words. ‘Critical component’ and ‘important foundation’ sound pretty similar to me. She only spoke for about 45 seconds; she wasn’t publishing an editorial. I thought her example, though, about the child sitting in the classroom, made a lot of sense when we consider we’re supposed to be educating kids to be globally interactive and productive, not just capable of taking over dad’s job in the hardware store.

  5. IBXer

    December 9, 2009 at 11:36 am

    It’s not like there will be jobs waiting for them after they graduate, anyway. The Obama administration is solving our education problems by ensuring there is no need to be educated in the future economy.