Wake's mistakes

Just two years ago, the New York Times heaped praise upon Wake County (Raleigh), North Carolina, for its schools' economic integration program, which the paper called the "main reason" that Wake's black and Hispanic students "have made such dramatic strides in standardized reading and math tests." How things change. Now the district has realized that its plan, which kept each school's low-income student population under 40 percent, is unworkable--demographic shifts make it so. But despite the statistical impossibility of achieving its 40 percent goal (42 out of 119 schools are currently out of compliance), the district is sticking to its guns anyway. Reports the Raleigh News & Observer: "School board member Lori Millberg said raising the cap to 50 percent is more realistic. But she said it might not be worth all the problems it's causing in the community. ‘To reduce the hassle, we might just want to leave it at 40 percent.'" Yet Wake County already hassles its families to no end, by busing their kids from one part of the large district to distant schools. Will it continue doing so just to appease those who deny the undeniable? Perhaps Wake could aspire to make all its schools 100 percent economically integrated by 2014, too?

"Wake may keep target for low-income pupils," by T. Keung Hui and David Raynor, Raleigh News & Observer, November 6, 2007