Two days after a lengthy examination in The Washington Post of Wake County, N.C.'s dismantling of its busing-for-diversity policy, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has weighed in with a rebuke of the district.
In a letter to the editor published in the Post, Duncan calls equity and diversity "core values." He also noted that the school board's actions have prompted an investigation by the education department's office of civil rights.
For 10 years, the 143,000-student district, which includes the city of Raleigh, has had a policy that assigned students to schools based on socioeconomic status. A conservative-leaning school board has voted to do away with that policy, as we reported last April. The new student assignment plan is still being decided. Some observers worry that the policy would create pockets where schools are predominantly poor.
"In an increasingly diverse society like ours, racial isolation is not a positive outcome for children of any color or background," Duncan said in his letter.