sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Checked out the somewhat-new Guilford County Board of Education tonight. The meeting was such a snoozer I don't know where to begin.

To illustrate my point:

"We need to make a decision about whether or not we're going to make decision tonight," said school board chairman Alan Duncan.

Duncan was re-elected chairman. Board member Deena Hayes abstained, saying Duncan had not "been attentive to the needs regarding racism. Many of the needs that I have brought to you both publicly and privately have not been addressed."

Like his predecessor Garry Burnette, new board member Walter Childs was pretty quiet. But the other new member, Amos Quick, was pretty active on his first night, asking superintendent Terry Grier some direct questions about the school's proposed work-study program for troubled students.

But he did use the "d" word earlier in the evening. Quick was worried that student assignment plans for next year were resegregating the schools.

"Moving minority students into traditional minority schools does not respect diversity," he said.

Those comments, of course, sparked a discussion about how the board would define diversity.

But with at least 80 languages being spoken in Guilford County schools, is it not fair to say there's plenty of diversity there?

But here's the other thing: Students themselves have more mobility within the school system.

The board's poised to set a pretty liberal attendance policy regarding change of domicile. So a kid could move from a black school district to a white school district but still choose to go to the school in his old neighborhood.

Furthermore, as board member Nancy Routh pointed out, more and more students are allowed to opt out of schools that don't make Annual Yearly Progress under the No Child Left Behind act.

"When you get into that situation, trying to define diversity is going to be more difficult," Routh said.


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