Blog Posts: Wake County

Increasing Segregation and Achievement Disparities Persist in Wake County Schools, as Title VI Investigation Continues

On Tuesday, April 12, investigators from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights met with parents, students, and concerned community members from Wake County, as part of their ongoing investigation of a Title VI complaint filed against Wake County Schools (WCS) in 2010.  During the meeting, the Center for Civil Rights provided OCR investigators with updated student demographic and testing data for schools in the Wake County district. 

The NAACP, community organizations, and local parents filed the Title VI complaint after Wake County Schools abandoned its socioeconomic-conscious student assignment plan in the summer of 2010.  The complaint alleges the district’s abandonment of its former assignment plan—as well as its student discipline practices—illegally discriminate against non-white students by denying them equal access to educational resources.


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Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Wed. April 13, 2016 4:52 PM
Categories: Education, Race Discrimination, Segregation, Wake County

Raleigh Proposes to Sell off Public Housing; Fair Housing Advocates Oppose Plan

On Tuesday January 21, the Raleigh City Council voted 7-1 to approve the Raleigh Housing Authority’s (RHA) plan to sell 60 units of subsidized low-income housing and turn them into “market-rate” homes. The homes are in Capitol Park, formerly Halifax Court, on the north side of downtown Raleigh. The homes were originally constructed about 15 years ago using money from a federal HOPE VI grant. The RHA plans to sell the 60 units for $300,000, a tiny fraction of their tax value of $8 million. The plan also calls for the loss of an additional 115 public housing units in diverse areas across Raleigh.


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Posted by Peter Hull Gilbert on Fri. February 21, 2014 3:28 PM
Categories: Community Inclusion, Fair Housing, Race Discrimination, Wake County

A Letter of Thanks to the UNC Center for Civil Rights from a Moral Monday Lawyer

The following letter was posted by Attorney Scott Holmes after speaking at a forum we hosted yesterday on the Moral Monday trials. Read his original post on his blog.


Dear Friends of Civil Rights,

Thank you for inviting me to come spend time with you at the UNC Center for Civil Rights to talk about our adventures representing Moral Monday protesters. It was such an honor and pleasure to return to the same room and the same halls were I began my journey as an attorney. Your energy and commitment keeps my fire for justice burning hot and bright. I had some thoughts about questions that were asked during the panel and wanted to share those thoughts and ideas with you.


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Posted by Peter Hull Gilbert on Thu. February 20, 2014 4:03 PM
Categories: Criminal Justice, First Amendment, Law Students, Race and the Law Series, Wake County

59 Years after Brown vs. Board of Ed, the Spectrum of Segregation Persists

The Center was invited to write for Teach For America's blog, Pass the Chalk, to commemorate the Brown v. Board of Education anniversary. We wrote about the spectrum of segregation and resegregation in North Carolina as an example of this disturbing nationwide trend.

Halifax community members at a rally for education equality

Although racial segregation in public schools was held unconstitutional in 1954 by Brown v. Board of Education, massive resistance by segregationist state and local governments prevented meaningful implementation of this landmark ruling for over a decade. It wasn’t until the late 1960s, and in response to community activism, litigation, and intervention by the federal government, that the doors of educational opportunity were finally forced open to create equal access for children of color.

Today, almost 60 years after Brown, its promise of an integrated and equal education remains unfulfilled. The cross-exposure of black and white students—an important measure of integration—peaked in the mid-1980s but, by 2000 was even lower than in 1968.


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Posted by Taiyyaba A. Qureshi on Thu. May 16, 2013 12:09 PM
Categories: Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Education, Halifax County, Pitt County, Race Discrimination, Segregation, Wake County

Community-Based Accountability: Best Practices for School Officials

Center Education Fellow Taiyyaba Qureshi, with Jason Langberg, Director of Legal Aid NC's Push Out Prevention Project, and Eldrin Deas, PhD Candidate at UNC SChool of Education, authored an article in this month's Poverty and Race Research Action Council Journal on the need for education officials to be accountable through meaningful engagement with education stakeholders. The full article is available in the March/April PRRAC Journal.

Accountability in education must include the idea that school systems have certain obligations to their stakeholders. Traditional notions of accountability are mostly focused on measuring performance outputs of students, teachers and principals, and fail to identify metrics by which elected and appointed policymakers can be held accountable for their actions. Unfortunately, this trend has become even more prevalent as so-called market-based reforms (e.g., expanded high-stakes testing, merit pay, privitization) are adopted on the federal, state and local levels. These policy changes in fact “de-form” democratic principles of good governance and fairness, which require that school system leaders be held accountable to the community. Over the past four years, education policymakers and community advocates in Wake County, North Carolina demonstrated that such accountability is essential to creating a healthy relationship between the school district and the community it serves and to producing high-quality, equitable outcomes for students.


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Posted by Taiyyaba A. Qureshi on Wed. March 20, 2013 9:16 AM
Categories: Education, Wake County

Foreseeable Failure: Wake County’s first week

Wake County’s first week of school has been an overwhelming fiasco. Despite the administration’s repeated protestations to the contrary, the root of the school opening debacle is the school board’s insistence on adopting a student assignment plan so focused on eliminating diversity that other important values were eliminated too: transparency, community engagement, attention to legitimate public concerns, and efficient resource management. Subverting these core values to prioritize so-called “neighborhood schools” and “choice” has left Wake County students behind.


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Posted by Elizabeth M. Haddix on Fri. August 31, 2012 9:35 AM
Categories: Education, Race Discrimination, Wake County

The Canary in the Coal Mine: Overcrowded and low-performing Walnut Creek Elementary shows the future of Wake County’s neighborhood schools approach

In the 2011-2012 school year, the brand-new Walnut Creek Elementary school in Southeast Raleigh became both the first test of the Wake County School Board’s neighborhood schools assignment plan and an example of the racially discriminatory effect of the model.

Given a blank slate, the Wake County School Board’s conservative majority opened Walnut Creek as a racially segregated, high poverty, crowded school – troubling demographics that were not only easilyavoidable today, but also would have been unacceptable under the previous socioeconomic diversity plan.

Mark Dorosin commented on Walnut Creeks’ continued overcrowding and low-performance problems on Cash Michael’s “Make it Happen” radio show, Nov. 17, 2011: "The school board had a blank slate, a tabula rasa, [and they] created a brand new school that was a racially isolated, high poverty, low performing school. [W]hen confronted with that, the board assured the community that additional resources would be put into that school to accommodate for whatever needs would be presented there...In a sense, the school board was telling the community was ‘separate but equal.’ What we got is separate, and grossly unequal.

The complainants [in the Title IV case] were saying that this would happen, and we now see that it has in fact borne out. The worst case scenario we envisioned has come to fruition.”


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Posted by Taiyyaba A. Qureshi on Tue. November 29, 2011 3:00 PM
Categories: Education, Segregation, Wake County

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