Read the full text of the board’s response below.
The Wake County School Board Wednesday released its latest response to a U.S. Department of Education investigation. This is the third response sent to the department since the investigation opened last fall.
In the 42-page document, the board defended itself against charges of racial discrimination leveled by the state NAACP and other complainants. Supporters of the diversity policy alleged the board violated Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act last year when it eliminated socioeconomic status as a factor in assigning students to schools.
Low-income status is widely regarded as a proxy for racial and ethnic minorities. Low socioeconomic status is correlated with low performance in school.
Replying to Department of Education queries, the board addressed “how the student assignment policies and procedures were changed by the Board’s decision to no longer consider [socioeconomic status] in student assignments, as well as its rationale for doing so.”
Acting without “racial animus,” the document asserts, the board exercised its rightful power to determine which factors would be considered in the district’s assignment policy.
The board also avers that creating a diverse socioeconomic mix has not helped low-income students succeed.
Although socioeconomic status has been dropped from student assignment, the board is otherwise implementing the multi-year assignment plan adopted before the new conservative board majority took office last year.
In late spring Superintendent Tony Tata will present a revised assignment plan to the board for review and approval.