The Locker Room

Resolved: We are not to blame (but they are)

Posted by Dr. Karen Y. Palasek at 4:53 PM

The statement of the Anti-Resegregation Resolution published in today's Raleigh News & Observer article "GOP Aims at Wakes's 'Mistakes'" is no doubt intended to show the callousness of the Wake School Board toward poor, and particularly poor black families.Instead, the racially-charged finger-pointers blame poor academic performance on Wake parents ówell, white parentsó, on the Wake school board, on poverty, and basically on anyone and anything except the educators and education establishment itself.

Authors of the Anti-Resegregation Resolution, who are largely educators and education officials charged with the task of teaching even less-than-ideal students, admit in the body of the Resolution that they have not made the effort required to succeed with these disadvantaged kids. The Resolution states: "Whereas, high poverty schools have lower levels of qualified, experienced teachers; and Whereas, it is difficult and costly to improve the performance of such schools..."

Lower levels of qualified, experienced teachers? Difficult and costly to make improvements? OK, but why talk of these as if they are 'givens'? This brief section tells us that educators have failed to do what they are primarily charged to do. Instead, it appears that opponents of change to the Wake school assignment policy are opting to throw up their hands, shift blame, point fingers at others, and...relinquish primary responsibility, as if this is somebody else's problem and not their primary job. Thus the tactic of blaming well-to-do parents and the Wake School Board, unless they cave to name-calling.

Yes, we have it from their Resolution statement that education officials have not been diligent in providing qualified experienced teachers, or the determination and resources necessary, to succeed with challenging populations. Instead, much time and money has been frittered away on busing and the pursuit of educational red herrings.

Are there success stories out there for turnaround that embrace neighborhoods and families? Yes. Successful turnaround efforts in Ohio and elsewhere speak volumes about determination and responsibility.

In our local case, more dispassionate analysis, less drama, and making the tough choices are likely to be better recipes for less whining and more winning for everyone.

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