Earlier this week, Dr. Terry Stoops, Vice President for Research & Director of Education Studies at the John Locke Foundation, went on WPTF Radio to discuss the recent Education Week piece on integration in Wake County schools. Dr. Stoops spoke to the reporter for the piece and took the opportunity on the radio to elaborate more on proposed busing and/or student reassignment in Wake County.

Wake County has not had racial or socio-economic motivated busing in nearly 10 years. Terry states two factors stick out as to why a busing policy has yet to be reimplemented:

One factor, especially over the last 10 years, has been growth. Wake County isn’t growing anymore. It only grew by 42 kids last year. We are not going to see the type of large-scale reassignment that we normally would in a situation where Wake County is adding thousands of students and multiple schools each year. So that’s one factor that’s going to put into play.

The second is the fact that – even at its height – the busing policy that Wake County had in place only moved around 4% of the student population. It was never a large population of students… It was never large enough to really make a dent in racial demographics of the schools in general.

Interviewer Mitch Kokai brought up the increasing number of parents in the county who are choosing to pull their children out of traditional public schools in Wake County. Dr. Stoops commented:

[It is] kind of unusual that a school board [who is] facing a large-scale competition in the form of charter schools, private schools, and home schools is choosing to talk about an issue that is very divisive amongst families and parents that live in Wake County. It seems that they are doing just the opposite of what someone should be doing when they’re in competition – which is to find out what the consumer wants and to provide that to them.

…They are distracting themselves from what they really need to be doing which is talking to parents and finding out why their needs aren’t being met in the Wake County schools and [why] their needs are being met in private, charter, and home schools.

Dr. Stoops ends his interview by stating:

The idea that all the kids in Wake County are receiving the same quality education is a complete myth, and this is why parents need to be put in control. To make sure that, when their child is not receiving a quality education, [parents] can pursue other options.

Read the full Education Week piece here. Learn more about K-12 education in North Carolina schools here.