Colbert Report Mocks School Disintegration
Stephen Colbert has single-handedly put my little City of Oaks on the map. Raleigh is suddenly the topic of mockery, shock, and awe (some might say victim, but I disagree). Websites, bloggers, and coffee klatchers everywhere are grinning and grimacing over Colbert's shockingly funny yet accurate portrayal of the "disintegration" of the school system in Wake County, North Carolina. Even Education Secretary Arne Duncan has responded to a recent article in the Washington Post. The simple fact is that the new school board, financially backed by extremely conservative Tea Party supporters, has set off on its own political agenda to dismantle a successful school system that served as a model to districts around the country. While the intent of the board's actions might not be racially charged, the outcome most certainly reeks of segregation.
Segregation. Busing. Integration. More than buzzwords in the South.
The hot topic is "diversity," whether we should continue to support socio-economically diverse schools or create "neighborhood schools." I think that diversity is not just about skin color. Neighborhoods schools, because of how Wake County grows, zones, and plans its communities, would be largely segregated based on race and socioeconomic class. You might think only India has a caste system, but I beg to differ. Class Wars are eeking ahead of the Mommy Wars these days. With money comes privilege. This goes without saying. However, we should not deny the opportunity for success to only those who were born with the means to buy it. Opportunity is theoretically free, but it comes at a cost.
Our whole community is lifted when we support education. The right to learn is not reserved for the rich. For starters, let's shift our mindset when it comes to education spending. It's not an expense; it's an investment. That's right. Money spent on education has a payoff in the end. An expense is simply washed away. The school board and its supporters spend a lot of time talking about "student achievement" but so far have offered no real ideas on how to bridge the ever growing chasm between what Colbert refers to as the Gated Communities and the Poor. The students we talk so flippantly about have faces and hearts and dreams.Continued on the next page