JLF Triangle Blog

Who’s the Boss?

Outgoing Wake County schools superintendent Del Burns clearly believes he’s the boss and the school board is the employee. Wrong. As JLF’s Terry Stoops points out here, the superintendent is an employee and the school board is the boss.

I wonder what those who are now defending his behavior would think, had Mr. Burns acted the same way when the previous school board was in charge. What if he had resigned because he opposed the economic diversity policy and then did a round of interviews — while still employed — telling reporters why his bosses are wrong?

Here’s a reminder about the impact of Wake County’s current policies, which are championed by Mr. Burns: (emphasis is mine)

In October, the district issued an analysis of the ultimate measure of its work – graduation rates. The results are not encouraging for diversity’s desired beneficiaries.

The four-year graduation rate for African American and Hispanic students is declining. For black students, it fell from 69.9 percent in 2006 to 63.4 percent in 2009. For Hispanics, the graduation rate dropped from 57.7 to 51.1 percent during the same time period.

Male students continue to be the academic anchor for both groups. The 2009 graduation rate for black males was 57.4 percent and a paltry 45.5 for Hispanics.

Wake’s diversity policy isn’t based on race but on socioeconomic class, as defined by students receiving free and reduced-price lunches. The news is grim on that front too. Such students’ graduation rate is on the decline as well, from a high of 63.3 percent in 2007 to 54.2 last year.

True, it is 2 points higher than Charlotte-Mecklenburg, diversity supporters’ favorite target because that district abandoned busing in favor of neighborhood schools. But Wake significantly lags behind the statewide graduation rate of 61.8 percent for kids receiving free and reduced-price lunches.

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