The N&O continues its whining about last fall’s Wake County School Board election results. This time, they complain that the elections became too “partisan.”
Partisanship of the same kind we’ve come to know and love when it infects Congress or the General Assembly was in full swing. In the end, four district seats went to Republican-backed candidates who had made an issue of their opposition to the diversity policy aimed at balancing student bodies and avoiding segregation, and who also opposed the mandatory year-round schools intended to provide the most efficient use of buildings.
The forced diversity policy and year-round calendars were unarguably the two most prominent issues in the school board elections. But were these issues indeed “partisan?”
A look at the results from Civitas’ November 2009 Wake County Schools Survey suggests not. When asked “Do you support or oppose the school board’s current policy of assigning students to schools based on achieving diversity, instead of sending students to the school closest to their home?” (question #2) 79.7% of Republicans said they opposed the policy, while 58.5% of Democrats and 70.6% of Independents also said they oppose the policy. Only 14.1%, 28% and 21.7%, respectively, said they approve of the policy.
Moreover, when asked “Do you support the current school board policy of assigning some students to mandatory year round schools or should parents be given a choice between sending their child to a school that is year round or traditional calendar?” (question #5) 85.8% of Republicans, 67.8 % of Democrats and 73.4% of Independents said parents should be given a choice. Only 9.6%, 24.2% and 18.2%, respectively, said they support the current policy.
Hardly seems like the winning candidates’ issues were “partisan” at all, but rather supported by an overwhelming majority of people in Wake Co., regardless of political affiliation.