I’m going to share my opinion today. Something I don’t often do but today I’m going there. I’m going there because I am tired of being marginalized. And I am SICK and tired of being boxed in and grouped in with stereotypical caricatures. I think that any number of people on any given day feels the way I feel, depending on the issue. But today is my day. And in the interest of full-disclosure, I am white. I am female. I am not by American standards wealthy, but I am in the wealthiest 10% of people in the world.
You may or may not know about a local decision that was made in our county. The Wake County School Board has recently decided to end diversity-based busing in favor of community schools. I am neither for OR against this decision. But if I had to lean, I would lean toward FOR. I am telling you this because I am really, SO sick and tired of being marginalized as a Segregationist or an Elitist as many are calling those who support this decision.
If you are against this decision, and that is what you REALLY believe about the opposing opinion, then I can’t see how anyone will ever bring change to the table. The Wake County School System as it stands needs serious help. It NEEDS CHANGE. Now, perhaps this isn’t the best way, but I think the fact that things are happening is a step in the right direction.
Right now, my home is in a low-income neighborhood. We chose this neighborhood because it was affordable and diverse. The school we are zoned for however, is in an affluent neighborhood and only about 15 minutes away. The school right around the corner is one of the lowest rated in Wake County. So you might ask, WHY then am I for the end to busing? And I would answer, because this is my community. I want to love it. I live here and if there is a part that is hurting, I want to help fix it. Not shrug my shoulders and send my child to a school in a better neighborhood.
Many children would not be zoned for a school 15 minutes away but an hour or more. That is NOT acceptable! Children that are riding a bus for several hours each day are NOT reaping the benefits of a better education. They likely will not be able to participate in extra-curricular activities because of the bus schedules, will have LESS time to do homework and will be getting up earlier potentially getting less sleep than if they were able to attend a community school. The fact that they would be in a school with many different color faces and different sized pocketbooks does not seem like a good enough trade off to me.
I concede that putting an end to busing is not the end all-be all solution to the problem. But it does not a racist make. As concerned parents, we need to let our actions be the guide to what we want for our children. Are we better people by living in gated communities and opening the doors of our schools to the less fortunate while still enjoying our affluence? Or maybe, just maybe, could we disperse into the communities of need and get involved? Could we meet people and love our neighbors instead of shipping them off to be someone else’s problem? If my son ends up in our neighborhood school when all is said and done, I want to love that school. Get involved and do my part. It is after all, my responsibility as his mother. If there are communities that need more help, then by all means LET US HELP THEM. To redirect the problem does not solve the brokenness. That requires personal, hands on involvement. And if you ask me, THAT is the conversation we should be having.