April 13, 2017 Leave a comment
On the surface, this headline sounds reasonable, “Break up Wake County schools? Bill looks at how to divide NC school districts.” And, given that sometimes various parts of the geographically large Wake County will have a couple inches of snow and close the whole county while other portions have none, I’ve heard this suggested on many a snow day. Alas, the rationales offered are not exactly compelling:
Some state legislators want to look at how to split North Carolina school systems into smaller districts, a preliminary step that could make it possible to break up large systems such as Wake County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
House Bill 704 filed this week would create a joint legislative study committee to look into whether legislation should be introduced to allow for the breakup of previously merged school systems. The committee would also consider how to divide school districts and whether a local referendum or petition would be needed before a district could be split.
Many transplants to North Carolina are used to individual towns running their own small school systems. In contrast, most school systems in North Carolina are county-based…
“Over the past few decades, the emphasis in North Carolina has been merging small school systems to form big ones,” Rep. Bill Brawley, a Mecklenburg County Republican and one of the bill’s primary sponsors, said Wednesday. “The idea was economies of scale would improve education in North Carolina.
“Now there’s a concern there may be diseconomies of scale in the big systems. They may be too large.” …
“I’d much prefer to be one of the best school districts in the country than one of the biggest, and we’ll never get there being as large as we are with the bureaucracy as large as it is,” said former Wake school board member Ron Margiotta.
Too state the obvious, first, a large school system is necessarily going to have a large bureaucracy. Margiotta was never distinguished for his intellectual acumen in his school board days. The proponents of the smaller school system provide zero evidence that the large bureaucracy is holding Wake County (or CMS) back or that we are somehow suffering some perverse diseconomies of scale.
So, what’s really going on then? As a FB friend put it, “Alternative bill title: “A Study on How to Resegregate Schools Even More than Entitled Rich White People Already Have.” Yep. Read between the lines and that’s what’s going on here. Little more than “why should our rich suburban white people have to be in the same school system as those urban minorities.”
Hopefully, this goes nowhere, but, this is 2017 North Carolina.