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End of ConsensusDiversity, Neighborhoods, and the Politics of Public School Assignments$
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Toby L. Parcel and Andrew J. Taylor

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469622545

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469622545.001.0001

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The Wake County Public School System

The Wake County Public School System

A Social and Political History

(p.14) 2 The Wake County Public School System
End of Consensus

Toby L. Parcel

Andrew J. Taylor

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines how Wake's school system and assignment policy changed after the establishment of a single countywide district in 1976. It discusses how the district achieved an early consensus regarding both the importance of diversity and of improving student educational outcomes. It also describes key strategies, such as magnets, that Wake County used to mix public schools. The chapter then investigates the root causes of the dissolution of consensus in an examination of the major demographic changes caused by dramatic population growth, the rise of the county's Republican Party, and the subsequent increased role of partisanship and ideology in local elections of all types. It demonstrates how divisions within the school board along partisan lines affected many issues, including funding and bond issuances. It describes the social and political events beginning around 2000 that set the stage for the 2009 election and, in turn, concerted efforts to change Wake's diversity assignment policy.

Keywords:   Wake County, public schools, consensus, population growth, magnet, Republican Party, diversity

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