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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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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Is Wake Different?

Is Wake Different?

(p.90) 7 Is Wake Different?
End of Consensus

Toby L. Parcel

Andrew J. Taylor

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter sets the case of Wake County into a broader national perspective by comparing it with a number of other urban and suburban jurisdictions. Particular attention is paid to understanding Wake's often-reported uniqueness. A typology of school districts is developed based on the characteristics critical to understanding both the breakdown in Wake's consensus and the efforts to move it away from the diversity assignment policy. Specifically, the urban and suburban jurisdictions are sorted into four cells based upon their variation in racial heterogeneity and civic life (or the extent to which residents have reserves of social capital). The role of population growth/decline and partisan politics in the experiences of these districts is also considered. Special emphasis is placed on a comparison with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district, also located in North Carolina. The analysis indicates that racial and socioeconomic heterogeneity and a robust civic life make Wake quite different from many other districts. Wake was able to sustain a diversity policy for an extended period of time while its growing population and more partisan local politics resulted in volatile policy making.

Keywords:   Wake County, school districts, Wake's consensus, racial heterogeneity, socioeconomic heterogeneity, civic life, population growth, partisan politics

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