Diversity Matters

Why Care About Diversity?

“For more than 100 years, public education has helped to shape the backbone of growth and progress in North Carolina. Our public schools have tackled some of the greatest challenges of a state successfully making the transition from a farm and manufacturing economy to one based on technology, services and education.

A major accomplishment that may be attributed to the public schools is the successful desegregation of our society and the civility we enjoy every day. The public schools, and especially our classroom teachers, served on the front line as we marched through the barriers of races and class to overcome a history of separate and unequal educational systems.

Today, public schools thrive in our state as academic standards continue to increase and more students achieve proficiency than ever before. Our public schools continue to serve a unique role in fostering unity and strength within communities. The choice before us now is whether we will renew a commitment to diverse public schools for the benefit of all children and the larger community.

I urge that each of us become actively involved in understanding the value of healthy and diverse public schools that succeed with all children. Our commitment to diverse public schools is a commitment to each other and to the future of North Carolina.”  – the late William C. Friday, President Emeritus, UNC


“The more time both black and white students spend in desegregated elementary schools, the higher their standardized test scores in middle and high school, and the higher their track placements in secondary school. Desegregated schools have better material and human resources.”  – Dr. Roslyn Mickelson, UNC-Charlotte

“Even with a judicious use of salary differentials specifically designed to promote equity, the more segregated are the schools, the more unequal is likely to be the quality of teachers across schools.”  – Dr. Helen Ladd, Duke University

“Student achievement…has been clearly shown to fall as the poverty level of a school rises.  A consistent, forty-year body of scientific studies confirms that children who attend high-poverty schools face considerably higher risks of lower academic performance, whatever their individual academic potential.  In fact, middle –income students who attend high-poverty schools earn lower average test scores than do low-income students who attend middle class schools.” – U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics

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Diversity doesn’t undermine high quality education—it enhances it. ALL students learn more in settings with peers from other racial, ethnic, and social class backgrounds.  Diverse classrooms prepare students for citizenship and employment in a multiethnic, democratic society, promoting greater educational and occupational attainment and less involvement with the criminal justice system.

Adults who attend integrated K-12 schools are more likely to choose to:

  • Live in integrated neighborhoods
  • Have friends from many races and ethnic groups
  • Be employed in diverse workplaces

A study conducted by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce indicated that the US is facing a shortfall of college-educated workers by 2018.  Post secondary education is critical to our economy; ensuring that all WCPSS students graduate with a high-quality education so they are able to contribute to society as adults should be our community’s number one goal.

Related News Stories:

4/6/11 Wake school board accused of ‘cherry-picking’ data “Members of the community accused Wake County school district leaders of “cherry-picking” data to support their contention that busing for diversity was unfair to underprivileged students during the public comment portion of the school board meeting Tuesday.”

1/21/12 On US Education: It’s the Socioeconomic Segregation, Stupid “Just as red-lining was used for many years by the FHA to maintain racial purity and avoid ethnic mixing in housing, red-lining is a good description of what is going on today in urban public education to contain and isolate children of the poor in the new chain gang charter schools.”