It's time to move on

Lifting aging desegregation order will lift our community

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All the faces have changed. Lots of the hearts, too.

There’s just no reason to keep Augusta schools under the cloud of a 1972 court desegregation order.

Federal Judge Dudley Bowen will hear arguments today about whether to lift the outdated order.

It’s so irrelevant these days that it’s almost irrelevant whether it’s lifted. At least legally.

But lifting it could make a huge statement about our ability and willingness to move forward as a community.

There’s no one in power who wants segregation. If there were, he’d be outvoted and ostracized. Contrary to what the media and the demagogues put forth, most of us want King’s dream of a
nation where children “will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

In the big picture, the desegregation order is little more than a museum relic. Truth be known, it’s probably a surprise to most folks today that one even still exists.

The formerly majority-white district is now 73 percent black. We don’t need a judge to tell a black superintendent or a racially even and cohesive school board not to discriminate based on race.

The chief contribution of the court order today is to clog the works of an already complicated and challenged public school system with superfluous regulations that are trying to prevent what no longer goes on. Our besieged school officials have enough to worry about without having the courts view their
actions through a 1960s or ’70s lens.

Is there any evidence that the district takes any action today based on race – except to the benefit of equal opportunity? Is there a shred of evidence that the district needs the court’s hands on the wheel to keep it on the straight and narrow in 2013?

If there are vestiges of segregation in our schools today, and there most certainly are, the schools have now done their part to erase them.

The schools cannot desegregate to a larger extent than the society at large is willing to.

The rest is up to us.

Equal opportunity has to be more than a slogan or a department of a glacial bureaucracy. It has to be explained and sold and wrapped in a package that has “hope” stamped on all sides.

It’s about jobs, environmental justice, strong families, moral foundations and more.

The only remaining role of the public school system – and it’s a huge one – is a quality education.

Even if the desegregation order is lifted, the case can always be revisited at the first signs of shenanigans.

Truly, the only reason for keeping the desegregation order is fear and distrust – which, ironically enough, is what drove much of segregation.

If trust in this town is still that bad, then we have much larger problems than a yellowing legal artifact.

Comments (30)

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Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 06/17/13 - 01:43 pm
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I try my best to be polite,

Unpublished

I try my best to be polite, but factual. I would imagine it was because one of the posters was repeatedly reposting the very things that he was told that his posts were deleted for. To me, that is just "poking the bear."

t3bledsoe
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t3bledsoe 06/17/13 - 01:52 pm
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This quote from the editorial is right on the nail

"The only remaining role of the public school system – and it’s a huge one – is a quality education."

Now, if we can get beyond the overwhelming idea that more taxes are going to fix this problem, then we would be on the right track. Tax payers have been hit more than ENOUGH times for school taxes. If the powers that be are convensed that more money is somehow the majic answer, then let them figure a much better way to pay for it !!

t3bledsoe
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t3bledsoe 06/17/13 - 02:02 pm
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HA again, you are a nice commenter !

"I try my best to be polite, but factual. I would imagine it was because one of the posters was repeatedly reposting the very things that he was told that his posts were deleted for. To me, that is just "poking the bear.""

If anybody tried any harder to be a nice poster, I don't think I have come across one yet ! I have stated that you could have probably let-me-have-it and still be with-in the posting edicate. Perhaps one of the "draws" to these postings is my effort to try and get under somebody's skin. I guess that it is good that we have a few commenters that see this as a sounding board to prove the truth !

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 06/17/13 - 03:26 pm
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Clarification

Comment 1 from t3bledsoe:

My point is, "Why waste judicial and/or legislative time to repeal a law that is accually superceded by The No Child Left Behind Law?"

Comment 2 from t3bledsoe:

"Even if the desegregation order is lifted, the case can always be revisited at the first signs of shenanigans." This statement even tells why the law should stay on the books. If signs of shenanigans crop up, then you have this active law to stop it.

You have to understand that the matter in question – is a federal court order. It is not a law. The court order requires Richmond County BOE to keep detailed records of hiring, firing, disciplining of employees and students by race (and also keeping separate racial statistics by job classification groupings). They have to report to the federal Department of Education these statistics on periodic basis. They have to pay a hefty stipend to a "special master" representing the plantiffs (from the 1970s to now — that's a hunk of change). They also have to pay the school board attorney hefty fees to review and sign off on those reports.

Having this court order declared satisfied by a federal judge will stop this wasteful and useless activity of making these worthless reports. And it will stop the financial bleeding to the special master and the attorney.

It's a win for the teachers, students, administrators, and taxpayers if Judge Bowen closes this order.

syfredrick
31
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syfredrick 06/17/13 - 06:15 pm
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This Is Hilarious!

It's like South Carolina talk about education or Texas talk about sex education.

nocnoc
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nocnoc 06/17/13 - 06:57 pm
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Bussing in the 70's

From a 1st hand account ME.

Get up at 4:30am dress, eat, and a .9/10 of a mile walk out to US25 to catch the bus at 6am.

Ride the bus all over hell and few side streets to pick up the right mix according to the plan. Get to school around 7:25am.
Bell rings & 1st class at 8am, fall asleep in class just before lunch.

Repeat going home.
From an education point it was stupid.
From a equality stand point it was needed in 1970-2.

But to milk it for 41+ years was only greed.

AutumnLeaves
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AutumnLeaves 06/17/13 - 07:41 pm
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Humble Angela, SeenitB4 and

Humble Angela, SeenitB4 and nocnoc, among a few others have covered all the bases. I just want to add a little to nocnoc's last line in the previous comment: "But to milk it for 41+ years was only greed." If you want to know why it was dragged on for all those years, who benefited the most from this after the first few years of introductory change? Not the schools, not the students, not their communities, obviously, in the latter years. Follow the money trail. And yes, I lived here through it all.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 06/17/13 - 07:59 pm
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Money Trail

It was Pete Fletcher and Ben Allen getting the financial rewards.

Young Fred
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Young Fred 06/18/13 - 01:01 am
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"...who benefited the most

"...who benefited the most from this after the first few years of introductory change? Not the schools, not the students, not their communities..."

Why not the schools, the students or communities? The answer is simplistic yet unpalatable! If, IF, we are ready to face reality.

The "solution" is part of the problem. The status quo is just that, a
"status quo" of failure - not that ever stopped anybody from promoting more of the same...

AutumnLeaves
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AutumnLeaves 06/19/13 - 09:34 am
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Thank you, Little Lamb. And

Thank you, Little Lamb. And guess who was interviewed about it on TV. Ben Allen. Do you have a guess where he is hoping to pop up next to make up the difference? I do.

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