I talked about Raleigh NC and Wake County back in January after the school board there introduced a plan to end busing and desegregation.
Wake County, home of the capital of the state I grew up in (a Southern state no less) is telling children and parents that diversity is no longer a proper or necessary goal for public schools.
Before the Tea Party took control of the GOP, Wake County was a held up as a model school district. It dropped racial integration for economic integration ten years ago and since then is one of the better ranked large school districts in not just the state, but the entire country.
Well, voters in Wake County had their say yesterday, and they threw the Tea Party out on their ignorant asses.
The big win for Democrats and desegregation represents a big loss for conservative benefactor Art Pope, who served as the architect of the 2009 school board election that saw an anti-diversity Republican majority win control of the officially nonpartisan body, and who along with his political network backed yesterday’s losing candidates. Pope is one of the most influential money men in North Carolina politics and is a close national ally of the billionaire Koch brothers through his role as a national director of the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, which backs school privatization and whose North Carolina chapter helped Republicans in the 2009 school board race.
With five of the board’s nine seats up for grabs yesterday, Democrats won four races outright and ousted board chair Ron Margiotta, a particularly divisive figure who also serves as a trustee for a private school run by Bob Luddy, a close associate of Pope and the Koch brothers and another major funder of this year’s anti-diversity-policy candidates. Margiotta lost to political newcomer Susan Evans by 52% to 48% in Southwest Wake’s District 8, considered the most strongly Republican of the board’s nine districts.
The fifth race looks to be headed to a runoff, but the Tea Party’s pointman in NC, Art Pope, took it in the shorts back in my home state. The difference was turnout, where election officials were expecting around a 10% turnout for the special election, the actual number was much higher driven by absentee/early voting and the controversy surrounding the school board. It was 9-0 Republicans in 2009. Four of them have been tossed, and Democrats can take a majority depending on the runoff results.
When you vote, you can change things, folks. Remember that.