WaPo Paints N.C. Conservatives As Opposed to 'School Integration' for Ending Busing

Today's Washington Post all but painted Tea Party conservatives in the Tar Heel State as racists opposed to racial integration and diversity in Raleigh-area schools.

In truth the Wake County, North Carolina, school board is simply moving to reverse decades of busing that shuttled some students to schools farther away from their homes in an effort to artificially engineer the socioeconomic and racial diversity of the county's individual schools.

"In N.C., a new battle on school integration," the Post headlined staffer Stephanie McCrummen's story on today's A-section front page.

"With tea party's backing, GOP school board moves to dismantle widely praised diversity policy," added the subheader.


"[O]ver the past year, a new majority-Republican school board backed by national tea party conservatives has set the district on a strikingly different course," McCrummen complained. "Pledging to 'say no to the social engineers!' it has abolished the policy behind one of the nation's most celebrated integration efforts."

"[C]ritics accuse the new board of pursuing an ideological agenda aimed at nothing less than sounding the official death knell of government-sponsored integration in one of the last places to promote it," the Post staffer added later. "Without a diversity policy in place, they say, the county will inevitably slip into the pattern that defines most districts across the country, where schools in well-off neighborhoods are decent and those in poor, usually minority neighborhoods struggle."

McCrummen waited until the 19th paragraph in the article to note that the "diversity" plan has had little success in sewing up the"stubborn achievement gap that separates minority students from their white peers."

In the 22nd out of 37 paragraphs, McCrummen got around to quoting a proponent of ending busing, Kathleen Brennan, who lamented that "diversity" policy proponents "are patting themselves on the back and only 54 percent of [poor] kids are graduating. And I'm being painted a racist."

A few paragraphs later, McCrummen quoted a biracial parent of two children in Wake County schools who complained about the "diversity" plan that its central conceit seemed to be that "the best we can do is dilute these kids so they don't cause problems."

By contrast,  McCrummen front-loaded the article with harsh allegations of racial animus, quoting NAACP president Ben Jealous's incendiary charge that the conservatives on the Wake County school board were "literally attempt[ing] to turn back the clock," in the story's ninth paragraph.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters