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In Wake County, N.C.: Which direction for diversity in schools?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011; 6:59 PM

In his Jan. 14 letter, "Maintaining diversity in schools," about racially based educational policies in Wake County, N.C., Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that "America's strength has always been a function of its diversity" and that "equity and diversity in education" are "core values embodied in our founding documents." Is it any surprise that the leader of the Education Department can get it wrong on both accounts?

America's strength has always been a function of its liberty, not its diversity. Governmentally imposed diversity treads upon and degrades liberty and weakens rather than strengthens our nation.

After reading the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and its 25 amendments, and the Federalist Papers, I can find no reference in these seminal documents, either direct or implied, concerning equity and diversity in education. I can only hope that Mr. Duncan's PC-morphed visions of the root of America's greatness and the content of our founding documents are not being rammed down the throats of educators and children in our public schools.

Patrick McGinn, California, Md.

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Wake County's citizens' struggle to maintain diversity in our schools is important, and not just for the citizens of Wake County. It has transcended the status of being a local issue. This struggle has become a microcosm of the politics of the entire United States. We are signaling how we want to move forward in terms of race and class relations. Our big question is this: Do we want to go in the direction the Wake board is moving in, pretending that we have achieved a post-racial America? Or do we want to go in the direction of diversity, recognizing the reality that the gap has not quite been bridged yet?

One could draw comparisons to the Arizona immigration law. In both cases, local governments are ignoring federal laws because they feel that their way is superior, all while overlooking or ignoring the protests from minorities. What happens when people start imitating these kinds of laws? We burn the bridges we've worked so hard to build. Right now, we're past the civil rights movement. Yet the paths we're choosing are carrying us straight back toward that era.

Jordan DeLoatch, Cary, N.C.

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