The sprawling Wake County School District has long been a rarity. Some of its best, most diverse schools are in the poorest sections of this capital city. And its suburban schools, rather than being exclusive enclaves, include children whose parents cannot afford a house in the neighborhood, reports the Washington Post. But over the past year, a new majority-Republican school board backed by national tea party conservatives has set the district on a strikingly different course. Pledging to “say no to the social engineers!” it has abolished the policy behind one of the nation’s most celebrated integration efforts. And as the board moves toward a system in which students attend neighborhood schools, some members are embracing the provocative idea that concentrating poor children, who are usually minorities, in a few schools could have merits–logic that critics are blasting as a 21st-century case for segregation…

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staff and wire services reports