According to the News Observer, the turmoil over Wake County schools reached the top of the federal Department of Education Friday, as Education Secretary Arne Duncan criticized Wake’s decision to discard its school diversity policy in a letter published by the Washington Post. Duncan’s comments came near the end of a tumultuous week for Wake’s 143,000-student system, which remained locked in a battle over a review of its accreditation with the powerful AdvancED agency. Both the accreditation agency’s probe and an investigation by the Office for Civil Rights of Duncan’s department were prompted by an NAACP complaint about the Wake system. Responding to a Post article Wednesday about the system, Duncan wrote that “it is troubling to see North Carolina’s Wake County School Board taking steps to reverse a long-standing policy to promote racial diversity in its schools.” Noting the NAACP complaint filed against Wake with the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, Duncan says “it should also prompt a conversation among educators, parents and students across America about our core values.”

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staff and wire services reports