Advocates of community schools gather in thanks

Posted March 24, 2010

Wake County Public School System

— A group of parents who support change in student assignment gathered Wednesday to praise the actions of the Wake County Board of Education.

The board voted a second and final time Tuesday night to work toward a model of community-based schools in favor of the county's decade-old policy of assigning students to achieve socio-economic diversity.

It was an outcome that pleased members of WakeCARES, a group that backed the four candidates who, along with board chairman Ron Margiotta, now form a majority in favor of community schools.

Members of the group held a news conference in Apex to affirm their gratitude for the board's action.

"We've got a new system," said parent Patrice Lee, one of the three co-founders of WakeCARES.

"We need to quit fighting it and embrace it and try to make it work," she said.

Opponents of the new majority warn that a change in policy could create pockets of poverty and low-income, high-minority schools.

They are concerned about the lack of specifics.

"We've seen no plan, no data to support even moving forward with the plan and we've seen no assessment of costs," Patty Williams said. She represents the Great Schools in Wake Coalition, a group opposed to the board's decision.

"We're not going to relent in our pursuit in what's right for all those children and the community at large," she said.

John Tedesco, the author of the resolution, said the new majority's vision is to give parents choices and that busing students to achieve diversity hasn't been working.

Resolution to establish Community Assignment Zones for Wake County schools

Board members Deborah Prickett, Chris Malone and Debra Goldman joined Tedesco and Margiotta in Tuesday's vote. Board members Keith Sutton, Kevin Hill, Anne McLaurin and Carolyn Morrison voted against the change.

Tedesco said the board will decide the specifics of a new assignment policy over the next nine to 15 months and would begin to implement their new strategy in the 2011-2012 school year.

Over time, Tedesco said, less than 10 percent of students would have to be reassigned. Students who did move to a school closer to home would do so as they completed an educational level, so that a student might stay at one elementary school and be reassigned before middle school, he said. 

He anticipates the school system would see costs savings on student transportation and bus fleet maintenance. Sending students to schools within 5 or 6 miles of their homes would streamline busing, Tedesco said.

The current student assignment policy is based on the level of students receiving free- or reduced-price lunches at any one school. Under the plan, students are reassigned each year to maintain that level of socio-economic diversity, as well as to fill new schools and relieve overcrowding.

Lee acknowledged that raw feelings exist on both sides of the debate.

"I think there's a lot of mending that needs to take place," she said. "I think there's a lot of understanding that needs to go on."


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  • Garnerwolf1 Mar 26, 2010

    Now if only WakeCARES and their lackeys had a plan for what to do next...

  • hardwork919 Mar 26, 2010

    "After working all day, are parents going to drive 15 miles to their child's school. No way! The previous board members were more concerned about showing Wake County had few failing schools. We want to address the problems and try to solve them not hide them with diversity quotas!" etshoney

    That seems to be the problem of the parents. I mean how far is 15 miles REALLY? LOL It's not like you have to walk. You would only go to your child's school if it's 5 miles as opposed to 15? SMH

  • caneFan Mar 26, 2010

    LOL Newman - sure you did. I tried your google expirement and
    have yet to find any reference to Wake County or any other
    school system for that matter. Perhaps the Google Big Brother
    is watching you a bit too closely. Better be careful what you search for.

  • etshoney Mar 26, 2010

    The only reason for "diversity" is to prevent certain schools from being labeled "failing". That prevents the district from looking bad and makes it obvious that they are no funding and taking care of the neighborhood schools in poor communities. Few in this county would accept failing schools in poor neighborhoods. We will make sure the funding is there and there is no reason for parents not to participate in their child's education. After working all day, are parents going to drive 15 miles to their child's school. No way! The previous board members were more concerned about showing Wake County had few failing schools. We want to address the problems and try to solve them not hide them with diversity quotas!

  • caneFan Mar 26, 2010

    @sentramom: Not everybody will live within walking distance to
    their "neighborhood" school - If they are not, it is a moot point.

    You have no right to ASSUME that those against this policy are lazy and are not part of our children's education. I CHOSE a school for my kids that REQUIRED volunteer time from ALL parents. I CHOSE that school precisely so that I could be part of their education. Was it in my neighborhood? Nowhere close. I CHOSE to pick a school based on what was important to me for my child. If driving distance is most important to you, go for
    it. Don't take away from what is important to me and my child.
    I think you have the entitlement theory backwards. Perhaps
    you should spend all that energy in finding ways to make your
    school community better for you and ALL members of that school community, regardless of where they live.

  • stupiditydeservesnosympathy Mar 26, 2010

    The people against the neighborhood schools are the ones too lazy to be part of their kids education. They feel entitlement and are just mad that is being taken away. The REAL racism is what the NAACP says about AA children needing to be around white kids to succeed.
    One of my friends told me about a meeting she attended last year where several single mothers were upset with the busing policy b/c they would not be able to pick their kids up from school should their children become sick due to lack of transportation.
    Believe or not, not everyone owns a car.

  • caneFan Mar 26, 2010

    @MARX "A truely crazy question: Does anyone know the actual "bussing" numbers? How many ride a bus for X duration?"

    They have the 2008-2009 info on their web page at:
    It does not identify F&R for these, but does break it out by
    Assigned vs Choice (transfers or magnets). It also does not say
    what kind of bus it is - if they are traveling by express bus
    from the further distances (which is very common) the travel
    time is not going to be as long as if they are having to stop at every neighborhood.

  • Remy Mar 25, 2010

    "they did, it's called neighborhood schools.

    What up!!!" Takethis

    You obviously did not get the point. I was responding to some one that said that if someone did not like their neighborhood school, they should just move. My point being that everyone is not financially able to just move. This is not a solution for many. Your ocmments are completely out of context.

  • NoFreakinWay Mar 24, 2010

    "Need to come up with a more reasonable solution"

    they did, it's called neighborhood schools.

    What up!!!

  • NoFreakinWay Mar 24, 2010

    "What is going to happen when all who can afford it send their kids to private schools because they are so disgusted with public schools?"

    there aren't enough private schools or spots available in the ones we do have. have you seen the waiting lists at some?