Wake County Schools

Wake schools assignment data shows parents want proximity

Posted August 16, 2011
Updated September 8, 2011

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— Wake County parents overwhelmingly want their children assigned to schools close to home, Superintendent Tony Tata told the Board of Education during its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday evening.

He supported his claim with the results of a recent online test-drive of the choice-based student assignment plan he proposed in May. 

That plan would allow parents to pick from a variety of schools based on their address. Tata said the data shows that most parents are likely to choose the school nearest their home.

In March, Tata appointed a task force to tackle the controversial issue of student assignment after the scrapping of a decades-old busing for diversity program prompted bitter community debate and divisiveness among school board members.

The task force unveiled two competing assignment models in May and encouraged parents to sign on to the Wake County Public School System's website, type in their address, take a look at their options and make a trial-run selection. More than 21,000 parents participated, which helped the task force predict what final choices would look like under the new plan, task force leader James Overman said.

John Tedesco Wake school board makes progress toward assignment plan

But if every parent selects a school based on proximity, the board will have two major hurdles to overcome – capacity and cost of transportation.

School board vice-chair John Tedesco said he is especially worried about Garner High School, which already has a high number of mobile classrooms to accommodate its burgeoning enrollment.

"An excess of 2,000 additional students in a school built for 1,600? That's not right," Tedesco said.

Tata, his staff and the board all agreed that they need to now focus their attention on feeder patterns, magnet schools and designated achievement schools, but felt some relief to be making progress. Tata said he hopes to bring a final plan before the school board by October.

"We are headed in the right direction," Tedesco said. "You saw the survey, parents wanted proximity (and) that's everything we've been fighting for for two years."

Board member Keith Sutton praised the thoughtfulness of the plan.

"(We're) trying to come up with the best possible solutions and trying to make as many people happy or satisfied as possible," he said.

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  • BubbaDuke Aug 18, 2011

    My daughter had to ride a bus for 45 minutes each way, and the school was only a five minute drive from our home. I can only imagine the fuel costs to bus kids from inner city schools to the suburbs for 'diversity' reasons.

    I also understand Tedesco's concern about Garner High School being overcrowded - and I'm grateful that my daughter was able to go to Middle Creek instead. I was worried she would be exposed to the gangs and 'disengaged' students that storcheim mentioned previously. Children have to want to learn; neither the parents, the teachers, nor the school board can force someone to prepare for their future.

  • storchheim Aug 17, 2011

    @takes_2, please. Just please. Stop with all the excuses. No computer, no phone, no pen, no education. Now you're down to the excuse of "they didn't know where to send their grievances"? Puh-lease.

    That must mean that they NEVER found out who else is in their kids' class; never bothered to meet the parents of their kids' friends; never talked with neighbors, friends, anyone at all about their unhappiness with the school choices. You cannot convince me that they exhausted their avenues of exploration and no one at all knew where to direct them.

    No. They just couldn't be bothered. They've been trained to sit back and wait for it to come to them. And those are not worth saving. Yes, I said it. People that hopelessly disengaged are not worth saving. I'll go further: you can't save them. Don't waste my money; write them off.

    Unbelievable.

  • Realthoughts Aug 17, 2011

    The reason good teachers don't wish to work in a "bad" school is they probably do fear for their safety. I wonder why that is.... oh yeah, the parents allow their kids to take knives and other weapons to school. Students make threats and damage school property. Yes, to keep a school nice takes more than the teachers and faculty.

  • storchheim Aug 17, 2011

    @elcid, you keep repeating "the state has a mandate the state has a mandate." Report any violations of the law to the proper authorities. Or is it your opinion that the schools that have more money are violating the law?

    Your subsequent comment, with no proof I might add, does not change the fact that some people produce and others do nothing but hold their hand out for more.

  • storchheim Aug 17, 2011

    "They need to start by pulling all the locally generated funding in to the central office, and distributing that to all the schools equally, or alternatively they need to ban these fundraisers altogether."

    Again, this is wealth redistribution. Some parents choose to work harder, and so have more funds to donate. Why should it be handed to those who don't? Banning them altogether - whoa there, I thought you cared about children; now you want to punish the achievers again? Are you sure you don't hate prosperous people more than you care about kids?

    "They need to control teacher transfers such that each school has an equal distribution of experienced and new teachers, better and lower rated teachers, etc."

    Why do teachers transfer? Fear for their lives, maybe?

    "And folks need to realize that a lot of them aren't going to get the school that they want. That's reality. - elcid"

    That includes the "less fortunate".

  • brianwmcnatt Aug 17, 2011

    I AM NEUTRAL ON THE ISSUE BUT,

    I took this so called poll. It asks you to rank a list of schools by your preference. The problem is that it was no choice at all. The list is composed of schools I will not send my kids to and schools that you have to apply to. An accurate poll would have listed all of the schools. Instead of trying to get a feel for what people truly prefer, the poll is designed to give the appearance that folks are saying that the school they list as number one is satisfactory, even if their kids have no chance of getting into it.

  • anotherm Aug 17, 2011

    good schools have both to do with teachers and students. A large concentration of kids with parents that are not involved, aren't ready to learn, and don't care is going to be more problematic for teachers and drive teachers to other schools. However, a principal and core set of good teachers can do a lot to turn many behaviors around but it is much much harder and just like most people, most principals and teachers would rather have it easier somewhere else and go there. Hence, in the long run, the students end up having the most impact on school quality but teachers have large impact as well. Facilities in my opinion are the lowest influence, beyond a certain minimum quality of facilities, it really doesn't make a difference if a classroom is in a mobile classroom or physical building (for most things). Learning 9th grade math doesn't happen better in either place.

  • wakemom Aug 17, 2011

    "A school good or bad had more to less to do with the facility and teachers and more to do with the students that attend!"

    POSITIVELY NOT TRUE. AWakeMom

    Then if it is not true then how can you expain it when you have a brand new school built in SE Raleigh and all new teachers and you still have students with low test scores, knife fights, drugs. Tell how this doesn't come from the student who attend. Certainly the teachers aren't handing out drugs and knives as part of their classes.

    If parents would do more to stay in touch with what is going on in their child's life and making sure they are keep up in their studies then you would see much higher test scores and graduation rates!
    Realthoughts

    where is this brand new school that you're speaking of? i havent seen one in years!!

  • randall0123a Aug 17, 2011

    Haggis, apparently you have the opinion that people that do less should have the same rewards of those that do more – interesting. You work as hard as it takes to provide your family with the lifestyle you want - period. The problem most people don’t understand or just refuse to do, is this takes dedication and often much sacrifice. The road to a better life is work harder, re-educate, cut expenses; have less now to allow for more later. If you want the school board to be responsible for race populations in school, then I guess the FDA better start desegregating the neighborhood grocery stores. The city/county council members need to desegregate public libraries and community centers. Religious leaders need to be responsible for desegregating churches. The DMV is responsible for desegregating neighborhood roads. You either accept your life as it is or you chose to change it - no one is "deserving." By the way, being poor is not the sole province of any single race.

  • Realthoughts Aug 17, 2011

    "A school good or bad had more to less to do with the facility and teachers and more to do with the students that attend!"

    POSITIVELY NOT TRUE. AWakeMom

    Then if it is not true then how can you expain it when you have a brand new school built in SE Raleigh and all new teachers and you still have students with low test scores, knife fights, drugs. Tell how this doesn't come from the student who attend. Certainly the teachers aren't handing out drugs and knives as part of their classes.

    If parents would do more to stay in touch with what is going on in their child's life and making sure they are keep up in their studies then you would see much higher test scores and graduation rates!

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