Wake County Schools

Garner chamber hears 'controlled choice' plan for student assignment

Posted October 28, 2010

School Bus

— The Garner Chamber of Commerce received an update Wednesday on work involving an alternative student assignment plan for the Wake County Public School System.

Earlier this year, Wake Education Partnership and the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce hired Boston-based consultant Michael Alves to craft a plan that would give Wake County families options about where their children should go to school while focusing on the academic achievement mix of students attending each school.

The decision last month to hire Alves came amid the Wake County school board’s work on a 16-zone reassignment plan aimed at placing students in schools closer to their homes instead of assigning them to schools across the district to help achieve socio-economic diversity.

The school board's move to replace the decade-old busing policy has drawn protests from the NAACP, a number of community groups and residents who believe the change will lead to re-segregation, high teacher turnover and a lower quality of education for low-income students.

Proponents of the community-based assignment model have said the plan will create stability in students' education and give parents' choices.

WakeEd and the chamber of commerce say that Alves’ {{a href=”document-1”}}”controlled choice”{{/a}} plan would focus on all the concerns, emphasizing parental choice, proximity, stable assignments, student achievement and making sure all students have access to good schools.

Parents would be able to choose schools within the assignment area they live in for their children – whether it be a traditional-calendar, year-round calendar or magnet school. Once enrolled, students would remain in the school until parents decide to leave.

But when granting choices, attention would be given to the academic makeup of a school to maintain high student expectations in every school, while making it easier to retain high-quality teachers and principals.

Each attendance area must accommodate future growth and remain reasonable similar over time.

Alves’ plan is the only plan under development at the moment.

The school board scrapped work on a plan this month to move to community-based assignment after Vice Chairwoman Debra Goldman expressed concerns that parents and other board members weren’t getting enough opportunities to provide feedback on the plan.

Board members, however, say they still plan to move ahead with the plan, although they aren’t sure how it will look.


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  • independentvoter3 Oct 29, 2010

    If government allowed individuals to sign off on programs they did not support.... like public education, social security, medicare, etc... there would not be enough money to run them.... so no programs would exist. Then, where would we be. It is for the good of the people/country when its citizens are educated and can look forward to at least basic care and support when times get tough (unemployment), welfare, retirement and health care...The problem isn't not having enough money to pay for these programs, the problem is misappropriation, raiding of funds, and plain old poor management, including trying to run the world while we have so many homeless children in our own country. And... we haven't even addressed corruption and special interests yet...
    Also... do not compare tax funded public education with the gov. bail out. As you know, or should know by now, the gov. bail out was a result of unregulated derivatives markets wrought with Fraud...

  • superman Oct 29, 2010

    The plan should include legislation to exempt people who do not have children in school from paying 80% of their property tax to the schools. If you dont have children-- why should you have to pay for other people who have a house full of kids. This is no different than the bank bailout and the other giveway programs. 80% of my property taxes go to support the school and we dont have children. How is that fair? Its the system but that doesnt mean it is fair or equitable. When you complain about other people getting something you feel they dont deserve-- remember you are in the same boat with them. My property taxes are used to education your children.

  • independentvoter3 Oct 29, 2010

    I don't like the name "controlled choice." It's like telling the parents "You have some choices, but ultimately, it's under our control." Bad move. Baybee Doll

    Got news for you baybee doll... our entire lives are filled with controlled choices... especially as it relates to government and organizations of any kind. Guess what... they are right. But like you... I don't like it either.

  • jimmycarter Oct 28, 2010

    mwgrad--it's hard to explain to people who don't get it, but since your child hasn't started to school yet, let me explain.

    Your child will not be bused to poorer schools to help the less fortunate learn. No it's the poor that end up being bused. If your child is sent on a long bus ride to one of the schools you mentioned, it will likely be because you chose that school--it's called a "magnet school". Check the the statistics--95% of the students in Wake County go schools within 5 miles of their homes.

  • Baybee Doll Oct 28, 2010

    I don't like the name "controlled choice." It's like telling the parents "You have some choices, but ultimately, it's under our control." Bad move.

  • NC Reader Oct 28, 2010

    "So now they need Boston brains to sort it out."

    Unlike the New Jersey/Pennsylvania brains that have been "sorting it out" since the election?

    Give me North Carolina brains, with an understanding of history, to sort it out.

  • Phrostbite Oct 28, 2010

    I see the concept this plan would use & it would be pretty good once fully implemented, but there would be growing pains in the beginning. Under this plan you would likely have one of each type of school in a defined zone (magnet school & both traditional & year round options for all grade levels). However I don't see how this could be done in a cost effective manner. But at least it's a plan focused on trying to provide equal choice to all. Ambitious I know, but know pain, no gain.

  • Garnerwolf1 Oct 28, 2010

    How do you define "overwhelming mandate"?

    How much you want to bet that most complaining about this are the very ones that created/caused this issue?

  • cjw6105 Oct 28, 2010

    Folks, it's all about the Wake public school officials keeping control of the system and destroying neigborhood schools. These enlightened superior-intellects know what's best for your children and are determined to continue forced busing here. They see the Wake public schools as THEIRS, not yours!

    I resent not being able to vote on the tenure of EVERY board member instead of just one of them every four years. I especially wish I could hold air-heads like Debra Goldman and the four veteran board members accountable at the ballot box.

    Despite an overwhelming mandate by the public for Wake to end forced busing and return to neighborhood schools, Channel 5, the News & Observer, and the NAACP believe Wake voters didn't really understand what they did last October. So now they need Boston brains to sort it out.

    Those who voted for change have ushered in, for the FIRST TIME in 30 years, a PARTISAN school board, controlled (gasp) by Republicans! Now look what you've done!

  • Adelinthe Oct 28, 2010


    Couldn't they find an NC analyst/consultant to do this???

    I mean, lotsa smart people right here in our state, and many are out of work right now.

    God bless.