Wake County Schools

Two Wake student assignment proposals to be unveiled

Posted May 23, 2011

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— Parents of students in the Wake County Public School System will get their first chance Monday to look at what student assignment could be like under a new policy that moves away from socio-economic diversity as the sole criteria for placing children in schools.

The school system will post a link on its website at 4 p.m., where parents will be able to enter their address and see student assignment options that would be available to them under the proposed plans.

Neither of the plans are new, Superintendent Tony Tata said Monday, but are based on previous plans put before the school board.

The goal, he said, is to find a compromise for supporters of the longstanding practice of busing students to achieve socio-economic diversity and those who support having children going to schools closer to where they live.

The "blue" plan incorporates elements of a community-based choice plan backed by the Wake Education Partnership and the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. It would allow parents to enter their address and then choose from a list of available schools.

The "green" plan puts more of an emphasis on balancing student achievement across the county to prevent pockets of good or bad schools. It uses the nodes familiar to Wake families.

“It’s not going to make everybody happy,” Tata said. “There’s just no way to do that, but I think we’re trying to find that middle ground, that balance.”

He expects 80 to 90 percent of parents would be pleased with the options and would get to send their child to the school of their choice. Both plans would cap enrollment so that students can't cluster in schools where the demand is greatest.

The Wake County Board of Education voted last year to favor proximity over socio-economic factors. Supporters of the board's action said the old policy resulted in long bus rides for some students and did not deliver on promised gains in student achievement.

The superintendent previewed the plans for members of the school board last month and, despite a year of divisive battles over how to implement a new student assignment model, was met with cautious approval from both sides.

Tata has said that he will consider the public feedback before making a recommendation to the school board. School leaders plan to implement the new plan for the 2012-13 school year.


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  • stevenkirkland May 23, 2011

    The problem with neighborhood schools in bad neighborhoods is the kids that really do want to learn have 0 chance to. At least with dispersing the bad neigborhoods those few that want to learn and who's parents care have a chance. If they don't take the chance it is not the fault of the school or the busing. Amazing so many from "the party of personal responsibility" don't see this.

  • tgiv May 23, 2011

    The Neighborhood Schools plan IS the old plan. It has been proven as a failure in every large district in which it has been implemented.

    What is the national average for this group? What is the drop out rate for this same group in Cleveland, Kansas City, Hartford, Memphis, Buffalo, Houston, Dallas, Broward County and Washington DC? It's lower than Wake County, and in the worst case twice as bad.

    "Diversity for the sake of diversity isn't the way to improve high school graduation rates."

    Given the evidence, economic segregation for the sake of economic segregation has proved to be even worse.

  • beachboater May 23, 2011

    If a child doesn't care if he passes or fails, he will fail. If the parents don't instill in him the need for an education to provide for his future family, he will fail. If he has that attitude, he will do any and everything to disrupt classes and keep others from learning.

    Ask anyone in their 50's or 60's what happened if you got in trouble in school. The got a paddling at school, and probably a worse one at home. Today, NOBODY gets paddled. There is no dicipline in schools today. The Board doesn't support the Superintendant, the superentendant doesn't support the principals, and the principals don't support the teachers.

    So guess what. The teachers are at the bottom of the food chain and they get to the point that they don't care either.

    Put good old spare the rod spoil the child policies back in effect in the schools, and I guarantee there will be improvement.

    None of this mess where, "my child wouldn't do that." Those parents are not helping their children.

  • spoiledr_2000 May 23, 2011

    this conversation almost always turns into a racial debate. I just want my child to have a good education.

  • mpheels May 23, 2011

    roberttt42 - according the NC state law, the county has to provide transportation for any child who has to travel more than 1.5 miles to get to school and for kids who can't get to school without crossing major roads/highways (defined by # of lanes and presence of medians). This is another one of those things that falls under physical impossibility - there is no way the county can build an elementary, middle, and high school within 1.5 miles of every residence in the county. Neighborhood schools work somewhat is very dense, urban areas, and even then there are myriad problems. Wake county is far to sprawling to make neighborhood schools work in the truest sense. The dirty truth of this whole debacle is that changing assignment plans will not save any money. It will change the way money is spent, but ultimately, there will not be any real savings.

  • Krimson May 23, 2011

    "In the current system, over 35% of the african american kids are dropping out of Wake County High Schools. That says the current socio-economic diversity (race) based busing is failing these kids. Instead of spreading these kids out all over Wake County so that we have no failing schools as a result of the kids who are being bussed. Why don't we leave them in schools close to their homes and spend the savings in Diesel fuel from not busing the kids all over Wake County to hire specialists to provide the kids the help they need to succeed and graduate. Diversity for the sake of Diversity doesn't make sense.

    Because study after study demonstrates that it cost tax-payers more to try and keep a failing school open than it is to disperse those same kids around the same system.

  • wakemom May 23, 2011

    i cannot wait until 4pm comes to see this plan!

  • Krimson May 23, 2011

    "Begin charging a nominal fee to EVERY student to pay for it." We already do that - its called "taxes". In fact, everyone pays into the system, not just the students, in order to educate said students. An educated populace benefits everyone, including those without children.

  • Krimson May 23, 2011

    "The previous failed school boards favored diversity over student achievement. The new school board favors student achievement over diversity. Which would you want for your child?"
    May 23, 2011 11:53 a.m.

    The previous school system was once named 3rd best in the US for big cities by Forbes Magazine. The new school board has made promises. Frankly, I prefer to stay with the 3rd best than possibly damage the system with some vague notion of "neighborhood schools".

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama May 23, 2011

    The way they hire teachers is part of the problem.

    Instead of the school district hiring teachers and sending them where they are needed. In Wake County, individual schools hire teachers.

    When Wake County implements neighborhood schools, teachers will need to be hired by the county and sent where they are needed.

    Otherwise, the good teachers will apply to schools in the suburbs with the teachers who can't get a job applying for jobs in the inner city areas.