Wake County Schools

Student assignment plan gets online test drive

Posted June 13, 2011

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— Parents in Wake County can test drive one of two proposed student assignment plans under consideration. 

A test drive of the Community-Based Choice plan, or blue plan, launched Monday on the student assignment website. 

The blue plan allows parents to choose from a variety of four to six elementary schools, each linked with a middle and high school. Students get priority based on whether they have a sibling at the school or live close by, and the district takes into account achievement balance and capacity at any individual school.

Test drive the "blue plan"

The alternative, the Base Schools Achievement, or green plan, is similar to the current assignment model. Under it, the school system assigns students based on student achievement, ensuring that students from low-performing areas end up at high-performing schools.

Superintendent Tony Tata introduced the two plans last month, and parents had through Sunday to read them over and share their comments on the district's website. The pages were visited more then 280,000 times and almost 2,000 visitors left a comment, according to Michael Evans, a spokesman for the Wake County Public School System. Of those who left a message, 682 indicated a preference for the blue plan, Evans said.

Wake County Public School System Student assignment plan gets online test drive

On Monday evening, Tata updated school board members about the progress of the two proposed plans. He said the online simulation would allow them to see what a real-world student distribution would look like. After seeing the choices parents would make, adjustments can be made in developing a final student assignment plan. 

“In order to ensure that we can provide adequate options for parents, including calendar, proximity and achievement choices, we need to learn as best we can what real world choices Wake County parents might make," Tata said.

While Tata said he doesn't favor one plan over the other, the majority of parents commenting online last week favored the blue plan. 

"As you read through (the comments,) you see a 2-to-1 preference for choice (plan)," Tata said. 

Tata said he hoped that at least 10,000 families would participate in the online simulation which runs through June 20. 

Survey questions on the website also ask parents to rate the importance of things like a defined feeder pattern, and the importance of having proximity to the school's location to home as possible. It also asks parents whether their choice would be impacted by transportation changes including community express bus stops for those choosing to go to school further from home.

The topic of student assignment is also on the agenda for the June 21 school board meeting. Tata said the feedback given so far, and the information gathered from the trial run this week will be invaluable in determining what he proposes to the board at that meeting.

Tata said his task force has also reached out to community and church groups to ensure the voices of those with limited or no Internet access will also be included in the process. The superintendent said they will closely monitor feedback throughout the trial run, and try to solicit more from any areas where participation appears to be low.

“The more parents that can participate this week, the better, the richer our information will be, and the more precise we can be about any plan moving forward," Tata said. 

State NAACP president Rev. William Barber sent an open letter Monday asking Tata to meet with members of the NAACP before bringing any assignment proposal to the school board. 

When asked about the letter, Tata acknowledged he received it, but said he had not yet had time to read it. Tata said he remains open to talking with anyone adding, “We are welcoming all feedback.”


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  • thescarletpimpernel Jun 14, 2011

    ++++State NAACP president Rev. William Barber sent an open letter Monday asking Tata to meet with members of the NAACP before bringing any assignment proposal to the school board.

    Go away Reverend. I did not see your name on the Wake County School board roster. The voters of Wake County have spoken and we want change without your input.

  • momeeee Jun 14, 2011

    Momeeee, you do realize you can "grandfather" your child under either plan, right? Also, if it's the closest school to your house, how does this "neighborhood schools" thing pan out for you? I'm baffled by some of the convoluted logic involved in this.
    The green plan and the current plan do not give me the choice of the closest school to my home WFE. It would be nice to save on gas and bus children to their nearest school.

  • Word Jun 14, 2011

    Anyone saying that they prefer one plan over the other is obviously rushing to a rash decision. Seriously, these plans are NOT well thought out and people are giving their opinion on only 1/2 the facts! People think!!!

  • edith wharton Jun 14, 2011

    How did anyone infer that most Wake County parents like the Blue Plan? It made no sense for my family when it came to high school choices and it listed our middle school choices in anything except "proximity" order. It seemed very ill thought-out. The reason they need people to "test drive" it is because they have no confidence that it could work as stated if people were actually given choice.

  • jamzwilkins Jun 14, 2011

    Do people NOT understand that the green plan is essentially a subset of the blue plan? You want what you have? Great...CHOOSE IT. Don't like your current progression of schools? CHOOSE IT.

    Let the costs pan out once we see where people choose. Adjust accordingly. That's why there are choices on where to go based on proximity, transportation requirements, achievement.

  • edith wharton Jun 14, 2011

    Common_sense_plz, are you really going to take your child out of her charter school under the blue plan? I doubt it! If your daughter is being felt up in the hallways, that is a function of the principal and administration of that school not doing its job. It can happen anywhere. A former co-worker of mine took his daughter out of Green Hope HS in Cary for exactly the same reason 9 years ago. Things got better there, apparently, because I have friends whose kids have had no trouble there in recent years. Schools change for the good and the bad. It's about the principals and teachers, not the students.

  • edith wharton Jun 14, 2011

    Momeeee, you do realize you can "grandfather" your child under either plan, right? Also, if it's the closest school to your house, how does this "neighborhood schools" thing pan out for you? I'm baffled by some of the convoluted logic involved in this.

  • Bring on the 4 Dollar Gas Jun 14, 2011

    "Mr. Sutton ... will be the lone voice supporting the old diversity policy" If he wins sure. Since he was appointed there is no guarantee he'll win. Since he'll be the last hold out praying for a diversity only come back it really won't matter either way will it.

  • bill0 Jun 14, 2011

    "I did the test drive, as with most wake county parents I like the blue plan as it gives me choices"

    The choices look great - until you realize that just because you "chose" doesn't mean your kid actually goes to that school. You may not get your first choice, or your second choice, or even your third choice. The blue plan still doesn't provide any certainty about where our kids will go to school. It still leaves the decision up to school system officials.

    Also, this is definitely not "neighborhood" schooling. My choices ranged from downtown raleigh (where I live) to North Raleigh and even to Cary. If my daughter didn't get her first choice, she could be bused just as far as kids are under the current plan.

  • momeeee Jun 14, 2011

    The Blue plan is best for my family. I can choose the school my son is at now (not our base yr or traditional) so we have to provide all transportation, but luckily it is a mile from my house so it is closer that the others. The Green plan only lets me choose the schools that are now our base and not the school he is currently attending which is closer by far!