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Discussing the blue plan

The discussion of the blue plan being used for Wake County school assignment also got detailed Monday.

Once again, start with this handout. Let's start with the clarifications.

One, everyone who is already in a school for 2011-12 gets to stay there in 2012-13 and through completion of that grade span if that's what they want, even if it's not on their "list" of choices. (Grandfathering is also provided in the green plan but some people were concerned about the blue plan more because you're more likely to see changes in choices.)

Wake to unveil student assignment models on May 23

We're getting some more details and a release date on Wake County student assignment models.

Superintendent Tony Tata said today they'll post online for public comment on May 23 the nine models reviewed by the task force. They'll also explain why they're recommending the "Blue Plan" and the "Green Plan."

The Blue Plan, which Tata also called the “community base choice plan” would be "rooted" in proposals such as the Wake School Choice Plan. This would be more of a choice plan.

Wake denies racial animus to OCR and GSIW critiques Wake School Choice Plan

There have been a couple of new developments today in the ongoing saga of Wake County student assignment and school diversity.

One, the school system made public today documents it turned over to the U.S. Education Department that says there is no evidence that any of their decisions about student assignment policies or procedures were "motivated by racial animus." I'll go more into the documents, part of the ongoing federal civil rights probe, in a later post.

Two, the Great Schools in Wake Coalition and the N.C. Justice Center released a new report today that's critical of the Wake School Choice Plan. They say the plan, developed by Michael Alves, doesn't promote student achievement highly enough and lacks clear policies to ensure all schools are high-performing.

UPDATE

Click here to read Wake's response letter to OCR.

Debating the value of the research on middle class and high poverty schools

How much value do you place on the national research on the benefits of maintaining socioeconomically diverse schools?

As noted in today's article, the importance of the social science research was a dividing point at Tuesday's forum between Richard Kahlenberg and Abigail Thernstrom. Kahlenberg, senior fellow at the Century Foundation, a liberal think tank, repeatedly pointed to what he called "dozens of studies" extolling the benefits of integration and the downsides of high-poverty schools.

"Let me begin with the four decades of research which suggests that having separate schools for low-income and middle class students will never provide genuine equal opportunity," Kahlenberg said.

CORRECTED THERNSTROM'S REFERENCE ON WHO GAMED THE SYSTEM IN TEXAS AND ADDED LINK AT END OF POST TO VIEW THE FORUM

No numbers from Wake on students bused for diversity

The mystery of how many kids were and are still being bused for socioeconomic diversity in Wake County won't be answered by the school district anytime soon.

As noted in today's article, school officials responding to the civil rights  probe by the U.S. Department of Education say they don't have the info. Click here to view the district's response.

The feds had asked how many students were bused for socioeconomic diversity in 2007-08 and 2008-09.

GSIW hosting community forum Tuesday on the Alves Plan

We could be getting closer to an official position from the Great Schools in Wake Coalition on the Wake School Choice Plan.

GSIW issued a media advisory yesterday on a March 15 community forum on the Wake School Choice Plan that it's sponsoring with the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African American Children.

The forum will run Tuesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Martin Street Baptist Church, 1001 East Martin Street in Raleigh.

Student assignment task force members announced

James Overman, the senior director in charge of elementary school programs, has been tapped to lead the new task force charged with developing a student assignment plan for the Wake County school system.

Overman, a former Wake County Principal of the Year, was principal of East Garner and Creech Road elementary schools before moving to central office last year. He'll lead a team that includes five other administrators from Central Services.

The other task force members are Brad McMillen, a senior director in Evaluation and Research; David Ansbacher, senior director of Magnet Programs; Tamani Anderson Powell, a director in Magnet Programs; Susan Pullium, a director in Growth and Planning and Susan Andrews a senior administrator in Staff Development.

USDA tells Wake it can't use F&R lunch data for student assignment

It doesn't look like the Wake County school system could go back to using free and reduced lunch data to maintain socioeconomic diversity even if wanted to do so.

As noted in today's article, the latest guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees school nutrition programs, is that F&R data can't be used for local purposes such as student assignment. Wake had asked for the opinion as part of its efforts to comply with the U.S. Department of Education's request for lunch data as part of its civil rights probe into ending the diversity policy.

School board attorney Ann Majestic said the clear indication of the latest response is that Wake can't go back to its old goal of trying to keep schools at below 40 percent F&R.

School task force meeting this week on new student assignment plan

The pace of developing a new long-term student assignment plan for Wake County schools will pick up this week.

Superintendent Tony Tata said he'll convene this week the task force of school staff he's formed to develop the new assignment plan. He's still sticking with his goal of having a plan to present to the school board by late spring.

Tata said he likely won't present a plan for the public to view until they're maybe around 75 percent done.

New York Times compares Wake County school board meetings to Cartoon Network

What do Wake County school board meetings and the Cartoon Network have in common?

The New York Times thinks both have a lot in common according to this article that was posted online Sunday night and will appear in Monday's print edition. The Times article notes the more recent developments in the Wake school diversity controversy and how the Wake School Choice Plan could be the solution.

"The (school) board is split five Republicans to four Democrats, and for the last 15 months meetings have looked like a Cartoon Network special, featuring in the lead role Mr. (John) Tedesco, 36, the most verbal member of the majority," according to the article. "He is single with no children and has lots of time on his hands to stir things up."

UPDATE

No front page this time. The article appeared on pg. 11 in the A section of Monday's New York Times.

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