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Tony Tata on the benefits of the new student assignment plan

Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata contends that the new student assignment plan is one that ""offers the best opportunity for success for all of our students."

In an op-ed piece today, Tata promotes the new plan while criticizing the old node-based system's lack of stability and "well-intentioned but largely unsuccessful effort to level poverty rates of schools." The piece comes out at a time when some new school board members and people in the community say Tuesday's vote should be delayed while leaders in the business community say it should go forward.

"This proposal will provide the stability and choice Wake County parents seek while focusing on student achievement and providing all Wake County children with access to a world-class education," Tata writes.

Speakers raise concerns about new student assignment plan

Most of the 28 speakers at Thursday's public hearing wanted the Wake County school board to make changes and/or delay a vote on adoption of the new student assignment plan.

As noted in today's article, several speakers referenced Tuesday's election results that brought in three new school board members and could result in a new Democratic majority taking office Dec. 6. Speakers asked for a delay until November or December.

"If the board is willing to wait one month until after we see what the results of the next election are, Mr. Hill’s seat, I believe that the board will begin to come together in a much more dignified way and that the decision that is made will reflect the will of the entire community and not just a narrow majority," said the Rev. Tom Rhodes.

Looking at the District 3 school board race

It's the self-described "principled principal" running against three challengers who all think they can do a better job of representing District 3 on the Wake County school board.

As noted in today's article, school board member Kevin Hill is emphasizing his education background in his re-election bid. With the departure of Carolyn Morrison in December, Hill says he would potentially be the only board member left with experience as a teacher and principal.

"As a Board of Education, it's important to have some perspectives from an educator with both my experience as a teacher and principal," Hill said.

Tony Tata says new student assignment plan is ready for adoption

Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata said today that the new student assignment plan is ready for adoption on Oct. 18, and delaying it would only hurt parents and students as they try to implement it for next school year.

Also during today's press conference, Tata repeatedly pointed to how the student assignment task force has spent seven months on developing the new plan. He compared it to how the magnet school program was approved by the board in 1982 only three months after presentation by staff.

On feeder patterns, Tata said he's looking at more adjustments, citing the concerns raised this week by Jeffreys Grove Elementary parents. In response to a question about Brassfield Elementary, he pointed to how parents would have priority if they wanted to go to their closest secondary school. He said he expected to be able to honor those requests in the lottery.

Click here for the online story. I'll go into more detail.

UPDATE

Click here for a handout from today's press conference listing the 12 highlights of the new proposal.

Wake releases revised feeder pattern list

in case you haven't seen them yet, the Wake County school system has released a new list of draft feeder patterns for the student assignment plan.

Click here to view the latest revised list posted Friday. I haven't scrutinized the whole plan to see about changes, but it does now incorporate Hilburn having middle school grades and feeders for the leadership academies.

Wake looking at feeder pattern adjustments

Some Wake County parents upset about their proposed feeder patterns have room for hope.

Wake Superintendent Tony Tata told school board members on Tuesday they're mindful of the situations at elementary schools that currently feed into multiple high schools. Since the new plan calls for one high school for each elementary school, the potential change in high school assignments has riled a number of families.

Tata singled out the example of North Ridge Elementary School, where about 44 percent of students eventually go to Millbrook High and 41 percent eventually go to Sanderson High. He said they're working to modify the feeder patterns for those kinds of cases.

Letting the Mordecai families stay in Broughton's feeder pattern

The Mordecai families who attend Conn Elementary as their base school got what they wanted at tonight's Wake County student assignment meeting at Broughton High School.

Superintendent Tony Tata told the parents that he had made the decision today to recommend that Conn's base students not be placed in the new feeder pathway that will send the school's magnet students to Southeast Raleigh High. Instead, the base students will keep the historic feeder pattern that will let them stay at Broughton.

Tata is doing the same thing for the Conn base students as what he decided to do Monday for their peers at several other magnet schools.

Since Monday, the feeder pattern for Broughton has been adjusted for it to now include base students from Conn, Joyner, Underwood and Wiley elementary schools. How this impacts Broughton remains to be seen.

Student assignment meeting added at Millbrook High

Wake County school officials announced today that an additional meeting on the student assignment plan has been scheduled for Monday at Millbrook High School.

No reason was given for the Millbrook meeting. But the revised feeder patterns released on Monday made a pretty substantial change to Millbrook's feeder pattern.

Before Monday, staff had proposed that Douglas, Fox Road, Joyner, Millbrook and North Ridge elementary schools feed into Millbrook High.

But following parental complaints, the base students from Douglas and Joyner were dropped from the recommendation. Staff replaced them by adding Baileywick and Brassfield elementary schools to the feeder pattern.

Parents at magnet schools lobbying for feeder path changes

Wake County school administrators are dialing back their recommendations to have K-12 magnet feeders as part of the new student assignment plan.

As noted in today's article, the revised draft feeder plan list posted on Monday includes a number of changes requested by parents. Those parents mounted aggressive campaigns to keep their existing feeder patterns as opposed to being put in new ones that would have them go to magnet secondary schools.

Some of the most vocal opposition came from families at Brooks, Douglas and Joyner elementary schools. They wanted to keep their historic feeder patterns that had them going to closer non-magnet secondary schools.

Reassignment's not just growth

Growth may be the "primary driver" in the new reassignment plan but it's not the only one.

As noted in today's article, Wake's use of multiple factors in student assignment means more kids are being moved than if proximity was the sole factor. Dealing with factors such as proximity, diversity, leaving enough seats open in magnet schools and streamlining feeder patterns adds more kids to the plan.

School administrators say none of the six factors has a higher priority so they balance them all to come up with the plan.

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