WakeEd

The WakeEd blog is devoted to discussing and answering questions about the major issues facing the Wake County school system. How will the new student assignment plan balance diversity, stability, proximity and stability? How will Jim Merrill replace Tony Tata as the new superintendent of the state's largest district? How will voters react to a $810 million school construction bond referendum on Oct. 8 ballot? How will this fall's school board elections impact the future of the district?

WakeEd is maintained by The News & Observer's Wake schools reporter, T. Keung Hui. While Keung posts information and analysis on the issues, keep us posted on your suggestions, questions, tips and what you're doing to cope with the changes in Wake's schools.

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Glitches mar release of updated Wake County student assignment results

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It's not much of an understatement that the release of the round two results for the Wake County student assignment plan could have gone better.

As noted in today's article, the plan to get the results up by Thursday afternoon fell through. By the time it was finally up around 6:20 p.m., it was soon shut down for several hours because of glitches reported by parents.

The problems will likely give critics of the new choice plan more ammunition as they argue that it was rushed through without proper implementation.

Superintendent Tony Tata will face questions at today's previously scheduled press briefing.

Amid all the confusion, about the one group of people who can be sure about the new results are those who were personally contacted by the school system on Thursday. This includes people like Ellen Nightingale, who was among the parents of the 221 students who didn't have an assignment after round one.

"It’s a diluted victory,” Nightingale said. “It was so hard to get through it.”

Nightingale said she's happy to get into Conn Elementary School. But she said the process of waiting for an assignment has left some children feeling they're not wanted by the school system.

Michael Thompson did get an assignment for his sons after round one. But after his kids were split between two different elementary schools, he made a fuss with school officials.

Thompson said he received a call Thursday from Tata saying both his children were now at Sycamore Creek Elementary. His youngest son had been on the waiting list for the school.

“It was ridiculous they had us go through this,” Thompson said. “If they had flipped the switch on the program a month ago, we wouldn’t have had to suffer the way we did.”

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Disappointed

I know that complaining is not going to get me anywhere but it is really disappointing to go through this process expecting to have assignment info by yesterday, only to find out there are still glitches for magnet applicants and we have to keep waiting and do so for days until it's figured out. We were on the Magnet wait lists (since the Magnet round) in spot #1 for both of my kids. Now, one of my kids is not even showing she's on a waitlist and my other child hasn't moved at all. What in the world?!

We are in a similar boat -

We are in a similar boat - the magnet waitlist for our child does not appear at all on our results. I was told to log back in "this afternoon" as they are expecing the issue to be fixed by then. We'll see! Fingers crossed.

Are they still working waitlists?

Is it possible they're still working the waitlists and possibly increasing capacity?  I had read somewhere that in cases where they're already over capacitly they may increase capacity to fill classrooms (ie 25 students per room allowed, capacity set at 150, but 168 pre assigned allowing it to go up to 175 since they have to have the teachers anyways).  

So...

Let's presume, just for the sake of argument, that the plan was rushed through and, as a result, the application is buggy.  What does this mean?

To me it means that the district needs to spend the next 8 months getting the application working -- it does NOT say to me that the application needs to be tossed.

As a former software engineer, I'm frankly not surprised by the fact that there were problems -- the plan was only approved in October, and the app went live in, what, January?  That's fast for a fully-staffed organization with a lot of competence in such applications.

Luckily, there's enough between now and next year to fix these problems and run the entire application in a single session: no multiple phases, no magnet round, etc....  Just plug in your preferences, and away it goes.

We should have been placed

We should have been placed onto a waitlist for our first choice school from Round 2, but we were not. The assignment office is supposed to call me back today about why this happened...very strange.

OT--WCPSS is looking

for a Director of Public Relations.  If anyone wants a ticket on this train wreck.

How many "oops, assignment

How many "oops, assignment application is broken" is it going to take for there to be a realization that where there is smoke, there is fire.   If the application doing all of the assignment is that problematic, why would I expect the algorithms to assign students and set priorities correctly are accurate and not as buggy?  

It is not about the specific fact they couldn't get it right this time or last time or the time before that, it is about the repeated failures.    What about the fact that they updated the wait list numbers and number of seats available for round 2 during the last day of sign up? 

When is there going to be an independent audit of the lottery that wake county schools have setup to ensure that all the behind the scenes programs are working because we know there is a history of public failures of the tools and system.

Are they

selling tickets to TTs spin session?  This ought to be better tap dancing than a  Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and Shirley Temple movie.

I wonder who he is going to hold accountable for this "cluster ?"  I know it certainly won't be TT fault by gosh, by golly !

problems will likely give critics of the plan more ammo?

Sure it will.  Rightly so.  But we're talking about how many, 300? 500? 1000?

With 145,000 students in the system, that will be the least amount of critics over assignment in decades.

Much less than what will happen next year if Kushner, Evans and Martin are allowed to change it all around yet again.

By gosh, by golly.

tyranny of the majority

sounds like you are preaching tyranny of the majority!  So, with thousands negatively impacted I guess that does not matter to you???? 

Where are the thousands Sam?

Tyranny? Hardly. The fact is we're talking about a few hundred. And you. At the most.

The protest proved it, everything that's been reported in the media has proven it and although it isn't fun for those who are negatively impacted, I'll say it again, welcome to the wcpss.

It is what it's always been.  Business as usual.

nope

That is not the case.  Many parents are exteremely unhappy with the process, their feeders, etc!! 

Many?

Many is this a replace for thousands? With over 144,000 students what does "many" mean? 2% ? That would equal less than 3000. Is a 98% approval rate acceptable? Heck you can have 10,000 people upset and still have a 93% approval rate. Should the majority suffer the tyranny of the minority?

wow...starsonours

I guess since that since you got what you wanted, you don't care about the rest of us anymore!  Please remember that these are real children that are being negatively impacted.

And, oh by the way we were also negatively impacted by the old plan...reassigned, forced into mandatory year round, etc.  So, please don't preach to me about the negatives of the old plan.

Wow Sam

Nice try Sam. I didn't get what I wanted and yes I do care about everyone else. I am also grounded in reality and know everyone will not be happy with everything every time. There will never be an assignment policy that will make everyone happy. The best you can do is keep the unhappy to a minimum. Yes this plan has negatives but not as many negatives as the old plan. It is not perfect but it is progress.

You are right - plan has negatives

...lots of negatives and holes.  In fact it has as many negatives as the old plan so we are no better off.  The plan was not given sufficient time to be fully vetted and now the county is paying the price.

Sam it could be vetted for

Sam it could be vetted for the next 100 years and someone would still complain and say it has HOLES.

Thousands?

That's a bit of a stretch isn't Sam. How do you know that thousands are negatively impacted? Was it because of the <50 protesters outside the BoE meeting? How did you arrive at this number? I have a feeling there are HOLES in you methodology for determining this.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.
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