There are noticeable disparities among the 16 zones in the map that the Wake County school board's student assignment committee decided Tuesday to use as the "shell" for developing the new assignment model.
As noted in today's article, there were wide disparities along racial, income, academic and graduation lines among the 16 zones in the map. One question that came up Tuesday is what's the significance of the academic disparities.
School administrators reported out the passing rates on state reading exams among elementary students, middle school students and high school students in the 16 zones.
For the Southeast Raleigh/Enloe zone, the EOG reading proficiency rate was only 46.7 percent among elementary students and 48.6 percent among middle school students. It was the only zone where less than half the kids were passing.
The passing rate was over 90 percent in some districts, particularly in western Wake.
School board member John Tedesco, chairman of the student assignment committee was making a big deal of the percentage of the Southeast Raleigh/Enloe zone to take shots at the old diversity policy and the achievement gap at the magnet schools. He noted how the roughly 10,000 students in that zone are going to magnet schools as base students or are being bused elsewhere for diversity.
Tedesco contrasted the Southeast Raleigh zone with the East Wake zone, which he noted also has high poverty but whose children largely go to schools in their community.
Tedesco called the 61.8 percent proficiency rate in East Wake compared to the 46.7 percent rate in Southeast Raleigh "a substantial gap."
But committee members, particularly those appointed by the board minority members, cited the performance of the Southeast Raleigh zone as a possible reason to try to balance zones by academics.
"If there's a zone that's 46.7 percent proficient, that's a challenging zone for schools," said community committee member Anne Cooper.
As a result of the discussion, Tedesco asked staff for a report highlighting individual dollar allocations for each school to see if there's funding equity.