Wake County school board member Deborah Prickett and challenger Zora Felton have differences of opinion when it comes to student assignment in the District 7 fight.
As noted in today's article by Sarah Barr, Prickett backed the elimination of socioeconomic diversity from the assignment policy and the move to the choice-based plan last school year. But Felton said the choice plan was “not well-thought-out.”
With the restoration of diversity in the policy and the move back to base assignments, Felton said assignment should be based on factors such as student achievement, program availability and proximity. Student choice is important, but policies that promote it must be carefully crafted, Felton said.
Prickett said parents know what’s best for their children and should be able to make decisions about their schooling. She said she worries a further change in assignment policy will unbalance the system, especially if it’s unclear how student achievement will be measured.
“People are getting a little nervous,” Prickett said. “They don’t want to start this reassignment again.”
Prickett is stressing her DPI experience and her board record, such as switching Leesville Road elementary and middle schools to the traditional calendar, converting Hilburn Elementary into a K-8 academy and establishing theme schools in the district.
“I understand this area and have put in the time and the effort to get to know the community and know the community needs,” Prickett said, “and not only do I know the needs, I did something.”
Felton said her experiences as a teacher would help inform her decision-making if elected to the board. She said it’s critical that teachers have the resources they need and the respect they deserve if the county wants students to be successful – not just academically but as future workers and voters.
Teachers are “at the heart of our economy, and at the heart of our citizenry,” Felton said.