Under the “controlled-choice model” developed by Michael Alves, every Wake County family would be offered a choice of at least 10 elementary schools, five middle schools and five high schools. That list would include at least two magnet schools, two year-round schools and two traditional-calendar schools.
It's being billed as a compromise that would allow more students to go to schools closer to where they live while allowing some diversity in schools by trying not to overload them with too many low-achieving students.
The key, according to the WEP is that list of schools. That list is supposed to implement the four guiding principles of proximity, stability, family choice and student achievement.
Tim Simmons, WEP vice president of communications, said the choices will often be the closest schools. If you click here on the plan's website, you'll get sample schools for each node that are all the closest schools. (They're using nodes for this list but they're saying it would be done away with once the model was adopted.)
Simmons said there will be times when the school system will not want to offer only the closest schools, such as in Southeast Raleigh. He said they'll have to provide choices that don't take away too many magnet application seats.
The choices offered are supposed to be such that it would help avoid putting too many low-achieving students in any particular school.
Simmons said it's the list of school choices that will be the primary usage of student achievement in the plan. While test scores will be a factor in the selection process for individual students, he said it ranks sixth on the priority list, well below the top factor of proximity.
Despite offering all the choices, Simmons says SAS ran the data for them and indicated it wouldn't cost more in transportation dollars.
Now the question is whether the school board will embrace the model.
Some things to consider are that the Alves plan still doesn't include base assignments. Alves goes into detail in the report why he feels base assignments are no longer practical for a fast-growing district like Wake.
Additionally, the WEP and Chamber are going out of their way to say this is not a zone plan, a charge that likely will be hurled by critics who point to the Oct. 5 resolution that killed the Tedesco zone plan. What the Alves plan has are three administrative areas of roughly equal demographics that Simmons said the school board can use if it wants.
Simmons said the three admin areas are primarily there to guard against possible lawsuits. He said the areas themselves don't restrict any of the choices that would be offered to families.
Click here to read the online story.
BTW, school board vice chairwoman Debra Goldman is at the press briefing. I don't yet see any of the other board members here.
In case you missed the link in the post to view the proposal, click here.
Tweaked wording to say the choices would be at least 10 elementary, 5 middle and 5 high schools.
Here's a statement from Superintendent Tony Tata on today's proposal:
"I want to thank the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and the Wake Education Partnership for sponsoring Mr. Alves’ work on this proposal. Right now I am collecting a variety of data and suggestions regarding our approach to long-term student assignment and will use the information presented to us as another input on my listening tour. At the appropriate time, the Wake County Public School System team will develop the ultimate plan which we will deliver to the Board of Education for their review, input and approval.
This is a highly complex and emotional challenge that requires input and discussion from the entire community in order for us to craft a solution that truly meets the needs of all families in Wake County. The Chamber and Wake Ed Partnership’s proposal today will contribute to our planning process as we develop our student assignment plans in the months ahead."