It's time to pick your colors in the Wake County student assignment fight.
The blue plan/community-based choice plan would have you choose four to six elementary schools, with the choices largely based on proximity. The options would include an "achievement choice," a school that’s determined by Wake to be within the top third in the district academically based on factors such as how many high-performing teachers it has and the passing rate of students on state exams.
The achievement choice is the blue plan's efforts to avoid creating high pockets of low-performing schools.
The green plan/base school achievement plan, in Wake's words, "seeks to make improvements in the current plan in several areas." You've still got your nodes and base assignments, which are primarily based on proximity.
But proximity takes a back seat for some nodes when it comes to continuing to use busing for diversity.
The green plan is designed so that no school has proficiency levels more than 10 percent below the system-wide average. This means that low-income neighborhoods, which on average have lower test scores, could find themselves being bused for academic diversity instead of economic diversity.
One improvement is that the green plan says students would only be reassigned once per school-level. This would avoid the situation of elementary students being reassigned twice.
Both plans are supposed to preserve about the same number of magnet application seats. Although it would seem to be a lot harder to do so under the blue plan.
Tata said he and the task force think the blue plan "is a better fit" than the green plan because it can better deal with growth. He echoed the arguments made earlier by school board member John Tedesco and education consultant Michael Alves that keeping the node system with its base assignments aren't adequate for dealing with growth.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions from what school officials admit are plans that are still works in progress. For instance, you can't yet determine the middle school and high school choices under both plans.
Since Wake's site will be slow initially, I've posted this handout. It includes Superintendent Tony Tata's overview today, the white papers for both plans and a comparison sheet done by the task force of the plans.
Click here to view the plans.