Should Wake adopt a controlled choice model as a way to promote diversity without going to neighborhood schools?
That's the approach pitched in an op-ed piece today by Richard Kahlenberg, who says controlled choice would "honor school integration, minimize mandatory student reassignment and maximize parental choice." Kahlenberg, a senior researcher at The Century Foundation, is a big booster of Wake's current diversity policy who is trying to make the best of the recent school board election results.
Under controlled choice, all of Wake's schools would essentially become magnet schools. Parents would select from schools within a zone with the district making the final choice to promote diversity.
The challenge is that controlled choice models are something usually done by much smaller school districts. Charlotte-Meckelnburg tried a variant on this after ending busing for diversity in 2002 before scrapping it after determininig it was too cumbersome.
Kahlenberg cites Cambridge Public Schools in Massschusetts, which was the first to use controlled choice. The 6,000-student district has the goal of each grade in each school being within 15 percentage points of the districtwide K-8 percentage of F&R students.
Cambridge has had mixed success achieving that diversity goal.
If controlled choice sounds familiar, it's what school board candidate Carlene Lucas had promoted in District 2.