A liberal national think tank that has praised Wake County's old socioeconomic diversity policy has released a new report giving the school district high marks for educational productivity.
The Wake County school system earned high productivity marks in a report released Wednesday by the Center for American Progress. Other North Carolina districts receiving high marks include Caldwell County Schools, Wilkes County Schools and Burke County Schools, whose high schools are set to lose accreditation from AdvancED at the end of the school year.
The center released an interactive website that evaluates more than 9,000 school districts in 45 states. Districts were evaluated by comparing their academic achievement with their educational spending, while controlling for factors like cost of living and students in poverty.
According to the center's press release, the study revealed that districts could significantly boost student achievement without increasing spending if they used their money more productively. A highly inefficient district in North Carolina, for example, could see as much as a 15 percent boost in achievement if it dramatically increased its productivity, all else equal.
The study also found that low productivity costs the nation’s school system as much as $175 billion a year. The study also found that more than a million students are enrolled in highly inefficient districts across the country.
The center cited Weldon City Schools, Gates County Schools, and Washington County Schools as examples of inefficient districts in North Carolina.
Moving back to Wake, Cindy Brown, vice president for education policy at the Center for American Progress, questioned the elimination of the diversity policy in the September issue of District Administration magazine.
"Undoing that (diversity policy) doesn’t make a lot of sense when you’re getting good results,” Brown said.