WakeEd

The WakeEd blog is devoted to discussing and answering questions about the major issues facing the Wake County school system. How will the new student assignment plan balance diversity, stability, proximity and stability? How will Jim Merrill replace Tony Tata as the new superintendent of the state's largest district? How will voters react to a $810 million school construction bond referendum on Oct. 8 ballot? How will this fall's school board elections impact the future of the district?

WakeEd is maintained by The News & Observer's Wake schools reporter, T. Keung Hui. While Keung posts information and analysis on the issues, keep us posted on your suggestions, questions, tips and what you're doing to cope with the changes in Wake's schools.

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School system facing uncertainties after board election

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The question on the minds of a lot of people is whether the new school board will live up to campaign promises about neighborhood schools, year-round schools and ending the diversity policy.

Some people are anxiously hoping for the changes to come while others are dreading the future. But as noted in today's article, the new board members aren't sure yet how they'll turn their promises into reality so they're urging parents to give them some time.

"We haven't had neighborhood schools in such a long time that we have to see what we have in our neighborhoods," said new board member Deborah Prickett.

The fact of the matter is that parents are clamoring for answers, especially those whose kids attend magnet schools. While all the new board members say they want to keep magnet schools, what's not clear is how they'd co-exist in a system of neighborhood schools.

Right now, thousands of children are bused out of the areas around the magnet schools into the suburbs. Their departure makes it possible for the suburban students to attend as magnet applicants.

If you return all these base kids, how do you find room for the magnet students?

One possible scenario took place in Charlotte-Meckleknburg, which had to figure out what to do with all the neighborhood kids when busing for diversity was abandoned. Some schools lost their magnet programs to be able to accommodate the returning students.

Laura Brooks, an Enloe High magnet parent, said the magnet community is gearing up now and will be demanding answers.

School board member Ron Margiotta, who could join the new board members to form the new ruling majority, said magnet parents don't need to worry about major changes for the 2010-11 school year. But he wouldn't say the same thing for any future years.

Even if no major changes are made in 2010-11, what about the magnet/calendar lottery that takes place in February? The new board members aren't saying yet whether they'd leave the current diversity-based selection criteria in place or will switch to a pure random lottery.

Also speaking of the 2010-11 school year, what about the plans now in place to fill four new schools, including three new year-round schools. Will board members who say they're against mandatory year-round leave in place plans to assign students to those new schools?

As for the existing year-round schools, Margiotta said they might want to survey parents to see which schools have support for converting back to a traditional calendar.

School board chairman Kevin Hill said it's not realistic for the new board members to think they can have staff develop a new plan to switch to neighborhood schools in 2010. He said there's not enough time for staff to draw up such a sweeping plan, get public comment and have a plan adopted on such a short timeframe.

"It would be difficult for staff to rewrite a three-year plan in 10 weeks," Hill said. "Parents wanted the school board to be responsive to their needs. They didn't want annual reassignments so the system put together a three-year plan. Parents asked for stability for assignments."

While the old board members ask for time, you can expect them to try to get the new board members to come over to their side.

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No one has said anything

No one has said anything concrete ... maybe except for John T. who is honest ... the rest of what will happen is being left up to the imagination ...

In your view, what is the

In your view, what is the difference between what Tedesco says and what the other three victorious candidates are saying?

Also, what are you personally going to do to help get John elected? Have you contributed to his campaign? Did you make phone calls or walk neighborhoods in phase one of his campaign; will you doing that in phase two?

I spoke to all the

I spoke to all the candidates about whether they were beholden to WSCA or the Republican Party and each convinced me they were their own person and no one pulled their strings … I like John best (and have donated to his campaign) because he has real experience with the areas we need help – non-White, Low Income, Garner and SE … so, if John says a school can be 100% black or 100% ED and do well I believe him more than the other candidates personally …eventually, we need more candidates from minorities since they will soon be the majority …

You "spoke to all the

You "spoke to all the candidates?" Really? Where did you speak to them?

We just need to give up on

We just need to give up on these far out schools ... they are too far out and the parents too vocal about wanting to be separate ... In ten years, Whites will be in the minority in the schools so diversity will eventually catch up with them.

...

"I have a hard time seeing how schools in extreme western wake will have economically diverse neighborhood schools. The lowest single family home price is at least 100 k more than my home.  "

 

C'mon now. You live in Cary. That is a flatout lie.

 

 

absolutely the truth.  I

absolutely the truth.  I can't afford briar creek, cary park, hilliard forest, Amberly, etc... unless I buy a condo.  Even those cost more than my single family home in an older cary neighborhood.  

They Won't, Of Course

And the most important piece of data in the SAS report - it's reinforcement of the primary importance of healthy, economically diverse *schools* (a phrase that is a dirty word here) - will be just as thoroughly ignored by the incoming board as the other inconvenient stuff in it was by the old board.

 

 

I believe you are talking

I believe you are talking about the correlation between high minority (they used race, not economic status) populations and poor student performance.  But, the report noted that Wake County is the worst in the state at achieving student success under those conditions.

A few years ago, WCPSS had just six schools with greater than 40% F&R.  We now have 51 of them.  We have had a large influx of lower-paid workers, and achieving the WCPSS dream of no school greater than 40% is impossible, at least not without far more busing and the angst that goes with it.

I hope the new board adopts EVAAS as the standard and chucks (pardon the pun) the self-serving measurement system created by Holdzcom.  Measuring students instead of schools will result in us finally admitting failure for these poor students, but that is the first step on the path to success.  One of the first places the current administration took cuts to help these at-risk students was the very programs which were intended to help them.  Since we can't hide behind numbers anymore, I'd hope that these services are restored, and new services are offered to help these children.

We do know now that lifting up these poor students cannot be done with a school bus.

Right....But Wake's Performance

(or lack of it) does not bear on the main point that the SAS report DID reaffirm ....which was that poor student performance correlates strongly with high minority population.  The SAS report found that that held across the state - in AND out of Wake. 

The relevant fact here is that the single most axiomatic assumption behind the diversity policy - that concentrated poverty schools (though as uo point out SAS used race as a proxy for poverty) have direct negative effects on individual education - was found by AS to hold across the state. In neighborhood AND busing districts.

That assumption - which, again, the SAS report reaffirms - means that any pure neighborhood system will necessarily be "writing off" a bunch of kids in poor neighborhoods.  That's why a lot of us oppose pure neighborhood systems. They write off kids by DEFINITION.  As opposed to any failure thecurrent Wake system may have - which is more a failure of implementation than a design limitation.

The question now is....will the new Board do EXACTLY what they kept accusing the old Board of doing and ignore inconvenient evidence and facts to pursue their own agendas? I'm betting on "Hell yes....facts (and kids) be damned."  But I hope they surprise me.

 

Correlation does not imply causation

chaboard said:

...which was that poor student performance correlates strongly with high minority population...

that concentrated poverty schools (though as uo point out SAS used race as a proxy for poverty) have direct negative effects on individual
education
.

Your argument is a commonly used logical fallacy.

Correlation does not imply causation

...which was that poor

...which was that poor student performance correlates strongly with high minority population.

I'm not sure what you're looking at in the report that leads you to this conclusion ("correlates strongly").

In tables 1 and 2 the correlation coefficients are listed for each subject.  None of the subjects for non-Wake students had a correlation coefficient more negative than -0.3 (except for Grade 8 science) and one was even positive (Algebra II).  (Positive correlation meaning that scores actually tended to go slightly up as F&R percentage increased in a school.) Correlation cofficients between -0.3 and 0.3 are considered relatively weak.  In Wake County we see much stronger correlations.  Why is that?

This all is beside the point.  The real purpose of the SAS report is to show that WCPSS's Effectiveness Index does a bad job of identifying academic performance gaps and hence WCPSS cannot adequately intervene to fix these problems.

No one can argue with that

No one can argue with that kind of poor performance.  When eyes have been open to the disservice WCPSS has done to these children, support will be behind helping them, not hiding them.

pure fear-mongering

Keung - this is one sorry article. Nothing has happened yet, there's still one seat left to fill, the new board doesn't officially start until Dec 1, and you publish an article 'wondering' what will come next.

Nothing like a front page thinly veiled op-ed piece to get everyone stirred up, especially with one run-off election to go. Maybe the N&O can save that last seat yet.

Please - how about digging into donations, the SAS report, the 'Friends of Diversity' and what busing REALLY means to them. THis stuff already happened and you can REPORT on it, not just stir emotions.

Saying wait until Dec. 1

Saying wait until Dec. 1 ignores the fact that there are a lot of questions that people have right now about how the changes will be made by the new board. The story looked at the challenges ahead and the potential impact.

But Keung...

Including atatements like the following, knowing full well the massive expenditures associated with MYR schools, only leads to one-sided facts and sets the stage for fear. Tell the whole story, or don't tell it! Please...

I quote:

But year-round schools save on construction costs because they can serve more students than traditional-calendar schools. Critics warned that cutting back on year-round schools and having more neighborhood schools will lead to higher costs and perhaps higher taxes."

It still should be an op-ed

It still should be an op-ed piece - there's nothing to report on.  It looks like the same old N&O trying to stir the pot in anticipation of the runoff.

 What about the other things I mentioned?  Why no front page story on the implications to ED kids shown in the SAS report?   The silence on that is deafening.

SAS report

The SAS report should have been headlines in the N&O, not just buried in another article. That is now - real time - and happened under the current board and administration. Where is the outrage from those who are bemoaning the loss of diversity (which is premature at best)?

Exactly.  When will the SAS

Exactly.  When will the SAS report be given the front page attention it deserves Mr. Hui?  Or are your hands tied by the top brass at the N & O?  A low class trashy political comic gets a  blog but this SAS information remains buried and spun to the general public.

There MAY be lots of

There MAY be lots of questions, but the fact remains that the new board does not take office until December....you can spin any "if/then" potential scenario you want, still won't be decided until December.

What is the postion of the new board members re: magnet schools?

Do they support magnet schools? Or do they support converting them to neighborhood schhols? I'm assuming you can expand the neighborhood node to fill any ITB school.

Real lottery for magnet schools applicants

My problem with WCPSS touted magnet schools is only certain privilege nodes get accepted.  Those who live in high F&R can apply but will be automatically rejected.  The lottery should be conducted like the real lotteries at charter schools and not socially engineered ones.  Also the AG Basics magnets should be opened to all those who are academically gifted.

If you support magnet schools based upon a lottery system,

would you support the idea of separating magnet schools from neighborhood schools.  Anyone within a neighborhood node could attend a designated neighborhood school.  However, magnet schools could be located anywhere, and the student population would be county wide.  Transportation would have to be an express busing arrangement or provided by parents.  When my daughter attended Fred Olds, we had to provide transportation.

Athey, I would absolutely

Athey,

I would absolutely support the idea of separating magnets from neighborhood schools.  In fact, I think it would probably help to naturally balance the populations of the surrounding neighborhood schools.  My personal opinion is that no magnet should have a base population.  All seats should be filled by a true lottery.

For instance, there probably aren't enough local students to fill all of the ITB schools.  Decide which of the current magnets are the most successful, most popular, etc and keep those.  I would say that it definitely makes sense to keep magnets that have very little base population.  Then move that base population to a nearby neighborhood non-magnet school.  Underwood, for instance has only 4 base nodes.  2 are adjacent to the school (non-F&R) and 2 are bused in from downtown.  Move those kids to another nearby school.  

When two magnets are near each other, pick one to keep and one to turn into a neighborhood school.  (Brooks & Douglas or Joyner & Conn, for example).  The schools in the older areas of town are in close proximity to each other so moving to a nearby school is not a big issue distance wise. 

I actually think that having so many magnets located in middle to upper income areas hurts the magnets located in the high poverty areas.  Millbrook Elem School for example--I know quite a few people who want a magnet that's not all the way downtown, but refuse to look at Millbrook.  They are scared off by the F&R and they instead go to Brooks, Douglas or Joyner which all have stable, middle to upper income base areas.

Just some thoughts that I've had over the years.

 

 

Magnets have to be located

Magnets have to be located near affordable housing to be fair.  The WSCA said it themselves... poor families have a harder time with transportation to a distant school.  They won't be able to afford magnet proximity, or provide their own transportation.  There are, however, pockets of affordable housing that are outside the beltline and magnets could be located there.   They wouldn't be in the neighborhood of places like Hilliard forest... advertising on this blog from mid 300's, but they would be within a more reasonable commute.  

Look, I think lifting the limit on who gets in to magnet schools will be ok... if we expand the magnet program into other affordable housing areas.  

Rev--I think that all of the

Rev--I think that all of the magnets are already located near affordable housing. 

"Magnets have to be located

"Magnets have to be located near affordable housing to be fair. "

 

I am thinking you think they feel things need to be fair ... I don't think many here think poor families deserve a break ... they think "breaks" for the poor are unfair ... so, there may not be any support for poor families to get more convenient access to a magnet that rich families don't get ... or there may be a backlash from rich families who have to drive further or their kids be on a bus longer than poor kids ... not the way they think ...

In the interest of fairness,

In the interest of fairness, some in the WSCA don't think that way.   But there is legitimate reason for concern that this paper has not overblown. I'm sure the uncertainties are easier to take when neighborhood schools are your top assignment priority.  I live in Cary, but southeast Raleigh is my neighborhood.  So I am worried.

Thank you Rev!  I am glad

Thank you Rev!  I am glad that you see we cannot all be painted with the broad brush that user1234 uses.  Honestly, I haven't met anybody through my work with WSCA who doesn't care about poor kids too.

"County-Wide"

Part of the problem with magnet schools right now is the distance that some students have to go in order to attend one -- that's why the earliest bus pick-up time is 5:30 (improved from the previous 5:00).   So, while anybody could theoretically go to a magnet, four hours on a bus each day makes it practically impossible for many students.  I would prefer moving to a program where magnets were distributed throughout the county.  Not too long ago, the district had so-called "equity" magnet schools distributed throughout the county, approximately for this reason.

Of course, in the long run, the local schools should be academically rigorous enough that the magnets attract students only by offering niche programs like the Museum or Esperanza magnets.

 

Bob ... but what is the

Bob ... but what is the purpose of a magnet?  If it is to draw people to underutilized schools and we don't have any than there is no reason for a magnet program.  I understand and support the need for a few specialized schools for math, science, VoTech though ... but they should be placed where there is space ...

Total agreement here.  I

Total agreement here.  I like that Johnston county has the AG center where any AG kid can go there once a week (I think that's what it is) for AG services. 

 

Jen,  That would work

Jen, 

That would work for lots of families. We can have four or five AG centers located in different parts of the district.  Maybe BOE members need  to take  a trip to Johnston county?

 

I don't know the specifics

I don't know the specifics of all 3 new board members or John Tedesco's platforms, but I do have a general idea of their opinions on magnets. 

I know that all 4 support magnet schools.  I know that they are oppposed to the discriminatory nature of the application/acceptance process.  Any kid who is assigned to a base school that is over 40% F&R must fight it out for the last 10% of seats.  Any child who lives in a node that is more than 33% low income is selected only after those who live in nodes with <33% F&R are selected.

Chris Malone is opposed to the practice of leaving empty seats at a magnet because the BOE doesn't like the applicant pool.  This happened this year at Zebulon Middle.  Applicants denied and seats empty because of the demographics of their schools.

Magnets are supposed to be about offering expanded academic opportunities to students, but they have morphed into something else.  Bringing higher income students into a low income school is a good thing, but only accepting 'certain' students is discrimination.  Especially when non-magnets are PROHIBITED from offering anything extra.  So they hold some children hostage in their base school because they 'can't afford to lose them' but then deny those base schools the ability to offer more to them.

I'd like to see Magnets

I'd like to see Magnets offer incentives for diversity, but not regulate it.   I'd like to see them located near affordable housing so their choices can be reasonably available to all income levels.  Strategically expanding the program to provide balanced opportunities would be a much needed improvement.  I'd be happy to guide my child through a reassignment if it opens up more opportunities to all children, but especially to those who cannot afford the "extras" that make a big difference to promoting character motivation and learning.  

I think Wake county took the wrong direction when it did not expand Magnets to meet growth.  It became harder for students to get in, and it became harder for students on the fringes of the county to see them as a realistic option.  Add year round conversions and you have an atmosphere that generates hate for diversity, rather than lifts it up as a value. Incentive will work better than force... I hope that's what the new board has in mind... but they didn't convince me.  Please prove me wrong!!!!!

Not expanded to meet growth

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe there are actually some open magnet seats this year in some magnet schools.

There were people who applied for those seats but were denied because allowing them to fill those seats instead of attending their diverse base school would have "hurt" their base schools. Under the current system those base schools are not allowed to offer any extras because they are not allowed to "compete" with the magnet schools that their base students won't be accepted into even when there are open seats because it would hurt the base schools that can't offer programs to incent attendance because they aren't allowed to compete. If that isn't a circular argument, I don't know what is.

I don't know anyone that hates diversity. People do dislike inequities and people do dislike the failure of addressing the achievement gap. Some students have a good chance of magnet acceptance, some have practically none, and some affluent neighborhoods are base nodes at magnets while ED students who could really use those resources are bussed out of magnets. Some attend a HS that offers numerous AP classes, some attend a HS with not nearly as many. Some have calendar choice, some have none. Some have been reassigned multiple times, some never. Some are assigned to the closest school, some are assigned to the 7th, 8th or 11th closest school. Some ED students are assigned (at least temporarily) to magnets, some to diverse non-magnets near home, some to diverse schools further away (some of which have higher ED pass rates and some do not) and some to lower F&R schools further away (some of which have higher ED pass rates and some do not). 

Then next year the deck is reshuffled. School pass rates may change (up or down), but it is nearly impossible to glean if that was due to actual improvements/or decreases in 'teaching' quality at the school or simply do to the school having a different set of students.

There's a BIG difference between hating diversity and disagreeing with the massive hodge podge of inequities and instability, not to mention smoke and mirrors, that has been created with the 'healthy schools' (diversity) policy and most importantly the utter failure of it all to address the overall achievement gap.

It sounds like you may at least be willing to give people a chance to prove you wrong. It seems to me if the focus is on student achievement instead of creating a facade with healthy schools, there's a pretty good chance of that happening.

...

"I'd be happy to guide my child through a reassignment if it opens up
more opportunities to all children, but especially to those who cannot
afford the "extras" that make a big difference to promoting character
motivation and learning."

 

Remind us....do you have children? And, if so, where do they attend school?

Also, please explain what opportunity is opened up if your child is reassigned and then reassigned again and then reassigned again? What "extras" are you referring to?

 

Yes I have a child. And she

Yes I have a child. And she needs her magnet program to succeed.  Our family does not emphasize test scores as the ONLY measure of success, just as others don't think diversity should be the only factor in education.  Diversity is more important to our family than proximity.  Our neighborhood schools are fine, but do not reflect our priorities. Is it so unimaginable that a family would value diversity and the arts more than stability in assignment, or proximity to home? 

Many people think Magnet parents are "lucky" because we don't face reassignment. I say if the program that is helping my child is made available to more who need it, especially low income children, great! That might mean she gets reassigned if another school when her program is added elsewhere.  Expanding her program to make it more fair and accessible would be preferable to ending it. But will that be too expensive?

We live outside the beltline, and my daughter's bus leaves more than an hour before the bell.

So what I'm reading into your posts is...

that because your child is "lucky" enough to attend a magnet school (my child may have the same "educational needs" as yours, but will not be allowed to get into your program because my base school needs "body counts"),  you are scared that the system will become more equal where no one school gets all the perks while a neighborhood schools gets bare bones, and you will lose the special treatment your child is getting.  Now I'm not at all against the magnet program, but with the current policy, a huge % of the popluation is completely discounted when applying to a magnet.  Talk about an unfair policy. 

I have stated elsewhere that

I have stated elsewhere that I am in favor of expanding the magnet program to make it more accessible, even if my child gets reassigned to a new magnet school. 

I am scared that instead of doing this, the system will make every school a cookie cutter and not address children with unique needs.  

If the WSCA candidates can expand ECONOMIC diversity through increasing magnets without raising taxes, then I will be happy to be proven wrong.

Rev--I agree with you that

Rev--I agree with you that they should expand Magnet opportunities.  One thing that really frustrates me is the number of magnet schools that are not located in high poverty neighborhoods.  And they're not areas of 'just barely getting by', either.  We're talking about some of the most expensive real estate in Raleigh getting to attend magnet schools as their base.  They actually bus in their low income kids from downtown!  Some schools its only 3 miles or so (Underwood, Wiley, Martin), but Farmington Woods is in Cary and they are busing in kids from downtown/SE Raleigh. 

About 3 years ago I suggested to both my school board member and somebody at growth managment that perhaps Fox Road elem should be made a magnet.  Fox Road is now over 60% F&R and really struggles to attract middle class base families.  The answer was that it would 'compete with magnets downtown' and that not enough of 'you' (meaning people in my area of NE Raleigh) would apply to the magnets downtown.  Well, when some of those magnets are serving as a base assignment to children living in houses costing $400K to $1M, then we've lost our priorities.

I don't think that anybody hates diversity, but we dislike the fact that it has been the overriding factor in everything.  Busing low income kids out of already healthy magnet schools like Underwood and shipping them 18 miles to Green Hope makes absolutely no sense.  The main factor behind that move was to 'diversify' Green Hope--no consideration was given to those kids' well-being or to their parents' desires.  

Keep speaking up and voicing your concerns.  That is the only way that we will find solutions that assure a great education for all of our kids.

 

 

I imagine the board feared

I imagine the board feared that if they expanded magnets, then suburban parents would be mad if they had to pass one magnet of the same program on their way to another magnet school.  Say Reedy Creek elementary is made a GT magnet, so the program is more accessible to Western Wake.  Would parents close to Reedy Creek still be willing to go to Washington, or would they say it wasn't fair they had to pass a GT school on their way to another one? 

 I think this could be avoided if they made good on the fine print. You apply to a program, not the school.  For most nodes there is only one school per program... so it feels like choosing your school.  But if there were two schools for a program in a node, then I'd hope people were just happy to get the program.

I don't mind magnets in more affluent areas, as long as their school would otherwise be under-enrolled, and they are a reasonable distance from affordable housing, and low income families are encouraged to participate. 

My magnet take on a community school model would be a suburban magnet that offers express transportation from a community center in a low income neighborhood.  The magnet staff holds office hours at the community center, and some school events are scheduled there too.  The community center should offer expanded services, and the partner magnet should be near public transportation. Work out a way to give free public transport for parents. This would allow us to open more magnets outside the beltline, make sure they were still accessible to low income families, and offer expanded services to people in need without isolation. It would involve some busses, but I don't think it's evil. 

I hope expanding magnets can happen... but I guess it'll have to happen without spending more money. Hope that works.

I like your idea of a

I like your idea of a suburban magnet with kids from low income neighborhoods bused in.

I'm still not a fan of magnets in affluent areas.  Actually, I don't think that magnets should have any base at all.  Especially if there aren't enough seats available for everybody who would be interested in the program.  Why should some children get the programs for 'free' at their base school while other have to hope to win a lottery?  

There's inequity even within the magnet system itself.  Of my node's options, only Hunter, Powell, Ligon & Enloe offer a bus that comes into my neighborhood.  Most offer only an express bus, and some like Wiley offer no bus service at all to my node.   It is definitely more difficult to manage the express bus or no bus than having a neighborhood bus. 

 

 

Many families in our area

Many families in our area prefer express bussing to neighborhood bussing. 

I think Magnets should have a low income base.  I do not like it that some can buy their way into a magnet by purchasing expensive housing... that is my primary opposition to neighborhood schools.

But if we didn't allow some neighborhood base, especially for those in walking distance, I don't think we'd find neighborhoods that would welcome magnets. 

I wonder... would developers donate land for schools if the school had no local base, and a guaranteed low income base? Would towns donate land to the school if their citizens could only attend by random lottery?  

"But if we didn't allow

"But if we didn't allow some neighborhood base, especially for those
in walking distance, I don't think we'd find neighborhoods that would
welcome magnets. 
I wonder... would developers donate land for schools if the school
had no local base, and a guaranteed low income base? Would towns donate
land to the school if their citizens could only attend by random
lottery?"

In the past, WCPSS has rejected offers of free land to developers.  In one specific case, the developer simply requested that 30% of the school seats be resevered for the surrounding neighborhood.  WCPSS rejected the offer because they wanted 100% of the seats.  Now these same WCPSS supporters are wailing about inevitable tax increases.

When the new school board drops the "my way or the highway" attitude, developers will be much more willing to work with them.

Never

a 'neighborhood' should never control any percentage of the seats in a public school system.  This is fraught with issues.

That logic says that

That logic says that public/private partnerships can never work with our school system.

A developer donating 80 acres of land for a new school saves the county millions of dollars which could instead be put back into academic funding instead of infrastructure.

The status quo supporters have argued hard that neighborhood schools will increase taxes.  Collaborating with a developer to allocate a portion of seats in exchange for funding would actually lower taxes, or preferably keep taxes neutral while putting more money in the classroom.

What are the issues that make this unworkable?

That shiny new public school

That shiny new public school would be inaccessible to many who cannot afford a $300,000 single family home.  That's what's wrong!  There would be kids automatically excluded from a school just because their parents had different priorities.  Isn't that the same problem you have with the magnet lottery?  If the neighborhood also donated land to habitat for humanity, or provided lower cost single family homes, then I might be more flexible.   

If that developer agrees to

If that developer agrees to provide affordable housing nearby so that truly anyone could move into the neighborhood and secure one of those seats, then great. 

If we let people buy into their school by buying a high priced home in  an area with no affordable housing, that would be just as wrong as those who seem to buy their way into an expensive magnet neighborhood.  It would be worse... because now those who buy their way into a magnet neighborhood have no guarantees that their child will stay at a magnet. But under neighborhood schools, buying your way into any school will be a reality to all those who have money. And those who don't have money to burn will be stuck without any choices.  

 

That was mentioned in

That was mentioned in another blog how poorly HighCroft Drive ES does with the few non-neighborhood poor kids that are bussed in ... the theory was that non-neighborhood kids are isolated and ignored ... public schools should never be controlled be anyone ... my concern is that if a developer gives land for a school and adds the cost to the their homes, those owners feel they paid for a spot in that school which sets up bad expectations ...

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.
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