More to come later, but the Wake County school system is defending the decision by the school board's Democratic majority to drop the choice-based student assignment plan in its response to AdvancED.
In this 28-page report sent today, Wake says the board majority's vote was based on “reasonable beliefs that there were demonstrable and substantial problems with the Choice Plan.”
“While four Board members believed that the Choice Plan remained viable and that any problems could be successfully addressed, five members came to the conclusion that a fundamental change in approach was needed,” according to the report.
In an eight-page appendix, the report lists various issues with the choice plan: students not being assigned after the first choice round, students being capped out of proximate schools, newcomers being placed at a disadvantage, underenrollment, preassigning students to feeders without guaranteed transportation, the long registration lines at Central Office, that parents had insufficient information to make informed decisions, widespread bus problems at the start of the school year and increased transportation costs, anxiety about lack of base assignments and negative effect on socioeconomic balance at schools.
The report also denies the allegation from the Wake County Taxpayers Association that the board majority is being unduly influenced by the Great Schools in Wake Coalition. For instance, it cites how the board allowed the choice plan to go forward even though GSIW urged that it not be implemented.
"Any specific votes that happen to have broken along party lines reflect good faith differences on important matters of educational policy, not the desire to promote the agenda of any political party," according to the response. "All Board members deny that they have made decisions based on partisanship or that they are beholden to special interests."
The report is silent on the issue of the firing of Superintendent Tony Tata even though it was added by the WCTA in its amended complaint. AdvancED didn't amend its list of questions to include any about Tata's firing.
The WRAL breaking news alert that "the national accreditation group AdvancED has found a complaint against the Wake County Board of Education by the Wake County Taxpayers Association to be without merit" is dead wrong.
AdvancED hasn't even reviewed the report yet. It's WRAL misinterpreting that Wake is telling AdvancED that it should find the complaint as being without merit.