The Wake Education Partnership is, to put it mildly, not happy with the Wake County school board's decision to change direction on the student assignment plan.
In a statement issued this afternoon, Steve Parrott, president of the WEP, said they were "extremely disappointed in the decision-making process used by the school board and frustrated by the absence of a collaborative approach." The WEP was heavily involved in the new choice plan, working directly with Michael Alves.
As for the board meeting Tuesday, Parrott writes that "late-night, partisan debate is not how a world-class organization would conduct its strategic work and is not representative of the skills and behaviors demanded from our students for college and career success."
Parrott also includes this document that was given to staff, board chairman Kevin Hill and board vice chairman Keith Sutton in April on how to modify the choice plan for year two. Board member Debra Goldman complained Tuesday that the rest of the board hadn't been made aware of that document until that day.
Here's the statement:
From: Steve Parrott, Wake Education Partnership President
Re: Wake student assignment plan
After much debate, the Wake County Board of Education voted 5-4 last night to provide a new directive to Superintendent Tony Tata and his staff regarding student assignment.
Wake Education Partnership is extremely disappointed in the decision-making process used by the school board and frustrated by the absence of a collaborative approach.
As an organization supported by the businesses community, we are keenly aware that late-night, partisan debate is not how a world-class organization would conduct its strategic work and is not representative of the skills and behaviors demanded from our students for college and career success.
The goals of the new directive – student achievement, proximity and stability – should be applauded. Those goals are identical to an assignment plan suggested to the district 18 months ago by the Partnership – a plan we remained committed to in an effort to bring the community together.
Our efforts have included making recommendations as recently as April on needed improvements in the school choice plan to address parental concerns and the risk of creating high-needs schools. (See attached)
Based on our work during the past two years evaluating school choice and base school assignment models, it is unclear to us how the school district staff can be expected to meet the board’s directive by September. Reaching the stated goals while moving from a choice assignment model to one based upon street addresses would be an extremely complex task even under ideal conditions. The current approach leaves us worried about how parents, educators, businesses and the community in general will view the coming debate.
The Partnership has invested countless hours and business resources in our schools the past 30 years and we will continue to work with the district to improve public education. But our school board and community must move forward together in pursuit of these improvements. Our students deserve nothing less.
President, Wake Education Partnership
I've reposted the WEP document as a PDF file.