Does Wake County’s school reassignment plan improve academic performance of low-income students? That’s one of the questions raised in Sunday’s News & Observer article, Whose schools work better? The article chronicles the different paths taken by Wake County and Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) to address the growing needs of minority and low-income students.
News & Observer education writer T. Keung Hui concludes there is little difference in how minority and low income students are doing in either school district. While Keung Hui’s judgment is based on the current differences in test scores of Black, Hispanic and Low-Income students, it fails to tell the real story: the decline in minority achievement in Wake County.
That’s the story told in a February 6th open letter to the Wake County Board of Education by five Wake County residents Eric Blau, Bill Lynch, Ron Margiotta (Wake County School Board) , Kent Misegades and Keith Weatherly (Mayor of Apex). The authors use data from NC School report cards (2001-2007) to track the academic scores of low income and limited English proficiency students in WCPSS, CMS and statewide. Bottom line: ED and LEP student achievement in WCPSS schools has declined relative to CMS and statewide averages since income based assignments were instituted in 2001. The authors demonstrate what many have long thought: school reassignment has failed to raise the scores of low income students. Is it any wonder why the Wake School Board adamantly rejects any request to evaluate the school reassignment policy?