Parents in Wake County continue to fight the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) school reassignment plan. While WCPSS goes through the annual ritual of Soviet style central planning all in the name of economic diversity, can someone answer the following questions?
First, proponents of economic diversity are fond of citing studies that show improvement in test scores of low income students. Most of these studies ignore the other impacts of school reassignment such as busing, less parental involvement, the costs of moving to another school — all factors that have a significant social and economic cost, and which contributed greatly to why many cities and school districts abandoned plans to promote economic diversity. Why are proponents of economic diversity allowed to ignore these realities?
Second, 64 percent of families reviewed in WCPSS by a random audit had their free and reduced lunch benefits reduced or revoked for failing — or refusing to provide – proof of income that matched the amount on the application. Other counties similarly surveyed also had surprisingly high levels of fraud. That said, why does WCPSS refuse to fully investigate the fraud and continues to use an invalid indicator as a determinant of school reassignment?
My guess? As with most things: it’s the money. Current state and federal funding formulas use the number of students receiving free and reduced lunch to determine the level of aid. Asking schools to police fraud in these areas is like asking the fox to guard the henhouse. Isn’t this reason enough to end the stonewalling and launch a full and thorough investigation?