Wake schools w/o diversity: Down in the dumper with Charlotte's? | Citizen | Indy Week
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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Wake schools w/o diversity: Down in the dumper with Charlotte's?

Posted by on Tue, May 4, 2010 at 10:47 AM

wakev.cms_jpg.jpg

Will Wake County's schools end up like Charlotte-Mecklenburg's (CMS) if the new Wake school board majority has its way? Critics say yes, and if they're right, look out below — as a new analysis out today from the Great Schools in Wake coalition makes clear.

The full GSIW analysis is here: WCPSS-_CMS_Comparative_Analysis.pdf

It has lots of graphs. I was struck by the one reproduced above: CMS has 40 schools (on the far left of the graph) where low-income students make up 80 percent or more of the student population. Wake has one — a small alternative school.

And at the other (far right) end of the graph, Charlotte has more schools with few low-income students than does Wake. Wow. They sorted themselves out fast down there, eh? And John Tedesco & Co. say the same thing won't happen here if the new board majority hands people a map that says: "Good schools HERE ... Bad schools THERE"?

Bottom line: Wake has maintained diverse school populations. CMS used to do the same, but seven years ago junked diversity (as the Wake majority intends) and its schools quickly resegregated. Now, WCPSS runs rings around CMS, the analysis shows:

• 2008-09 Four year graduation rates: 78.4 percent (WCPSS) vs. 66.1 percent (CMS).

• 2008-09 ABC recognition: CMS has four low-performing schools; WPCSS has none. WCPSS has about 1.5 times more Schools of Distinction than CMS (50 vs. 34).

• 2007-09 median of SAT average scores across all high schools: CMS 60 to 80 points lower than WCPSS. In 2009, the WCPSS average combined SAT score was 1,074, compared to 1,007 for CMS. The data further illustrates that there is an inverse correlation between SAT scores and percent ED—again showing that poverty levels of a school directly impact student achievement.

Wake County Public Schools (WCPSS) outperform CMS, at a significantly lower cost per pupil. According to 2008-09 data from the NC Department of Public Instruction, per pupil spending for CMS was $8,162, versus $7,981 for WCPSS. Were WCPSS to spend as much per pupil as Charlotte, it would cost taxpayers $25.25 MILLION MORE to educate the System’s 139,500 students.

The full GSIW statement is below the fold:

The full statement from GSIW:

GREAT SCHOOLS IN WAKE COALITION CAUTIONS:
“THOSE WHO CANNOT REMEMBER THE PAST ARE CONDEMNED TO
REPEAT IT."

Raleigh, NC—May 4, 2010—On the day of the Board of Education vote that will likely
upend the Wake County Public Schools’ student assignment policy, the Great Schools in
Wake Coalition (GSIW) cautions that today’s actions of the board majority will take our
County back in time and cause irreparable damage to our national reputation for
excellence.

“One need only look down the road at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to understand
how, with a new assignment model, creating higher poverty schools directly impacts
student achievement,” said Kathleen Brown, an associate professor and chair of the
Educational Leadership Area in the UNC School of Education. “By eliminating socioeconomic
diversity and student achievement as factors in its new student assignment
policy,” continued Brown, “the School Board majority is failing to acknowledge the
inextricable ties between the way students are assigned and their academic achievement.”

From 2003 until today, there has been a 100 percent increase in the number of Charlotte-
Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) with 70-90 percent economically disadvantaged (ED)
students. Of CMS' 160 schools, 91—or 57 percent—have an ED student population of 40
percent or greater, compared to 36 percent (55 of 152 schools) for WCPSS in this
category, according to the NC Department of Public Instruction.

In other student achievement categories, WCPSS outperforms CMS:

• 2008-09 Four year graduation rates: 78.4 percent (WCPSS) vs. 66.1 percent
(CMS).

• 2008-09 ABC recognition: CMS has four low-performing schools; WPCSS has
none. WCPSS has about 1.5 times more Schools of Distinction than CMS (50 vs.
34).

• 2007-09 median of SAT average scores across all high schools: CMS 60 to 80
points lower than WCPSS. In 2009, the WCPSS average combined SAT score
was 1,074, compared to 1,007 for CMS. The data further illustrates that there is
an inverse correlation between SAT scores and percent ED—again showing that
poverty levels of a school directly impact student achievement.

Wake County Public Schools (WCPSS) outperform CMS, at a significantly lower cost
per pupil. According to 2008-09 data from the NC Department of Public Instruction, per
pupil spending for CMS was $8,162, versus $7,981 for WCPSS. Were WCPSS to spend
as much per pupil as Charlotte, it would cost taxpayers $25.25 MILLION MORE to
educate the System’s 139,500 students.

“It is simply unacceptable to ignore the facts, which demonstrate the linkages between
student assignment and student achievement,” noted Great Schools in Wake Chair
Yevonne Brannon. “John Tedesco has publically stated that ‘we’re not going back,’ to
the ‘old way’ of doing things—but we are," she continued. “The school board majority is
unraveling the carefully woven threads that form the fabric of our award-winning Wake
County Public School System. By abandoning the idea of educating our children in
diverse, socio-economically balanced schools under the guise of creating community
schools, they are failing ALL students, who will be ill prepared for success in the 21st
century multicultural workplaces that characterize our global economy. This will also
have a direct impact on downtown Raleigh and the County’s economy—bringing us full
circle back to the way things were before the school system merger.”

Additional data and information may be found at the facts and figures link on the GSIW
Web site: http://wakeupwakecounty.com/cms/gsiwfactsandfigures
###

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