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  • North Carolina County Wants to Give Parents a Better Option Than Busing

    For years, Wake County, North Carolina, has had a “busing” policy aiming to create socioeconomic diversity in county schools. The district’s experiment to better integrate schools left many students having to take long bus rides to schools far from their homes. “Parents and residents … said busing for the purpose of economic diversity poses an unfair burden on families, in terms of costs to the district and in time that children could spend on learning rather than being transported,” according to an account in the Christian Science Monitor.

    The current school board wants to bring the busing days to an end, with an eye toward policies that will better integrate schools while empowering parents and meeting the needs of all students.

    The board voted in 2010 to rescind the busing policy and set a 15-month deadline for replacing it with a new policy. The transition has caused tensions to rise in Wake County, but the school board is laying the groundwork to provide families with quality schooling options and educational choice.

    A plan submitted in February to the Wake County School Board by the Wake Education Partnership and Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce “provides more parental choice and naturally fosters diversity.” A summary of the assignment plan states:

    This proposal, made in response to the school board’s request for input on student assignment, provides the stability and predictability families need without sacrificing the quality of educational options in any part of what is a large and growing county.

    The summary continues with these specifics about the plan:

    • “Gives parents more control over where their children attend school.
    • Provides more school choices.
    • Emphasizes proximity without the use of mandatory attendance zones.
    • Allows families to remain in their chosen schools unless they decide otherwise.
    • Promotes diversity of all types, but does not pursue diversity as a goal in and of itself.
    • Redefines school assignment in a way that clearly makes student achievement the top priority for every child.”

    Wake County Public School System Superintendent Tony Tata is aiming for approval of the plan by mid-June.

    Ultimately, the Wake County School Board proposal is a community-based parental choice model. The proposal puts all schools in choice-based system, providing families with a choice within the district, while giving preference to siblings and a family’s proximity to the school. The plan would “provide every family in Wake County with a choice of ten elementary schools, five middle schools and five high schools while increasing transportation efficiency.”

    Having a county bus children to a school—in some instances over an hour away—is not the answer to creating more diverse learning environments. The main focus should not be on the distribution of children but rather empowering parents to choose a quality education. The power should ultimately reside in the hands of the parents to choose the school in which their children can best excel.

    School choice, not the central planning that comes from policies such as busing or assignment-by-zip-code, ultimately fosters innovation and leads to academic achievement increases for all children. And school choice has many forms, including innovative practices in online learning, which are beginning to catch fire across the country.

    It’s exactly these types of innovative practices that can become available to students when robust school choice options are in place. And hopefully for the students in Wake County, the board’s move to end bureaucratic busing policies will usher in something far more effective than the status quo.

    Anissa Borchardt is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit:http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to North Carolina County Wants to Give Parents a Better Option Than Busing

    1. Bobbie says:

      Shouldn't be up to the government to give parents a "better option."

      I'm curious to know why it takes government imposition to promote social economic diversity? Isn't that up to the freedom of the people that just comes by happenstance? Naturally? It costs NOTHING, as by the true nature of the people of this country, diversity happens on it's own without government force. Makes the government insulting and unethical.

      Get the government out. They're mandating diversity at an expense of hardship and tax dollars!!! Freedom of choice doesn't require government OVERREACH!

    2. Norma in Nebraska says:

      You know, it is a truly enlightening day in America when the rights and the wishes of the students and their parents are the focus of education! And this article does not once mention anyone from the federal government being involved to muddy up the water, and that is truly a miracle!

      Does this mean that the "be all, end all" attitude of the federal Dept of Education has outlived it usefulness? Weren't many of these unreasonable requirements and expectations a result of highly educated people, promoted beyond their capacities, to find ways to make those exact wishes irrelevant?

      Once again, keeping control on a local basis makes it easier to solve the problems facing a community! Kudos to the Wake County Public School System for looking for ways to minimize time on the bus for the students, reducing the risk to those students due to accidents, etc; save their taxpayers money currently being paid for insurance, bus drivers, and replacement of equipment. It looks like this is the beginning of a "win-win" situation for problem solving in North Carolina.

      So when are other school districts going to do the same? We are a nation of problem solvers so let's get busy and do what we do best!

    3. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      It's all about the same result. Making everyone equal, i.e. Socialism. The started long before Obama, yet it continues today because long before Obama

      their were his predecessors in the socialist/communist movement were already

      hard at work.

    4. Adam says:

      Great blog!! If policy makers will read this they will be persuaded, as I was, to allow students and parents to have choice in their education!

    5. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Imagine I were an Alien Archeologist, searching for the reason America failed. So I look at this wonderful list of excellent objectives, behind and between the lines I deduce American Schools Were Over Controlled and Over Regulated! These are crazily insignificant 'demands' when you think of it? Gosh! All these people want is half a chance! And Damn! They have been screaming for forty years and NOT getting it!

      I get Over Stimulated at Heritage Morning Bell! For that, I thank you very much. Now! If I were an American Student? I would have to go to the worst Schools just to balance crazy Social Justice! Really. I have an advantage being smart, so "It is only fair, you have so much! You get nothing!" Hear me out. Einstein said the most persecuted minority on Earth were the geniuses. He meant it. Slap Happy Progressives love to level the field, "Everybody Equal!" Broadsides, and always the Stand Out's get hammered down. In the 50's we had Special Courses for Gifted Students, "Accelarated Courses" was the phrase. We celebrated Genius! We didn't dumb it down! We had "Modified Courses." I student taught in a Modified English Course, East High, Denver.

      We had it solved! American Education worked! It worked like gangbusters! Then of course, Progressives had to 'fix it.'

    6. shelley says:

      As a resident of NC I would suggest your readers look a little deeper into what is really going on…. I am sure this will not be posted on this site… I have noticed opposing positions with actual facts rather than the propaganda you push are rarely to never allowed a voice on your site. Anyway the problem with this proposal and if you read the actual article in the Christian Science
      The facts are that Art Pope a figure head of for profit charter schools and for profit online schooling donated an unheard of amount of money into a local school board race to elect a group of lets just called racially equal resistant candidates. Voila the rich white kids get their own schools and NCs taxpayers are stuck with the bill. And charters will not be held accountable for progress, bussing or even feeding the schools. In fact one of the proponents of charters in our state said well if we have to feed them we will feed them jelly donuts and sodas or whatever— they can get away with that because there is not oversight. If the conservatives in NC who by the way have the majority for the first time in 100 yrs. get their way NC always a strong state for education in the south fall to 50th in ranking by independent agencies. America is not going to stand for such racism and class inequality- get ready for a fight conservatives because us liberals are gonna serve one up. thanks for your time–

    7. Andy, Raleigh, NC says:

      Sounds like Shelley is a product of these fine Wake county schools, with her abundance of run-on sentences, missed punctuation, and lack of capitalization…

    8. Pingback: Heritage Weighs in on Wake County Schools - Civitas Review Online

    9. shelley says:

      Andy I am not using formal lang. nor am i too concerned over your insights on my punctuation … the rules of commenting were not posted on the site- And you have no argument against mine— sigh… Andy I bet you are what we in NC refer to as a half-back– if you are a native you know what I mean if you are not it means you got halfway the hell out of here now go all the way-

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