Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wake County School Reassignment Issue | Take 1

I know it's "Wordless Wednesday" but I woke up this morning kinda mad.
WRAL's tweeted: "Comedian mocks Wake schools' assignment controversy"
I was like, "ohhhh, I'll click that," and I did.
A small article comes up and the link to this video.

Being in the middle of this crap hre is my thoughts.

I am from the suburbs of NYC. We came from large classes but always local schools. You didn't drive past another school to go to it unless it wa sa private school. You went close by. That being said, you paid more taxes in better neighborhoods to go to better schools. We lived in the middle. Not a rich neighborhood, not a poor one, either. East Meadow, NY was typical NY-middle class. We had good schools - not "the best" but I am not sure how much better they could have gotten. We lived really close to not so great schools. They neighborhoods were poor and yes, most of the population was minority. Who would want to work in those schools? NY came up with a solution. They gave incentive. A school that was deemed a high-risk school, had teacher incentives - You give them 5 years of service, they "pay-off" your higher education debt (do note: in NYS you need a master's degree to get tenured, so we required more education).

We live barely in Raleigh, NC in Wake County. We moved where we did because of the schools. Here there are county schools which to me was weird as-is. We moved to our specific area because the year before we moved, it was a school of excellence. It was one of the top schools in the county and one of the top in the state. The school is even named for the community it sits in the middle of.

Wake county is diverse. There are rich areas and poor areas - just like anywhere else. Down here, they see poor areas as black & white - literally. I think the south is so wrapped up in trying to "fix" the past that they are blinding themselves. In order to try and not have "black schools" and "white schools", Wake county adopted this asinine policy. On paper it seems OK but I dont think people thought it through enough.

Let's take Bobby. Bobby happens to be a black child. He lives in an okay area but on the poorer side. He qualifies for reduced/free lunch. Wake decides he will go to Wakefield Elementary because their reduced/free lunch population is under 20% (one of the lowest in the county). Bobby now gets bused 45 minutes to school snad 45 from school to go to this "better" school. Herein lies what I see as HUGE flaws.

(1) How is sitting on a bus for over an hour and a half a day productive for Bobby? He could be doing a sport after school. he could be in club or having a play date. he could have extra sleep in the morning but NO... he has to pass 15 other schools before getting to Wakefield. If he makes friends at school how can they have play dates? They dont live anywhere near each other! How is THAT fair?

(2) Parent, what? I think the school was good because of parent-involvement. Now you take poor Bobby. His parent's both work and they work opposite the school. They can't help even if they wanted to. So now we have less parent-involvement in the school.

(3)What about us? What about the people who paid more money to live in a good area solely because of the schools and now THEIR kids are being bussed AWAY from the the local school. I have so many friends who are paying for private school or trying one of the charter schools and the like because their "base" school is soooo far away. No wonder private schools are popping up all over the damn place in wake County!

(4) We're in the same district! OK, I dont get. I'll admit I do not get it. I do not get why 2 schools in the same district are not equal. All the teacher's require the same education. All the school budgets should be the same. All, ALL should be the same in the same district. Wake County is a district. If school A is great but B isn't - WHY? Why is it that way? I think you have to look BEYOND the schools at that point. That's where HOW you are brought up and the focus on education are what makes the school. The area I live in, I can honestly say the parents care about the kids eduction. They work with the kids after school on homework. They are there on the front-line cheering them on and helping with activities in school. These kids have that extra value placed on schooling from birth. Then you have Bobby, again. Both parents work their butts off to stay afloat. They may not be as educated themselves but they dont have time to spend  helping Bobby as much as he needs, maybe. Why dont they address THIS issue? Moving Bobby to a good school helps him IN school but   as parents, we are our kids best advocate and we have a job to help them. I work with  my child at home (as do most local parents). This is what is making them succeed. Why not HELP Bobby and his area/community instead? ADDRESS the actual issue!

Ok, HOW should one address the issue? Assuming all things the same IN the school (teachers, money, programs), add to it. Take the money it costs to bus these kids all over the county and make afterschool programs with tutoring. Kids can stay around for an hour and have an educator help them one-on-one (or similar) with their homework, assist them in research projects, show them education is important. Instead of sitting on the bus for an hour, let Bobby do an hour of homework with someone who cares.

Wake County did in fact "dilute the issue" and they spread mediocracy across the county! All the good schools got pulled down. We dont  have anymore schools of excellence or distinction. Now they all equally have teh same crappy grades. Instead of addressing the issues of the "crappy" schools and fixing them, we just took crap from A added it to B to make A look better but in the process it brought B down and now A & B suffer.

This has nothing to do with race what-so-ever! It has to do with community.

OK, I need to get my kids ready as I run carpool every morning. I drop my kid and niece off at elementary school them bring another to preschool while spending time with the third.

I am a board member of a local mom's group. I am on the PTA at the elementary school and help out when needed. If they need anything in class, they know they can ask me, I just live around the corner.

Instead of adding to this article, I am adding addendum and linking them here:
Addendum 1
Addendum 2

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