Residents give Wake board an earful

January 25, 2011 3:43:09 AM PST
The Wake County School board will be discussing proposed changes to the third year of the current student assignment plan on Tuesday. Before that discussion, they will meet in a special session to talk about the accreditation agency, AdvancED.

This is happening just hours after another heated hearing over the student assignment plan on Monday night.

Hundreds packed a Cary high school Monday, for the last chance to share their thoughts on the third year of the current student assignment plan. And for the fifth time, Wake County Public School Board members got an earful.

Several people signed up to speak. Many talked about diversity, while others did address specific assignment changes.

“We’ve always stated that we’re a quick fix and let’s face it, I know you’re tired of hearing from us. Frankly, I’m sick of listening to us,” Carpenter Village resident Craig Duerr said.

Duerr was one of several Carpenter Village residents who wore green in a show of solidarity as they made the same request they’ve been making for years, to change their base schools to Davis Drive Middle School and Green Hope High School.

“These proposed changes will finally address our concerns, our desires to get our kids, have closer middle school options with logical feeder patterns,” Duerr said.

Wearing mostly red, several parents at Highcroft Elementary expressed their desire to have the school change to a traditional calendar - a change they say would be more in line with other schools in their area and bring stability to their families.

“We are always on a schedule, we cannot take breaks even on weekends or weeknights,” Cary resident Alka Srivastava said.

Still, the topic of diversity was very much alive with some expressing their support of the board’s decision to move toward community-based schools.

“Why can’t we have neighborhood schooling,” Green Hope High School student Samantha Gomez said. “Why can’t we sit next to people that we live next to?”

While others, including Southeast Raleigh student Maya Brown, asked the board to consider the importance of socio-economic diversity.

“I’m less interested in getting that extra 30 minutes of sleep and I’m more interested in being exposed to a diverse student body that is reflective of what I will be exposed to in the real world,” Brown said.

“Having a good, diverse system with good diverse schools, to reflect our diversity, which is here today in Cary, is what we need,” Raleigh resident Chris Aycock said.

Now that the public hearings are over, board members will discuss the proposal in work sessions. They are expected to have a final student assignment plan next month.

Meanwhile also on Monday night, hundreds of parents attended an education reform forum to talk about the future of education in North Carolina.

“I want y’all tonight to look at a different way at looking at the idea of public education,” said Howard Fuller with Black Alliance of Educational Options.

A broad range of speakers sat on a panel to discuss the choices parents can make when it comes to education, from home schooling to charter schools or public school.

Their message is to put the focus back on the students and parents rather than the school system and professionals.

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