Driver's ed backlog in Wake County called an equity issue; school district to hire more teachers

Akilah Davis Image
Tuesday, May 14, 2024
Driver's ed backlog in Wake County called an equity issue
The backlog dates back to the COVID-19 pandemic, but now school district leaders are looking to take action.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Some students attending Wake County Public School System are waiting up to five months before getting to start behind-the-wheel driver's ed instruction.

School board members met Tuesday afternoon during their Student Achievement Committee meeting to discuss solutions to this problem.

According to the school district, driver's education typically takes six months from registration through the classroom and driving phases. Students are waiting between three and five months before starting the driving phase.

The backlog was created during the COVID-19 pandemic, a district staffer told ABC11.

District leaders call this an equity issue.

"Families that have the means potentially don't have to wait in line, because they can go find a private vendor to provide instruction at a cost of $400 or more dollars. They are essentially getting in to the express lane to move around the long lines," said Drew Cook, Assistant Superintendent for Academics.

Ideally, the wait time should be two to three months, but district leaders say they simply "aren't there." Currently, the district has 56 driving instructors. Leaders said the goal is to have 100 driving instructors by next summer.

WCPSS also partnered with the Boys and Girls Club to help provide virtual classes to underserved students. It will begin with a two-week class starting in the summer months.

The school district plans to strengthen communication with families by hiring contracted support staff who will focus on digital updates to the school and district websites.