Smoke and mirrors is a metaphor for a deceptive, fraudulent or insubstantial explanation or description. Wake County schools Superintendent Tony Tata has perfected the art of an illusionist. He continues to spout numbers of success, stating that only 3 percent of students won't go to schools they wanted this fall. The numbers are greatly weighted by the kindergarten selection, where there are many seats and most students did get their first choice.
The facts are that many people did not even apply to leave their feeder patterns because they are zero priority and feel as if they have no choice. They felt forced to remain where they are as a lesser of two evils. The numbers provided by the assignment plan were given to deter families from moving off their feeder patterns. Many schools had fewer than five spots, and while more than five might have gotten in, hundreds are left on magnet feeders they do not want. Hundreds of rising ninth-graders did not get their first choice.
If Tata wants real numbers, he should take a survey at the end of June (the end of the assignment process) to know the true satisfaction of families. Will he be like any good general - ready to act? I can only hope so.