Wake Ed

Great Schools hosting forums on Wake County student assignment

The Great Schools in Wake Coalition will host three community forums this fall to get a conversation going about the future of growth and student assignment in the Wake County school system.

The first forum, called “Overview of the Challenges Growth Poses on Student Assignment” will be held Sept. 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Fairmont United Methodist Church, 2501 Clark Avenue in Raleigh. Topics covered at that session will include:

▪ Details about the demographics of the Wake school system;

▪ Identification and discussion of the challenges that growth places on the district, including the impacts of poverty, housing patterns and related transportation issues;

▪ Examination of how poverty, housing patterns and related transportation issues have impacted individual schools “leaving many of our schools segregated by race and income.”

Follow-up forums will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 27 and Nov. 19. The locations haven’t been set yet.

One of the elected officials that GSIW says will participate in the Sept. 24 forum is school board Chairwoman Christine Kushner, who was one of the original leaders in the group. Former Superintendent Tony Tata had questioned Kushner’s ties to GSIW with Kushner saying she stopped being an active member after joining the school board.

The N&O published a story Aug. 16 noting how the number of high-poverty and racially isolated schools has doubled in the past seven years now that fewer Wake students are being bused for diversity.

In a letter to the editor defending the board’s focus on promoting stability in assignments, Kushner added that “our residents need to engage in a communitywide conversation to discuss what is best for children, and I as an individual would argue that integrated schools are indeed part of what is best for children – and communities.”

It’s a conversation that Great Schools in Wake is ready to engage in as well.

“We know our school system faces serious challenges, and we want to ensure that our community is involved in the conversation about those challenges,” said Karen Rindge, executive director of WakeUP Wake County, the parent group of GSIW, in an email Thursday announcing the forums.

Go to www.greatschoolsinwake.org/2016-growth-and-assignment/ for more information on the forums, including how to register.