North Carolina’s two largest school systems have taken vastly different approaches to two thorny issues — student reassignment and educating low-income students with hefty academic deficiencies.
Wake County, the state’s largest district, has used buses instead of greenbacks to address the academic needs of low-income students.
To meet the demands of growth and support a diversity policy aimed at reducing the number of high-poverty schools, Wake’s system moves thousands of students each year to different schools, sometimes sending kids on bus rides of more than 20 miles.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the second-largest district in North Carolina, has shifted to a system of largely neighborhood schools, resulting in a stratified mix of affluent schools in the suburbs and high-poverty schools near downtown Charlotte.
Instead of busing kids to balance out the level of low-income students at each school, the district pours millions of dollars into these high-poverty schools each year to boost the performance of academically disadvantaged students.