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Wake Area In For A Change In Magnet Schools

For many years magnet schools in the Wake area have had vacant seats needing to be filled, but now the Wake area is in for a change in magnet schools. As a result of the recent Schools Board’s decision to quit using relative wealth as a requirement, many area magnet schools will find those seats filled with students come fall. Parents who had had enough of the magnet schools selection process banned together, and pushed for the election of four new School Board members last fall who pledged to end the districts socioeconomic diversity policy, and they are doing just that.

For over twenty years, magnet schools have been a major part of Wake’s diversity efforts. The original goal was to draw affluent applicants from mainly lower income suburban areas. In the past the selection process was designed to give priority to those applicants who wanted to leave overcrowded schools in affluent areas. Those students with higher than average poverty levels were placed at the bottom of the selection process. Under this new guideline, priority will be given to those students desiring to leave crowded schools regardless of their poverty level. With the old policy in place, it made it more difficult for middle-class families to leave higher poverty schools.

Not everyone is pleased with this move including Board Member Kevin Hill, who says, “This may be the start of more high-poverty schools.” Those opposed feel that this will now allow more of a family choice issue instead of keeping poverty levels down as intended.

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