How Will Does The Year Round Calendar Affect Raleigh Schools?

Raleigh Schools, in the Wake County district of North Carolina, have been praised for doing a lot of things right. This is especially true in the area of diversity. In 2000 the Raleigh Schools’ goal has been to limit the number of students receiving reduced lunches to 40% per school. Many studies have shown that large amounts of poverty negatively affect all students, and Raleigh Schools were praised for this racially blind method of ensuring diversity. Organizations as diverse as the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University, the Bush administration and many educational organizations commended the move.

That’s not to stay that Raleigh Schools have not had some struggles. 30 of the 143 Raleigh Schools currently exceed the 40% goal. Still, most board members and educators have been pleased with the results. Another initiative, which has garnered both praise and criticism, may put the diversity gains of Raleigh Schools at risk.

Back in 1989 Raleigh Schools first implemented voluntary year round schools. Year round schools make better use of facilities, and help students retain more knowledge by giving many shorter 3-week breaks as opposed to the traditional summer vacation. Mainly affluent families signed up for those voluntary schools, as childcare is hard to come by during those 3-week breaks for financially strapped working families. The Raleigh Schools’ Board responded by assigning specific neighborhoods to each year round school, and involuntarily assigning children to schools. Here’s the problem.

Some parents don’t want their children bussed to schools on the year round calendar, in neighborhoods where they were not comfortable socially, or that were too far from their homes. Recently, those parents of Raleigh Schools won a court ruling that requires parental consent to send children to year round and modified calendar schools. While parents may see this as a win, civil rights advocates and Raleigh Schools’ educators in favor of diversity are very concerned.

African American community leaders, including Raleigh School Board vice chairman Rosa Gill, are urging parents to consent to keep their children in the year round school to strengthen both diversity and academic strength. Many of the children opting out of the year round school option do so because their parents say that they don’t fit into that more affluent environment. On the reverse side, some better-off families want to opt out in order to attend traditional or more desirable schools as well. Either scenario threatens the balance of diversity for which Raleigh Schools have received great acclaim.

Do parents know what’s best, or are they unintentionally contributing to academic struggles at Raleigh Schools? The court has ruled, and the nation will watch Raleigh Schools closely for the outcome.

How Will Does The Year Round Calendar Affect Raleigh Schools? 7 of 10 on the basis of 1568 Review.