[warning: super link heavy]
In responding to Pattsi’s suggestion that I repost my many posts on the topic of Controlled Choice and Dr. Alves, I am remembering and re-learning various aspects of this program that had gathered dust in my own mind. After clearing away cobwebs, I am left with a quandary. At the bottom of this post, I will present an outline of earlier posts; major points will be post tags or general categories, with minor points covering a brief description of individual posts. I did think about doing them chronologically as suggested, but I think that gets a little too confusing. But all that is later. First we need to uncover a little history. [note: Brian Dolinar also provided a great historical piece via IMC]
The United States District Court contains a wealth of historical context for the Consent Decree. Relevant to where we are at now, pages 3-6 of the Controlled Choice Memorandum states 29 distinct goals for the Controlled Choice Plan. There are a number of eye-opening statements in this 1997 document, and it is clear that if those goals were stood up today, we would not have met all of them. Some, maybe even most, sure – but not all. However, the document is sufficiently thorough such that it pretty much spells out the details of the Lottery system we have today, with the exception that Dr. Alves does a bit more behind-the-scenes to quantitatively evaluate “low SES” (even before the Supreme Court struck down the “racial profiling” that was in use prior to 2008). It is further interesting to note that the Court opted to go with Dr. Alves’s “Controlled Choice Plan”, a plan that was jointly developed with Dr. Charles Willie over the course of a couple decades and fully spelled out in their 1996 book on desegregation.
Reading the 2002 Consent Decree and the follow-up 2006 speech by Judge McDade, it is glaringly obvious that from 1967 – 1995 the District allowed such an environment to arise that patent, notable and provable discrimination was placing an inordinate burden upon the Black community. And while the Latino community is completely ignored in all these reports, it would seem to me that there was a fair amount of discriminatory practices and policies towards them as well. Judge McDade clearly understood that the law and the school system can only address certain areas of discrimination, and as such specifically mentioned that the Consent Decree (and the lawsuits) were targeted towards “unwarranted disparities” within the existing school district practices and policies (page 8). In fact, Judge McDade had many great things to say in his 2006 speech, but I am not going to quote all of them. I do wish to highlight the following statement from page 15:
For example, I would suggest that the statistical disparity in educational performance between African American students and Caucasian students, should be a societal concern and that actions to the extent practical should be taken to remedy this disparity in the form of educational reform.
In some ways, this guy was ahead of his time. 🙂 I have the sad feeling, however, that it is the archaic and draconian system which is lagging its feet in the muck of centuries gone by. Even today, we struggle to overcome the racial boundaries that continue to segment and segregate our community as a whole.
With that brief background (there is so much more – I have but scratched the surface), I will mention in passing the proverbial Lost Dead Sea Scrolls of Schedule One. When I read his book on school diversity, I was very much impressed by Dr. Alves’s understanding and passion for the oppressed and those of less fortunate circumstances. When Luke Skywalker saw good in the Sith Dark Lord Vader, he was seeing his father, a former Jedi Knight who had fought against evil. I make this analogy because I believe there is good intent somewhere in this whole miasma we call “Controlled Choice”, it is just rather hard to see at times.
The Plaintiff Class has argued that we have not yet met all the goals of the Consent Decree. If the overarching goal is to make things “Fair”, then I would agree. But what is fair?
At this juncture, I wish to put these points to public discussion. I firmly believe we need more community dialogues; Chuck Jackson and I are making meager attempts to get people talking, and we have plans for “bigger and better”. Others are also getting the ball rolling. Judge McDade has noted the important element of community; I think with all focus on lawyer fees, busing issues, overchosen schools, etc, we forget this most critical piece.
Before I close off, I am going to make some statements concerning what I want to see in school assignment and how the RFP should look. And then I’ll give you a nice long list of blog posts as a sort of index into this area of my head. I am hoping the html anchors I use will help others create bookmarks to these particular sections.
- The Vendor must clearly spell out, in common, everyday language, the goals it has set forth to achieve and place said common-language goals is easy-to-find locations like a well documented website. Furthermore, the goals will align strictly to Unit 4 District goals as agreed upon.
- The Vendor shall provide an easy-to-understand graphical interface for school assignment data. Such an interface shall be simple, easy to navigate and updated as often as possible given the high mobility rates of Unit 4.
- Preference shall be given to local vendors for the purposes of
- local investment
- local understanding of environment, climate and context
- easy accessibility to key contacts for the sake of transparency, accountability and knowledge transfer
- The Vendor shall provide an Application Programming Interface (API) such that independent parties can access public data (ie, not Personally Identifiable Information, nor anything else that violates modern laws of privacy)
- The Vendor shall create, provide and maintain methods that simplify District involvement such that District personnel do not require significant training nor significant time in administration of Product
- The Vendor shall maintain a technologically modern interface for Users to input and view data
[note: most posts have multiple overlapping tags – each post is listed only once below]
- Tag: Kindergarten Lottery
- 19 July 2011 – Prototype of how to present data in a more user-friendly fashion
- 1 January 2012 – Brief exploration of what “overchosen” means
- 5 January 2012 – A real life example of how the Lottery works
- 10 January 2012 – Another prototype of graphically presenting data
- 11 January 2012 – And another case study of a Lottery example
- 26 Janurary 2012 – Reflection on Jan 26th Choice Forum
- 29 January 2012 – Technical Deep-dive on the lottery program
- Tag: What’s the Big Deal
- 17 January 2011 – Part I: focusing on Magnet schools and their suspected purpose to bolster underchosen schools
- 23 February 2011 – Part II: suggestions to improve the lottery with the intent of making it easier for incoming parents
- 27 January 2012 – Part III: more suggestions (similar), recommendations for the “Choice” forums
- 14 February 2012 – Part IV: What is fair?
- Tag: Michael Alves
- Tag: Controlled Choice
- 2 October 2009 – Talk with Margie Skirvin, mentioned Aber and Meinrath’s research
- 6 October 2009 – Review of Dr. Alve’s book
- 10 May 2011 – A close look at those who were unassigned in April 2011
- 28 December 2011 – Suggestions to the Board to improve Lottery
- 10 January 2012 – Review of the first 2012 “Choice Forum”
- 6 February 2012 – Meeting with Wiegand, Nadrozny and DeStefano (Lottery “Evaluator”)
- 22 February 2012 – chat with Dr. Wiegand about Alves
- Tag: Wake County [I only include this one for comparison – still interesting though]