Jan. 19, 2017
I was asked by several people to take a look at the most recent CMS Pupil Assignment documents. The documents include a CMS Board policy statement, board minutes discussed below and the maps below.
After reading the published documents, I’m not convinced we know what we are doing.
The hypocrisy and lack of commitment was obvious. Just think: In one of the documents it said that the role of pupil assignment “has the potential to address inequities that inherently exist when learning environments isolate students based on factors outside the control of students such as socioeconomic status.” Under whose watch was the greatest concentration and isolation of poor and Black students since the 1960s created, CMS?
CMS promises to set the stage for more socioeconomically diverse learning classrooms in Phase I, the portion of the CMS board’s student assignment review just completed. Unfortunately, the data or analytics used in the published student assignment plan does not support any meaningful reductions in isolation or projected improvements in student learning.
I was told once that any road will get you there if you don’t know where you are going. Nowhere is the operative word here.
There’s nothing in the documents to state how diverse the classrooms should be or how less isolated students will be. The Board in a very cavalier manner suggests a magnet lottery pool of 1/3 High SES, 1/3 Medium SES and 1/3 Low SES. WOW! Great intentions here.
One goal is to reduce the number of schools with high concentrations of poor and high-needs children. The document fails to define our current state of “high concentrations.” Where are we today and what will it look like when we achieve our goal? As a concept, I believe most people would agree. But as a community goal, does it mean 50%, 60%, 80%, 90%?
Neither does the plan define who or what makes children “high-needs.” In fact, the Board has eliminated efforts to identify individual students receiving free or reduced lunch. At the November 2016 board meeting, they discussed having equity included in the pupil assignment plan, but voted 5-4 to exclude it (Minutes, pp. 23-25). So it is unclear how this plan will reduce the number of “high-needs” students.
Phase I was to leverage the magnet lottery process to achieve the Board’s goals. Both rounds of the lottery end on March 29, 2017. Let’s see where we are at that point. Without goalposts, any road will get us there. And if we keep failing, fewer and fewer members of this community will want to take the trip. More to come later.
Click here for SES blocks mapped
Click here for elementary schools' SES blocks
Click here for middle schools' SES blocks
Click here for high schools' SES blocks
Click here for magnet school transportation zones
Originals of the above documents can be downloaded as PDFs from the Documents Archive.