School board elections held last week in Wake County, N.C., could determine the fate of the 120,000-student district’s nationally watched student-assignment policy, which seeks to limit the concentration of poor students attending any one school.
A candidate opposed to the 5-year-old policy of taking students’ family incomes into account in assigning them to schools won a seat on the nine-member board in an election Oct. 11. Two candidates with similar views are likely to be involved in runoffs next month.
If those candidates win, a new majority critical of the socioeconomic integration could take hold on the board, given that two members who were not up for re- election have been critical of the integration efforts.
Wake County’s assignment policies use magnet schools and busing to even out the number of needy students among the system’s schools. Supporters say student achievement has benefited, but detractors say the gains are simply in line with those posted by schools across North Carolina.
A version of this article appeared in the October 19, 2005 edition of Education Week