Choice School Program Doesn’t Offer Much Choice

Dear Editor,

Guilford County Schools currently has two policies for public review that pertain to school attendance zones.  These two policies could significantly change the method of student assignment to schools.

Currently, GCS utilizes attendance maps, which designate geographic areas that are associated with a given set of schools.  Students who live in an attendance zone do not have to apply to attend their designated school.

Policy 4150 allows GCS to define certain geographic zones as “choice zones.”  Families within these choice zones must apply for their preferred school through an application process.  Families in a choice zone will not have a “home” school assigned to them.

Policy 3104 proposes choice zones be designated geographically to determine equity of access and diversity of population while considering transportation time and costs.  Assignment of students within these choice zones will be determined in three different ways.

Schools with an assigned attendance zone, with additional sets filled through the choice application process.  This is the current method used for schools such as Andrews High where there is an Aviation Academy, which is magnet within the regular high school.

Choice Zone Magnets: All students within a nearby choice zone must choose a choice school with priority admission to schools within the choice zone.  Other students may be accepted based on availability.

Dedicated Magnets: All seats will be filled through the choice application process.

Methods 2 and 3 of this proposal alter attendance assignment to a student-by-student basis by the district with no regard to the student’s residence.

Using this policy, new and newly renovated schools can be designated dedicated magnets, giving the district control in determining every student who attends that school.  An example may be the new K-8 STEM school in the southwest area of Guilford County.   The families who attend the southwest schools now have been waiting for years for a new school that will ease overcrowding.  If that school is designated a dedicated magnet, the students who live in the area will have to apply to the new school and they may or may not be selected.  This scenario draws attention to the fact that no selection criteria has been defined for admittance to a choice school.  The district would control the entire decision.

The possible scope and lack of details in these proposals is concerning.  There are no specific areas defined as Choice Zones. There are no schools specified as Choice Zone Magnets or Dedicated Magnets.  There are no criteria defined to detail how students will be selected for various schools.

Although these new policies use the word choice, I do not see this plan as an effective choice for many.  In many cases, it takes any semblance of choice away from families and moves control of student attendance to the district.  Overall, this will be a poor change for many Guilford County families.

Lynn Andrew



Ditch The Two-Party System

Dear Editor,

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene wants a ”national divorce” between the red and blue states.

Here is an idea. I think that the American people should divorce itself from ”the two-party system.” The two parties have been ruling our country since the Civil War. Things just aren’t working out. Maybe it is time to move on. Think of the children. The main problem with “our” government is the two-party system.

Chuck Mann