If you wanted to argue that Mecklenburg County actually has three separate school districts, this map of neighborhood school popularity would be a fascinating conversation starter.
|Quality of Life map|
Some residents of the suburban areas that tend to love their public schools have argued for splitting off as separate districts.
Amy Hawn Nelson, director of the university's Institute for Social Capital, wasn't arguing for or against that action when she sent me a link to the neighborhood-school map recently. She was pointing out the complex ways that school quality and family choices interact with the broader quality of life in our area.
I can't say there were any huge surprises, but seeing data mapped out can paint a picture that's more powerful than abstract knowledge. Hawn and her colleagues at the UNCC Urban Institute are looking for ways to harnass that power to spark dialogue about education. I'll be eager to see that they come up with.