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Debating the qualifications to serve on the Wake school board

Terry Stoops and Perry Woods had a running exchange today on the qualifications of Heather Losurdo and Kevin Hill to be on the Wake County school board.

Stoops, director of education studies for the conservative John Locke Foundation, kicked things off in this blog post today responding to Woods  saying on the Bill LuMaye Show that Losurdo lacked qualifications for being on the board.

Citing the broad qualifications in the state Constitution, Stoops writes that "it is an implicit acknowledgment that experience and credentials do not guarantee competence." He adds that "diverse perspectives and experiences strengthen elected bodies."

Heather Losurdo on a Kevin Hill victory leading to "forced busing"

Wake County school board candidate Heather Losurdo is calling the Nov. 8 runoff election a battle to decide whether there will be "forced busing" in the district.

In an interview today on the Bill LuMaye Show on WPTF, Losurdo told the conservative talk show host that "there is a very clear choice on Nov. 8th." She then pointed to Kevin Hill's no vote on the student assignment plan as an example of what will happen if Democrats regain the board majority.

"With the four people who were elected to office on Oct. 11th, you can be sure that if my opponent wins this race there will be forced busing in Wake County," Losurdo said. "And he made that very clear in a nice bipartisan vote on this new assignment policy, that is family friendly and gives parents choice for proximity schools, that he would not vote for it."

Speculating on how Ron Margiotta would have done against Jim Martin

How's this for a what-if scenario from the Wake County school board elections?

During an appearance Wednesday on The Bill LuMaye Show on WPTF, Democratic political strategist Perry Woods speculated on what might have happened if school board chairman Ron Margiotta had faced Jim Martin instead of Susan Evans in the District 8 race.

"They kind of got maybe a little too cute and moved him out of the district," said Woods, who worked for the Democratic school board candidates. "And I think Ron probably had a better chance of beating Jim Martin than he did Susan Evans, who ended up beating him."

Ron Margiotta on why he lost his re-election bid

Wake County school board chairman Ron Margiotta is blaming voter complacency for his election loss while also calling for people to rally around Heather Losurdo in her runoff contest.

In an interview Wednesday with conservative talk show host Bill LuMaye on WPTF, Margiotta said they just weren't able to turn out their voters on Tuesday. He pointed to the efforts by the Wake County Democratic Party to spend $85,000 on get-out-to-vote efforts for the school board races and the money spent by the outside groups such as Common Sense Matters to attack him.

"Our voters were extremely complacent," Margiotta said. "They felt they didn't have to come out because Margiotta was going to win and I think that's what it tended to boil down to. Our voters didn't come out feeling that they were pretty much satisfied with what was going on. "

Ron Margiotta on making all schools "achievement schools"

Candidate and school board chairman Ron Margiotta held firm to his opposition to the use of achievement schools as he touched on student assignment and other matters today.

In an interview today with conservative WPTF talk show host Bill LuMaye, Margiotta said parents all across the county, including those in Southeast Raleigh, have indicated they want neighborhood schools. He pointed to how parents on the online test drive overwhelmingly chose their closest school.

"Parents want to be close to home and as far as I'm concerned every school in this county should be a high-achieving school," Margiotta said. "And I think that's what our goal should be: to make every school high achieving, not just ones in the suburbs. or not just our magnet schools within the cities, wherever they may be."

Holding off on the grading policy changes

It looks like opponents of the proposed grading changes for Wake County schools have won some more time on the issue.

The school board was set to resume discussion on the issue today. But school board chairman Ron Margiotta, who opposes most of the changes, said the proposal has been pushed off until later this year while more questions are answered.

In the meantime, Margiotta and school board candidate Heather Losurdo have both strongly spoken out against changes such as reducing how much homework is counted and capping the penalty for handing in late assignments.

Ron Margiotta on the school resource officer program

Is Wake County school board chairman Ron Margiotta now singing a different tune on the issue of reviewing the school resource officer program?

In an interview Wednesday on the Bill LuMaye Show on WPTF, Margiotta was effusive in this praise of the school resource officer program as being necessary now that society has changed. He said he's hoping Superintendent Tony Tata's review will not result in any change of the program.

"I have some serious concerns with the fact that we're even considering making any changes," Margiotta said. "That's my personal feeling."


Tony Tata on the benefits of recruiting more minority teachers

Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata aggressively defended his efforts to recruit more minority teachers, saying that doing so would help provide more quality educators to the district.

In an interview today on WPTF, Bill LuMaye expressed skepticism to Tata about why he was pushing so hard to recruit more minority teachers. In turn, Tata challenged LuMaye, putting him on the spot at times.

LuMaye opened things up by asking Tata why he was sending recruiters to other states to look for more minority teaching applicants.

Bob Geary on Ron Margiotta "crippling" the blue plan

Is Wake County school board chairman Ron Margiotta out to cripple Superintendent Tony Tata's use of achievement choice schools in the new controlled-choice student assignment plan?

That's a contention made last week in a blog post by Bob Geary in the liberal Independent weekly. Geary cites Margiotta's interview Wednesday on the Bill LuMaye Show on WPTF in which he criticizes having achievement choices that are too far from a student's home and for setting aside too many seats for those students over neighborhood kids.

"Crippling Tata's Blue plan is exactly what Margiotta intends to do," Geary writes,

Ron Margiotta on not setting aside too many achievement choice seats

Wake County school board chairman Ron Margiotta gave a foretaste of what could be one of the big fights ahead on the adoption of the new student assignment plan.

During an interview Wednesday on the Bill LuMaye Show on WPTF, Margiotta raised concerns about how the achievement choice schools would be used. In particular, he questioned setting aside too many seats for achievement choice students vs. seats for neighborhood kids.

"If we give a student the choice of a school 20 miles away and reserve a high percentage of seats for these students, we're denying these seats for the parents that live in that immediate neighborhood, which is what we've done in the past," Margiotta said. "As I say, the plan needs some tweaking."

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