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Accusing Tony Tata of militarizing the Wake County school system

Is the Wake County school system undergoing "militarization" under the tenure of Superintendent Tony Tata?

That's a charge leveled in this Dec. 16 article by Jason Langberg and Lewis Pitts from the liberal Advocates for Children's Services. The article points to Tata's military career, the requirement of Junior ROTC for the new single-sex leadership academies and Wake's recent involvement in cybersecurity competitions.

The authors start by calling the Occupy Wall Street movement an "education justice movement." The piece charges that public education has "undergone a corporate coup" with the "mega-buck mafia’s buyout of public education."

Terry Stoop says Wake "playing catch-up" academically to Charlotte

Terry Stoops says that Charlotte-Mecklenburg winning the Broad Prize shows that Wake County schools are "playing catch-up" to the often maligned school district.

in his weekly education update on Tuesday for the conservative John Locke Foundation, Stoops points to how people have taken frequent shots at CMS for its decision to move to neighborhood schools. One example he cites is how UCLA Professor Gary Orfield criticized Wake's elimination of the diversity policy in 2010 and said that "my feeling is that it's very important for people in Wake to drive over to Charlotte and see what's happened."

Stoops points to how Charlotte's low-income students outperform and outgraduate their Wake peers. He also points to how Broad praised Charlotte's efforts to target more resources into needier schools.

"So, I encourage people in Wake County and elsewhere to listen to Gary Orfield," Stoops writes. "Drive to Charlotte and 'see what's happened.' Better yet, let the Broad Foundation tell you what's happened. Charlotte-Mecklenburg has become 'a model for innovation in urban education.' Wake County is playing catch-up."

Keith Sutton asking that Wake not "wind up like Charlotte-Mecklenburg"

Is it good or bad for Wake County to be compared to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system?

On one hand, Charlotte-Mecklenburg received on Tuesday the 2011 Broad Prize, earning $550,000 in scholarships in recognition of its efforts to help low-income and minority students succeed and graduate.

On the other hand, you had Wake school board member Keith Sutton wanting reassurances on Tuesday that the new student assignment plan won't have Wake "wind up like Charlotte-Mecklenburg."

Paying more for a superintendent search firm

So what will the Wake County school board majority get for paying nearly double the price of the nearest competitor for hiring Heidrick & Struggles to be the superintendent search firm?

As noted in today's article, that extra money means Heidrick will recruit non-educators to be applicants for the position. School board member John Tedesco said they felt that Heidrick would do the best job of the search firms of getting national candidates and people from the non K-12 world.

While not saying that a non-educator would be hired, Tedesco pointed to all the educators who are in senior positions who could assist the new superintendent.

Pros and cons of hiring a non-educator to be superintendent

The Wake County school board would make a statement if it chose a non-educator to become superintendent.

As noted in today's article, policy revisions recommended by the school board's policy committee would take advantage of changes adopted by the General Assembly in 2001 to allow non-educators to become superintendents. But few school districts in the state have taken advantage of the change.

Guilford County Superintendent Maurice Green was about the only non-educator to come to mind for people. Green was Charlotte-Mecklenburg's in-house lawyer and later deputy superintendent before becoming superintendent.

DPS board member Kainz: standardized test critics engage in 'hypocrisy'

Durham Public Schools Board of Education member Dr. Kirsten Kainz offered strong words at the board's meeting last night to critics of standardized tests and the Reading Street curriculum.

Kainz made a lengthy statement before offering an update on the elementary instruction initiatives. She also directly responded to parents who spoke earlier about their concerns over Durham's emphasis on testing and the Reading Street curriculum. These parents brought up the school district's ties with the Broad Foundation, a controversial group that trains and awards large amounts of money to reform school districts - especially in urban areas. (I'll do a separate post on Broad tomorrow.)

Her full statement is after the jump:

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