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Working out the itinerary for Tata's visit this week

You still might have a chance to line up a visit this week with new Wake County Superintendent Anthony Tata.

As noted in Friday's article by Thomas Goldsmith, Tata will speak with the Wake County Taxpayers Association while he's in town this week. But school board chairman Ron Margiotta, who is organizing Tata's itinerary, said today that he's nowhere near completing the schedule for the rest of the Thursday and Friday trip.

"We're trying to reach out to elected officials, to the (Greater Raleigh) Chamber (of Commerce), to Wake Ed(ucation) Partnership...," Margiotta said.

UPDATE

Tim Simmons, VP of communications for the Wake Education Partnership, says the WEP won't hold a separate meeting with Tata this week because several of its leaders will be part of other meetings with the new superintendent.

Simmons also said they'll also help out with the Jan. 14 reception for Tata that's being sponsored by the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.

Anthony Tata hired as superintendent

The Wake County school board voted 4-2 today to hire Anthony Tata to be the new superintendent.

The four Republican board members (minus chairman Ron Margiotta who didn't vote becaue ther was no tie) backed Tata. The two Democrats present, Carolyn Morrison and Kevin Hill voted no.

A motion from Morrison to defer the vote to Jan. 4 to allow for parental comment was defeated by the same 4-2 vote.

As Debra Goldman made the motion to nominate Tata, an "argh" came from the small crowd of Great Schools in Wake Coalition people. The crowd cheered Morrison after she read her statement opposing Tata.

More to come later....

UPDATE

Click here for the online story.

Click here for a statement from Tata, who was not at the meeting.

Click here to view Tata's contract.

Click here to read a Great Schools in Wake Coalition press release criticizing the hiring of Tata.

Dealing with a possibly cold school board meeting today

You should literally be prepared to get a chilly reception at today's special Wake County board meeting.

The meeting was added to the schedule on Tuesday, which since it required 48-hours notice put it on for today. The meeting was scheduled after staff planned to close Central Office at 3600 Wake Forest Road in Raleigh at 4 p.m. Wednesday. This means the heat is dialed back during winter break.

With only a handful of staff members present today, security will reopen the building shortly before the meeting starts at 4:30 p.m. It could be chilly inside.

Anthony Tata as a hard worker and political commentator

Likely new Wake County Superintendent Anthony Tata comes in with a reputation as being a hard worker both in his day job with D.C. Schools and in his night job as a political commentator.

As noted in today's article, former D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee praised Tata and said he's ready and qualified to lead the Wake school system. Rhee singled out Tata's work streamlining D.C.'s school nutrition and purchasing programs during his 18 months as chief operating officer.

"He's not a touchy-feely guy who will hold people's hands" Rhee said. "He's very goal oriented. He was a general so he knows about leadership. He knows how to get the job done."

Richard Kahlenberg on the Wake school diversity fight in 2010

Richard Kahlenberg is calling the Wake County school system's school diversity fight an example of one of the best developments to happen in education in 2010.

But before you scratch your heads about it, here's what Kahlenberg, an ardent defender of using socioeconomic integration, means.

In a blog post Monday for the progressive Century Foundation, Kahlenberg cites the controversy in Wake an an example of how at the local level "many citizens and education leaders fought back vigorously against growing segregation."

GSIW accuses Margiotta of silencing public on student assignment

The Great Schools in Wake Coalition is ripping into Wake County school board chairman Ron Margiotta for not allowing public comment about student assignment at today's meeting.

In a press release today, Brannon said at least two dozen parents and students had planned to speak at today's board meeting about student assignment. She linked the decision to not allow comment on student assignment to last night's vote by county commissioners to rescind the school resegregation resolution.

“Chairman Margiotta’s move appears to be an attempt to silence those parents until the Board is well down the road to finalizing their decisions,” said GSIW chairwoman Yevonne Brannon in the press release.

Arguing about proximity or stability in next year's reassignments

It looks like we'll see a battle of proximity versus stability in this year's Wake County student reassignment plan.

As noted in today's article, the members of the former board majority plan to push for as many of last week's proposed Southeast Raleigh moves as they can for 2011-12. They're citing the proximity section of the new assignment policy.

“We have a new policy,” said school board chairman Ron Margiotta. “We have to follow it or change it.”

Commissioners to rescind school resegregation resolution

The new Republican majority on the Wake County Board of Commissioners is planning on making a major splash at their first meeting on Monday.

As noted in today's article, commissioners are planning on reversing some decisions made by the prior Democratic majority. Two revotes that affect the school system will be rescinding the resolution on school resegregation and restoring greater oversight over the school budget.

Tony Gurley, who will likely be replaced by Paul Coble on Monday as the new chairman, said they're correcting the "mistakes" made by Democrats who've been in the majority since 2009.

GSIW accuses school board of "bullying" with proposed Southeast Raleigh moves

The Great Schools in Wake Coalition is accusing the Wake County school board's student assignment committee of engaging in "bullying" by floating the proposed reassignment of thousands of Southeast Raleigh students.

In a press release today, GSIW charges the proposed reassignment of more than 6,000 students, many from low-income families in Southeast Raleigh, is a case of targeting families who have little sway or influence over the board "under the guise" of proximity.

GSIW contends that, at least in the case of David Williams' proposed reassignment of students out of East Garner Middle that it will actually result in the Southeast Raleigh kids going to a more distant school.

Great Schools in Wake Coalition discussing next steps

While at least some of you guys were watching football on Sunday, leaders of the Great Schools in Wake Coalition and the group's supporters were holding a strategy session.

Late Sunday afternoon, GSIW held a cocktail party in Raleigh to thank people for their support and to talk about ideas for next steps. You needed an invitation to attend the party.

Considering the recent election results for county commissioners, the state of student assignment, questions about school funding and how school board elections are 11 months away, there's a lot to discuss.

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