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Duke University study credits Wake County's old diversity policy for keeping schools integrated

A recent Duke University study is giving high marks to the Wake County school system's old socioeconomic diversity policy.

The study found that the racial balance in North Carolina’s public schools has remained steady since 2005-06. But the study also that students are increasingly separated by income.

Amid this picture, the Duke study notes that "Wake County, with its longstanding policy of busing for economic balance, maintains relatively integrated schools." In contrast, the study found that "districts that have pursued more choice-driven plans in lieu of busing, such as Charlotte-Mecklenburg, have higher rates of racial imbalance."

1359381664 Duke University study credits Wake County's old diversity policy for keeping schools integrated The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

GSIW and Debra Goldman criticize plan for unarmed guards at Wake County elementary schools

The Wake County school board is getting it on both ends of the political spectrum for today's proposal to place an unarmed private security guard at every elementary school.

In a post Monday, the Great Schools in Wake Coalition asks "where is community involvement on this issue?" GSIW also asks "why the rush to vote when there is no evidence that demonstrates that security officers will make schools safer?"

GSIW argues that the $2.375 million that Wake is looking to spend year-round on the unarmed guards could be better spent on measures such as bullying prevention and adding more social workers. The group also isn't a big fan of having armed school resource officers.

At the other end, school board member Debra Goldman is arguing that the security at elementary schools should be armed. She wants to talk with the local enforcement agencies about adding school resource officers to all 105 elementary schools, which would cost a lot more than unarmed guards.

1358870412 GSIW and Debra Goldman criticize plan for unarmed guards at Wake County elementary schools The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wake County school system denies GSIW has "extreme influence" on school board majority

The Wake County school system is denying that members of the school board's Democratic majority are being unduly influenced by the Great Schools in Wake Coalition.

As noted in today's article, Wake's school board attorneys are telling AdvancED that majority members are making decisions based on their independent judgment and not because of the influence of Great Schools or any other advocacy group. The Wake County Taxpayers Association had charged GSIW had "extreme influence" on the majority, particularly the new board members.

"The allegation that the Board members who voted in favor of the June 19 student assignment directive did so because of 'extreme influence' from GSIW is suppositional and wrong," says this report.

Wake County school system explains to AdvancED reasons for dropping choice plan

More to come later, but the Wake County school system is defending the decision by the school board's Democratic majority to drop the choice-based student assignment plan in its response to AdvancED.

In this 28-page report sent today, Wake says the board majority's vote was based on “reasonable beliefs that there were demonstrable and substantial problems with the Choice Plan.”

“While four Board members believed that the Choice Plan remained viable and that any problems could be successfully addressed, five members came to the conclusion that a fundamental change in approach was needed,” according to the report.

UPDATE

The WRAL breaking news alert that "the national accreditation group AdvancED has found a complaint against the Wake County Board of Education by the Wake County Taxpayers Association to be without merit" is dead wrong.

AdvancED hasn't even reviewed the report yet. It's WRAL misinterpreting that Wake is telling AdvancED that it should find the complaint as being without merit.

Wake County school system to respond today to WCTA complaint with AdvancED

Today is the deadline for the Wake County school system to respond to the complaint that the Wake County Taxpayers Associated filed with AdvancED.

The initial WCTA complaint focused on a variety of things, including the private meeting the new school board members had with Michael Alves, the post-midnight vote on the student assignment directive and board member Jim Martin trying to arrange an assignment provision for parents going on sabbaticals. WCTA has also argued that the new board members are unduly influenced by the Great Schools in Wake Coalition.

The WCTA later amended the complaint to include the firing of Superintendent Tony Tata.

How Wake's response to the complaint affects AdvancED's review of the accreditation of the district's high schools remains to be seen.

Great Schools in Wake Coalition is "pleased" by new Wake County student assignment plan

The Great Schools in Wake Coalition is praising this week's vote by the Wake County school board's Democratic majority to move back to an address-based assignment plan for the 2013-14 school year.

On its revamped website, GSIW say it's "pleased" by the vote and "is gratified that many of the elements in the 2013-14 assignment plan proposal include several suggestions made in our April, 2012 Let’s Find a Better Way position paper."

"Among the positive elements of the new plan," GSiW says, are restoration of base assignments with choice options, implementation of stay where you start rules, ending the requirement of registering new students at central office and priorities to keep siblings at the same school.

GSIW has been relatively silent publicly over the past few months.

GSIW wants next Wake County schools superintendent to be a career educator

Members of the Wake County school board's Democratic majority and the Great Schools in Wake Coalition are offering their perspectives on the search for a new superintendent to the liberal N.C. Policy Watch.

In an article published Thursday, author Lucy Hood says GSIW members want the next superintendent to be a career educator, someone with experience in the classroom. This would come after GSIW had opposed the hiring of former Superintendent Tony Tata, a retired U.S. Army brigadier general.

“No more professional hires from the military, or business,” says GSIW program coordinator Patty Williams in the article. “I’m a business person. I do not believe business people should be running a school district. …. The superintendent needs to be professionally trained and a highly experienced educator.”

Joey Stansbury creates Facebook page mocking Great Schools in Wake Coalition

Local conservative activist Joey Stansbury recently created a Facebook page to criticize the Great Schools in Wake Coalition's impact on the Wake County school system.

On the "Great Students in Wake" page, Stansbury and other GSIW critics have various posts taking the liberal group to task on things such as the firing of Superintendent Tony Tata. The page also includes posts criticizing members of the school board's Democratic majority.

One of the most recent posts is a link to a Friday blog post on Stansbury's Wake Community Network, where he criticizes Amy Lee's appointment to a school board advisory council. The post includes photos from a school board meeting that show Lee and GSIW chairwoman Yevonne Brannon talking behind speakers at the podium.

"Those who have not attended Wake County Board of Education meetings perhaps don't witness what amounts to a constant level of disruption and rude and belligerent chatter from the Great Schools (not students) in Wake leadership," Stansbury writes in the post.

Amy Lee appointed to Wake County school board advisory council

Amy Lee, one of the most outspoken members of the Great Schools in Wake Coalition, was appointed to a Wake County school board advisory council on Tuesday.

Lee, a North Raleigh magnet school parent, was appointed to school board vice chairman Keith Sutton's District 4 BAC. She's listed as the representative from Hunter Elementary School and also is a parent at Ligon Middle School.

Lee has provided some of the most memorable GSIW comments at school board meetings and other venues over the past few years. Here are some of them:

John Tedesco and June Atkinson argue over neighborhood schools in race for state schools superintendent

The Wake County student assignment fight is becoming part of the last-minute fight in the battle over state schools superintendent

As noted in today's article by Lynn Bonner, Wake County school board member John Tedesco sent out this controversial email Monday to supporters that includes some claims that incumbent June Atkinson says are false. The most contentious is Tedesco's charge, which Atkinson denies, that she's "using your public funds to pay groups like Rev. Barber's NAACP to work for her campaign."

But this post will focus more on the student assignment fight, including referencing back to the Oct. 15 candidate forum sponsored by WakeUP Wake County and the League of Women Voters of Wake County.

1351591264 John Tedesco and June Atkinson argue over neighborhood schools in race for state schools superintendent The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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