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Implementing the middle school math placement guidelines in 2011-12

The placement guidelines are staying the same but the training and explanation of the role of teacher judgment is changing for advanced middle school math classes in Wake County in the 2011-12 school year.

Ken Branch, senior director of middle school programs, explained today to the school board's economically disadvantaged student performance task force that they don't have the data yet to make changes to the placement guidelines. But they are putting more details into the placement guidelines to make it clearer to teachers, parents and students.

But Branch also said that they're making it clear to teachers that professional judgment will only be used to place students into the courses who might not be considered ready by EVAAS. That could address concerns that some teachers have used their judgment even under the new guidelines to keep kids out who are considered by EVAAS to be ready.

UPDATE

Click here to view the 2011-12 placement guidelines. You'll see how much more detailed they are than the 2010-11 guidelines.

Going from African American male achievement to the diversity policy

A discussion Thursday about how to help improve the performance of African American male students turned into yet another fight over school diversity in Wake County.

School board member Keith Sutton gave a presentation during Thursday's ED task force meeting highlighting the racial achievement and graduation rate gaps between black and white students. Click here and here to see what was handed out.

The ensuing Q&A turned into a discussion of the elimination of the diversity policy, with some shouting and heated words.

School board slowly vote through reassignment plan

It took a lot longer than Wake County school board members expected Tuesday night to work their way through the 2011-12 student reassignment plan.

As noted in today's article, the school board wound up holding votes on all 50 items instead of doing one vote. It was due to the Democrats objecting to most of the moves that went beyond filling Walnut Creek Elementary School.

School board member Kevin Hill pointed back to the Oct. 5 resolution, which he said meant only making minor adjustments to the third year of the three-year assignment plan.

Looking at Fund 6 accounts and equity

The most anticipated discussion topic at last week's Wake County school board economically disadvantaged student performance task force meeting was the Fund 6 balances for individual schools.

Each school maintains a Fund 6 account for the revenues they generate. The amounts vary widely among the schools and are used to pay for a variety of things.

Questions about Enloe High School having the most Fund 6 revenue this past fiscal year of any school in the district at $649,325.95 took up a good chunk of the discussion. Click here for the handouts.

Bypassing the public comment restrictions on student assignment

You've got 29 people lined up to speak at today's Wake County school board meeting.

It looks like people are citing the discussion of the facilities utilization report, which is item 14 on the agenda, to get around the ban about talking about student assignment. Among the people citing this section on the signup sheet are Anne Sherron, Adrienne Lumpkin, Susan Evans, Monserrat Alvarez (of N.C. HEAT) and Jim Martin.

On the list of 15 speakers for off-agenda topic items, you've got more supporters of the diversity policy who likely are using other ways to bring up student assignment. This list includes:

UPDATE

School board vice chairwoman Debra Goldman said the restriction on comment on student assignment was meant for discussion on specific moves in the plan.

Questioning the push to increase Algebra I enrollment in middle school

There are a number of peopel who don't think the Wake County school board's efforts to get more students into Algebra I in middle school is a good idea.

During last week's board meeting, N.C. State Professor Jim Martin said he fully supports that "nothing but competency" be used in assigning students to Algebra I. He said it's "unacceptable" to make placement decisions in Algebra I based on race or economic status.

"However I must counter the myth that is being perpetuated," Martin quickly added. "You don't need algebra in middle school to be competitive in application to college."

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