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Wake County school board members go "On The Record" about student assignment directive

The concept of healthy schools and the significance of the student assignment directive, along with how it was passed by the Wake County school board, were among the topics on WRAL's "On The Record" show on Saturday.

David Crabtree, the host of the show, asked whether the passage of the directive meant the Wake County school system was headed back to where it was before the 2009 school board elections. School board chairman Kevin Hill said the directive calls for staff to “look at the best pieces of the past several assignment processes we’ve had and move forward.”

But school board member Deborah Prickett answered that “this plan is looking to me that it is slipping backwards." She said the directive “is a fundamental change" to the choice plan and "is actually going after the structure of the plan.”

Wake County school system dealing with issues related to new choice plan

Wake County's new choice-based student assignment plan is producing some unusual oddities for the 2012-13 school year that opens today with the return of year-round students.

As noted in today's article, Wake has 151,487 students registered for the new school year, 1,000 more than expected. But staff isn't certain how much of that growth is attributable to phantom students who were gaming the choice plan.

Another quirk of the choice plan is that Richland Creek Elementary School only has 34 students registered so far for its Aug. 27 opening. That's far fewer students than it would have opened with under the old base-school assignment plan.

Wake County school diversity supporters on avoiding Forsyth County's resegregation under school choice plan

Supporters of restoring diversity to Wake County's student assignment plan have been talking about a recent article on resegregation and school choice in the Winston-Salem Forsyth County schools.

This Sunday article in the Winston-Salem Journal notes how the school district phased out busing for diversity starting in 1995 in favor of "choice zones," which allow parents to choose from among multiple schools. The article says that racial resegregation quickly accelerated in the schools and led to concentrated poverty in certain schools.

"Despite zoned assignment plans offering parents diverse school choices, local schools tend to reflect their neighborhoods," according to the article. "And those neighborhoods, while changing, still reflect the legacy of zoning laws that laid out where black people were allowed to live for much of the 20th century."

1341613179 Wake County school diversity supporters on avoiding Forsyth County's resegregation under school choice plan The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

General Assembly eliminates requirement that Wake County school board holds its annual meeting in June

The days of the Wake County school board holding an annual meeting in June to elect a chair and vice chair will soon be over.

Last week, the General Assembly passed a bill that eliminates wording saying the Wake school board must hold its annual meeting to elect board officers in June or July. This will allow the school board to hold the annual meeting whenever it wants, likely in December after the fall board elections.

The change came about because in 2009 the new Republican majority kicked Kevin Hill out of his term early to make Ron Margiotta the board chair. The new Democratic majority reciprocated last year by kicking John Tedesco out early as vice chair in favor of Keith Sutton.

Rather than go through the process of picking new officers in December and then holding another vote in June, the board unanimously agreed to ask the legislature to change the local law. This now means that the terms of board chairman Kevin Hill and vice chairman Keith Sutton will likely end in December instead of June.

1341320464 General Assembly eliminates requirement that Wake County school board holds its annual meeting in June The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce to still help getting school construction bond issue passed in 2013

Despite some speculation otherwise, it looks like the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce will be helping promote passage of a Wake County school construction bond measure that's expected to be on the ballot in 2013.

Harvey Schmitt, president of the Greater Raleigh Chamber, said the group will continue in the position it's held for the past generation of lobbying to get school bond issues passed. This will happen even though Schmitt says the group is still disappointed that the school board is moving away from the choice plan.

There's been speculation about what the Chamber would do if the choice plan was delayed or dropped.

1341234065 Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce to still help getting school construction bond issue passed in 2013 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 board chairman Kevin Hill not expecting "massive reassignment" under new student assignment plan

Wake County school board chairman Kevin Hill is trying to ease concerns about the school board's recent vote to change the student assignment plan for the 2013-14 school year.

As noted in today's article, Hill said during a Friday meeting with N&O editors and reporters that he's not expecting the return to an address-based plan to result in large-scale reassignment. He stressed the proposed "stay where you start" policy which would allow students to stay at the school they're attending until they complete the grade span.

But Hill also said they're still going to have to reassign people to fill all the new schools that Wake will need to deal with growth.

1347245608 Wake County school board chairman Kevin Hill not expecting "massive reassignment" under new student assignment plan The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Civitas Review on Wake County school board chairman Kevin Hill's views on choice and "the good of the public"

Wake County school board chairman Kevin Hill is taking heat for saying that he agrees with the statement that "'family choice' is, therefore, basically selfish and anti-social in that it focuses on the 'wants' of a single family rather than the 'needs' of society."

In a Wednesday blog post for the Civitas Review, the weblog of the conservative Civitas Institute, Jim Tynen writes that "you have to give credit to the chairman of the Wake County School Board for frankness in discussing what’s important." Hill and others have attributed that statement about choice being selfish and anti-social to the Association of California School Administrators.

"Some bloggers see this in the ACSA statement as far left-wing," Tynen writes. "But you don’t have to go that far; it seems to me to be a rather clear, if unusually candid, expression of what liberals everywhere actually think. They believe society comes first."

1340913799 Civitas Review on Wake County school board chairman Kevin Hill's views on choice and "the good of the public" The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cash Michaels on whether Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata will carry out the student assignment directive

Cash Michaels is speculating on whether Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata will do as he's publicly stated that he'll carry out the new student assignment directive.

In an article in The Carolinian out today, Michaels notes that Tata "has had several very public nasty fights with" the school board's new Democratic majority. The liberal Michaels also calls Tata "a conservative Tea Party sympathizer who sources say has US senatorial aspirations in a few years."

"With his heart really not into establishing a base school model with aspects of choice, and elements of stability, proximity, student achievement and diversity, will Tata drag his feet in meeting the 2013-14 school year deadline, or will the retired US Army brigadier general be the “good soldier,” and follow the directive?" Michaels writes.

1347245646 Cash Michaels on whether Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata will carry out the student assignment directive The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wake GOP Chairwoman Susan Bryant charges Democratic school board members "lied" about not changing student assignment plan

Wake County Republican Party Chairwoman Susan Bryant charges the school board's Democratic majority "lied" when they said they wouldn't scrap the choice-based student assignment plan.

In Thursday's issue of the Elephant Express and in a press release that day, Bryant focuses back on the fall elections where she says the Democratic board candidates "deliberately soft-pedaled their intent to scrap Tata’s bipartisan parental-choice assignment plan."  Bryant points to interviews that the candidates gave about not making sweeping changes to the Wake County school choice plan.

"The truth is, they are going back to the old plan as closely as the law will allow," Bryant writes. "Each child’s address will be tied to a specific school to be chosen on some sort of socioeconomic basis."

1340802067 Wake GOP Chairwoman Susan Bryant charges Democratic school board members "lied" about not changing student assignment plan 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 board member Susan Evans wanting to meet with staff on student assignment next steps

It looks like Wake County school board member Susan Evans is ready to jump in with ideas she wants the staff to explore under the student assignment directive.

In a Wednesday morning email to staff that was copied to board chairman Kevin Hill, Evans said she wanted to "float some ideas" about next steps in the assignment process. Evans wrote that Hill suggested she initiate the meeting with staff because the board won't be meeting for a month.

"I realize that you will need some time to determine what staff members will be charged with this task, etc., so I am not asking for this discussion to take place immediately, but would appreciate an the opportunity to brainstorm with those involved before we get too far into the process," Evans writes.

1340370065 Wake County school board member Susan Evans wanting to meet with staff on student assignment next steps 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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