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Rob Schofield on the school board majority "dismantling a once-excellent school system"

Rob Schofield doesn't appear to be optimistic that the majority will change  on the Wake County school board or that the new student assignment plan will do much for diversity.

In a blog post today, Schofield of the liberal N.C. Policy Watch says that the districts on the ballot Tuesday means there's a "small" chance "to dislodge the current right-wing school board majority." He says "the anti-diversity forces" have come up with an assignment plan that's so complicated that "an average person has very little chance of fully grasping the new plan — much less explaining it to others."

He praises Neil Riemann for his analysis of the plan on his blog. Riemann contends "the plan will further polarize our schools by race, wealth, and achievement.”

"In other words, it’s hard to follow and frequently secretive, but the bottom line on what the Wake school board majority has been doing is this: The group is slowly dismantling a once-excellent school system one cut at a time," Schofield writes. "If voters do take the extraordinary step of turning out the right-wingers like Board Chair Ron Margiotta, it will be because they decide they’ve had enough of such an approach."

Wake expecting initial rise in transportation costs from new assignment plan

The spinning is going on about how much transportation costs will be impacted by Wake County's new student assignment plan.

School administrators said Tuesday that it could could cost five to 25 additional buses because of the grandfathering that will be employed over the next few years as the plan is phased in. Administrators said they expect costs to drop below current levels once the grandfathering of current students ends.

In a blog post Wednesday, Matt Ellinwood of the liberal N.C. Policy Watch cited the transportation analysis to mock critics of the old diversity policy.

CORRECTION

The blog post was written by Matt Ellinwood.

Rob Schofield questioning lack of activity on John Tedesco's website

What message, if any, can you draw from the lack of activity on the website for the education group run by Wake County school board vice chairman John Tedesco?

In a blog post today for the liberal N.C. Policy Watch, Rob Schofield speculates on the lack of updates for the N.C. Center for Education Reform's website. He writes that "the group’s public output has been a big, fat zero."

"One has to wonder what the group’s founders and funders are thinking – if anything," Schofield writes. "Is it: 'What the heck is going on here?' or 'Our plan of providing a convenient cover so that conservatives can pay Tedesco to be on the school board is working out just fine!"

Tedesco responded to the N&O today that the website hasn't been updated yet because he's been busy getting the new non-profit started up. He said he has been working on several education initiatives.

Ron Margiotta holds fundraising lead over Susan Evans

Wake County school board chairman Ron Margiotta and Susan Evans are both pulling in substantial amounts of cash in the District 8 race, including money from the Popes, Bob Luddy and the Campbells.

The new campaign report filed today by Margiotta shows he had raised $40,367.33 as of Aug. 30 with $34,111.23 on hand. The new report for Evans shows she had raised $26,406.43 as of Aug. 30 with $21,405.30 on hand.

The biggest donors for Margiotta in his new report are the $4,000 apiece from conservative businessman Art Pope, his wife Katherine Pope and conservative businessman Bob Luddy.

Tony Tata on trying to avoid cutting teaching positions

Wake County Schools Superintendent Tony Tata is talking about why he felt the need to cut clerical, custodial and Central Office positions in this year's budget.

Tata was interviewed by Chris Fitzsimon, executive director of the liberal N.C. Policy Watch, for Sunday's broadcast of "News and Views." According to N.C. Policy Watch's Progressive Pulse blog, Tata talked about the hard budget issues faced this year and what's coming next year when state and federal funding gets reduced again.

In a preview clip, Tata says he realized how hard it would be on schools to each lose a clerical position.

Downplaying the USDA interpretation against using lunch data in student assignment

Look for socioeconomic diversity supporters, both in Wake County and nationally, to lobby the Obama Administration to change the U.S. Department of Agriculture's opinion that school lunch data can't be used for student assignment.

One example is this post today in the Progressive Pulse blog, maintained by the liberal N.C. Policy Watch, which calls the interpretation from Mara McElmurry in USDA's Child Nutrition Division "merely...an e-mail from a program analyst." Regardless of the source of the information, Wake school board attorney Ann Majestic says it has to be viewed as the official position of the USDA unless they hear otherwise.

"Thankfully, the final decisions on critical legal issues like these are not made by program analysts from the Department of Agriculture," according to the blog post. "Both the Department of Education and the Department of Justice have held up Wake County’s old socioeconomic diversity plan as a national model and no federal agency has questioned legality of the use of the data for more than a decade."

Linking Anthony Tata to Glenn Beck

Rob Schofield is calling this connection between new Wake County Superintendent Anthony Tata and conservative political commentator Glenn Beck "a worrisome sign."

According to this post today on the Progressive Pulse blog, run by the liberal N.C. Policy Watch, Schofield writes that Beck is the first person that Twitter suggests that followers of Tata might also enjoy following.

Most of Tata's recent twitters have promoted his appearances on Fox News to talk about military issues and his unsuccessful bid to win the Washington Post's "America's Next Great Political Pundit" contest. If he had won, Tata would have gotten a contract to write 13 political columns for the Post.

Rob Schofield says school board about to do the "dirty deed" on Southeast Raleigh

Rob Schofield is declaring that the Wake County school board has thrown off "the cloak of supposedly pure intentions" with the list of proposed Southeast Raleigh reassignments.

In a column today, Schofield, director of research for the liberal N.C. Policy Watch, writes that the school board is now at the point where it will "deliver" for the people who put them in office and say "no" to the people who didn't.

"Three suburbanites moving plainly and explicitly to send the poor kids back to where they belong - back to Southeast Raleigh where they will be out of sight and out of mind," Schofield writes of the proposals from Tuesday's student assignment committee meeting.

John Tedesco says eliminating the U.S. Department of Education "would be great"

Wake County school board member John Tedesco is drawing fire for expressing support for abolishing the U.S. Department of Education.

In a post Sunday on the Progressive Pulse blog of the liberal N.C. Policy Watch, Greg Flynn admonishes Tedesco for his Facebook comments. Flynn characterizes it as "absurdity" and a case of "you can't make this stuff up."

On Friday, Bill Isley posted on Tedesco's Facebook wall that "Would be great if we could shut down & eliminate the Fed. Dept. of Educ.......and return that $50Billion to the states/local. Guess that would be about a Billion $$$ per state.....hm hm."

Feds reviewing NAACP complaint against Wake County schools

We could be a month away from knowing whether the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice will investigate the federal civil rights complaint that the NAACP filed last Friday against the Wake County school system.

Officials from both federal agencies say they're currently reviewing the complaint to see whether they'll investigate. They say they should know whether they'll proceed within a month.

If the feds do come, you could see a repeat of what happened in Wayne County when the state NAACP filed a complaint against them as well. You had the feds holding public hearings in the community to get feedback for their investigation.

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