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Wake says it's addressing Algebra I minority participation gap

Donna Hargens, Wake's chief academic officer, says the school system is addressing the issue of minority underrepresentation in Algebra I.

In an op-ed piece today, Hargens says the Wake County school system has been trying to increase minority participation in Algebra I in middle schools for the past three years. She lays out a chronology of steps that have been taken since then, including using the SAS EVAAS program.

School board and commissioners to discuss Forest Ridge High

Considering all that the Wake County school board and county commissioners have been doing recently on their own, it will be interesting to see what happens when they meet together

Today is the first joint meeting of both boards since the new majority took control on the school board and Tony Gurley was elected chairman of the board of commissioners. The main official thing on the agenda is the discussion of alternatives to the Forest Ridge High site.

But that's just one of the things to watch for today.

Questioning why students aren't taking Algebra I

Has the Wake County school system been deliberately not offering some students access to Algebra I in middle schools to boost test scores?

That's the charge made by Tony Gurley, chairman of the board of commissioners, in today's article. It came after commissioners got a presentation Monday about the SAS EVAAS report.

Much of the discussion Monday focused on how the report found that half the  Algebra I ready student in Wake were not taking the course in middle school.

Commissioners to hear SAS report today

Wake County commissioners will tackle today the findings of the SAS EVAAS report that raised questioned about the performance of minority students in the school system.

William Sanders, senior director of the EVAAS K-12 division, will discuss the SAS EVAAS report that became a last-minute issue in the school board election. The presentation, which was originally supposed to take place in November, is scheduled to be given at today's work session.

Tony Gurley, the Republican chairman of the commissioners, has been the one pushing for the commissioners to hear the presentation. Some of the Democratic commissioners have complained about why their board is discussing the report.

The Stan Norwalk Quarter

How many times will County Commissioners Chairman Tony Gurley gavel Commission Stan Norwalk out of order today?

Gurley, a Republican, and Norwalk, a Democrat, have been going at each other since Norwalk was elected in 2008. For instance last month, Gurley accused Norwalk of using his diabetes as a political ploy to stall for more time so that Democrat Betty Lou Ward could be elected vice chairwoman.

Gurley said he and fellow Republican Commissioner Paul Coble even came up with a special "Stan Norwalk Quarter" last year when Democrat Harold Webb was chairman.

School issues in next year's races for county commissioner

Wake County school issues and next year's county commissioners' races are about to be inextricably linked.

Joe Ciulla, a leader of the Wake Schools Community Alliance, said the group plans to be involved in next year's election to back commissioners who will help the new school board majority carry out its campaign pledges. The WSCA helped elect all four new school board members this year.

Jack Nichols, chairman of the Wake County Democratic Party, said he's also expecting the school system to be a major part of next year's commissioners' races. 

PPP not yet releasing school poll results

We're getting partial poll results from Public Policy Polling.

The Democratic polling firm released survey results Thursday indicating the public isn't happy with how Republicans elected Tony Gurley to be the new chairman of the Wake County board of commissioners.

But PPP didn't release results from that same poll about questions they had asked about the Wake County school system.

Cancelling today's joint meeting

I hope no one was planning on attending today's joint meeting of the Wake County school board and county commissioners.

School board chairman Ron Margiotta had rescheduled the meeting after former chairman Kevin Hill had cancelled it. But Margiotta said he cancelled it again because of all the uncertainty on the board of commissioners following last week's vote for chairman.

The potty break that allowed the GOP to elect Tony Gurley as the new chairman came up indirectly during the school board meeting. Margiotta drew laughs from the crowd after he joked that he had called for a recess to avoid a repeat of what happened with the commissioners.

Wake commissioners: shameful, disgusting and mean

We've gotten more letters this week about the Wake County Board of Commissioners' vote for chairman than we can print. Here are seven. Find more in The People's Forum on tomorrow's editorial page.

Relations between the school board and county commissioners

Tony Gurley's election as chairman of the Wake County board of commissioners may not provide as much help to the new school board majority as it seems.

As noted in today's article by Thomas Goldsmith, Democrats point out they still hold a majority on the commissioners. Democratic County Commissioner Stan Norwalk said the new school board members should keep in mind that commissioners have to sign off on school funding requests, including any new construction resulting from a neighborhood school policy.

"If they want neighborhood schools, they have nothing to do with that," Norwalk said in the article. "Since the 1970s, we have been building a countywide system. You can't snap your fingers and say you are going to a neighborhood system."

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