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Wake Education Partnership and chambers of commerce sponsoring school board candidate debates

The Wake Education Partnership and local chambers of commerce announced today that they are teaming up to sponsor candidate debates for this fall's hotly contested school board races.

The forums will be held:
* District 1 — Sept. 10, 7 p.m. at Wake Technical Community College's Northern Campus, 6600 Louisburg Road, Raleigh.
* District 2 — Sept. 1, 7 p.m. at Wake Technical Community College's Main Campus, 9101 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh.
* District 7 — Sept. 22, 8 a.m. at the Morrisville Chamber of Commerce, 260 Town Hall Drive.
* District 9 — Sept. 9, noon at the Cary Chamber of Commerce, 307 N. Academy Street.

Three of the forums will last 90 minutes. The District 2 forum will run for two hours because of the large number of candidates.

The Wake Education Partnership, an advocacy group for public education, will develop the questions and moderate the events. The forums are open to the public.

1249402635 Wake Education Partnership and chambers of commerce sponsoring school board candidate debates The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Rakestraw on diversity and folk music

It's pretty clear from Rita Rakestraw's campaign kickoff event that she really likes the diversity policy and folk music.

Rakestraw told the crowd on Thursday that a main part of her platform for the school board is protecting the diversity policy. She later ended the event by pulling out a guitar and playing a pair of folk tunes.

"I want to make sure all our schools are socioeconomicially diverse," Rakestraw said. "That is really important. In terms of academic achievement, diversity is what we need."

Seeing how far students live from school

Will a new school district analysis of how far students live from school quiet criticism over the busing program?

As noted in today's article, the new report found that 86 percent of students are assigned to schools within 5 miles of their home and it's up to 99 percent when you increase the distance to 10 miles from home.

Supporters of the district are hailing the report as proof that busing complaints are overstated.

Selling the public on a "world-class education"

The Wake Education Partnership's new report calling for an overhaul of the education system to provide students a "world-class education" is now officially out.

But the question is whether the group can sell the findings to the public to bring about the sweeping recommendations included in the report.

Will it succeed or will it end up on the wayside like the group's highly touted school funding proposal?

Wake Education Partnership's vision for a world class education in Wake

How much are you willing to "suspend disbelief" about the kind of world class education that should be provided in Wake County's schools.

"Suspending Disbelief" is the title of a new report that will be officially released next week by the Wake Education Partnership on what it would take for the Wake school system to offer a "world class education."

Ann Denlinger, president of the Wake Education Partnership, gave a sneak peek of the report at the WakeUP Wake County forum earlier this month.

Wake tops other urban districts in UNC system performance

The tune from Wake is a lot more upbeat about the latest report coming from Queens University of Charlotte.

As noted in today's article, the report found that Wake's high school graduates outperformed those from Durham, Charlotte, Forysth and Guilford when it comes to academic performance in the UNC system. The Wake students also had the higher UNC graduation rate of the group.

For at least some people in Wake, the report lends new validity to their belief that the district's diversity policy is superior to the neighborhood school approach used in Charlotte.

UPDATE

Click here for the Charlotte Observer article on the study.

Wake's 20-mile school assignments

So Wake is saying that no one is assigned to a school 20 miles from home.

"I don't know of a single child assigned to a school 20 miles away — not one," said Asst. Supt. Chuck Dulaney in the latest issue of In Context, the weekly newsletter of the Wake Education Partnership.

That sure would come as a surprise to some folks. For instance, nodes 51.0 and 444.4.

Scholars on Wake's diversity policy

In case you missed it, today's Sunday Forum includes some Q&As on Wake's diversity policy in advance of this week's UNC Center for Civil Rights conference on school resegregation.

As the articles note, Wake enjoys a national reputation for its diversity policy. Eric Houck, one of the presenters at this week's conference and former research director for the Wake Education Partnership, said in his interview that he's surprised more local people don't recognize Wake's reputation.

"One thing people in Wake County may not realize is just what kind of reputation Wake has nationally as an innovator and as a high-performing school district," Houck said in the Q&A with Rob Waters. "I'm surprised at how little weight that reputation seems to carry in your internal discussions."

Talking about Wake's diversity policy

Wake's diversity policy will get a lot of attention next week.

Three separate events will focus sympathetically on Wake's socioeconomic diversity efforts. The first will be Wednesday, when the Coalition of Concerned Citizens For African American Children holds a forum entitled "Understanding the Need for Socioeconomic and Racial Diversity."

"We call on citizens, parents, educators who care about the welfare of all students to please come out to the April 1st meeting in support of the WCPSS Diversity policy that is designed to provide the best possible learning environment to all Wake County students," according to the coalition's press release. "Join us to learn how racial/economic diversity will impact our election of WCSPSS School Board Members in October."

Today's education meetings

You guys have a couple of different choices today if you want to hear about school issues.

At noon, the Wake Education Partnership will hold a meeting on interlocal agreements and school funding. At 6 p.m, the Wake Schools Community Alliance will meet with a different perspective on the issues.

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