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Newsweek finds "weak" connection between Tea Party and Wake County school board

Newsweek is questioning the strength of the ties that The Washington Post pointed to between the Wake County school board and the Tea Party.

In a blog post Friday, Ben Adler, national editor of Newsweek.com, says the connection that the Post pointed to in its front-page article on Jan. 12 were "tenuous" and "weak." Liberals have picked up on the Post article to accuse the Tea Party movement of trying to resegregate the Wake school system.

"But was the school board really 'backed by the national Tea Party'?," Adler writes. "No, the national Tea Party movement doesn’t normally get involved in races for school board."

Guessing what the crowd will talking about at the reassignment hearings

Will tonight's reassignment public hearing at Southeast Raleigh High School turn into a session on all the recent national coverage about Wake County schoolst?

Last week's hearing at Millbrook High School drew a lot of walk-in speakers who focused on the accreditation fight. The crowd chanted during the hearing to "save our accreditation."

Tonight we've got 31 speakers signed up for Southeast Raleigh. How many of  those people and the walk-in speakers will talk about Stephen Colbert, the Washington Post article and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan's letter?

UPDATE

The Great Schools in Wake Coalition is handing out No School Disintegration buttons at tonight's Southeast Raleigh High hearing, a play on "The Colbert Report" segment. The button consists of the words School Disintegration with a slash mark running through them. Among the people sporting them is school board member Anne McLaurin.

On her way into the meeting, board vice chairwoman Debra Goldman left copies of her AdvancED statement at the sign-in counter saying it might ease concerns of some of the speakers. She later received some cheers from the crowd when she stepped on the stage in the auditorium.

Chris Malone and Terry Stoops respond to The Colbert Report

There's starting to be some backlash now against Stephen Colbert for his satirical mocking of the Wake County school board for ending the diversity policy.

School board member Chris Malone said Colbert ignored the poor academic scores and graduation rates for low-income and minority students under the old diversity policy. Colbert had called the old model "an out of control success story."

Malone, while calling Tuesday’s "Colbert Report " segment "hysterical,” said he doubted it would have much long-term impact on public opinion.

John Tedesco defends school board on Fox Business Network

Wake County school board member John Tedesco was on the Fox Business Network today defending the elimination of the diversity policy amid all the recent national media attention.

In this interview on "The Wiilis Report," Tedesco attacked the old diversity policy on financial and academic grounds. Tedesco, who was the only person interviewed for the report, also expressed his disappointment at U.S. Secretary Education Arne Duncan's recent criticism of Wake.

Tedesco also criticized last week's Washington Post article on Wake and denied that the school changes in the district were the result of a Tea Party takeover.

Fallout over Arne Duncan's criticism of Wake County schools

The National Review and The Independent are both commenting, with predictably different takes, on U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan's criticism of Wake County schools.

In a post this morning on the conservative National Review Online, Roger Clegg says Duncan has committed "three strikes" in his Washington Post letter criticizing Wake's elimination of the diversity policy.

Clegg says "strike one" is that it shows that Duncan has "prejudged" the NAACP complaint that the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights is investigating against Wake.

UPDATE

Wake County school board member John Tedesco said he was disappointed in both Duncan's criticism of the school system and in Wednesday's article in The Washington Post. Tedesco said he still considers himself to be a fan of Duncan's education reform efforts, such as merit pay for teachers and community schools.

"I'm disappointed because I'm so highly supportive of him," Tedesco said. "I'm disappointed that he didn't reach out to us before making comments based on a skewed media report."

New Wake County Superintendent Anthony Tata said he was surprised to see Duncan express an opinion on such a local issue.

More talk about the Tea Party taking over Wake County schools

The idea of the Tea Party having taken over the Wake County school system is spreading rapidly on the Internet after the publication of Wednesday's Washington Post article.

Numerous news stories, blog posts and opinion pieces have used the Post piece as their source for talking about how the Tea Party has scrapped integration in Wake County's schools.

One of the latest examples is a blog post today in The Economist, where R.A., a correspondent decries the end of Wake's diversity policy. R.A. mentions that he used to be a magnet student in Wake.

Accusing The Washington Post of bias in article on Wake County schools

A conservative website has given a pretty harsh review of Wednesday's Washington Post article on the Wake County school diversity fight.

In a a blog post Wednesday, Newsbusters managing editor Ken Shepherd argues that the Post article unfairly paints Tea Party conservatives in North Carolina as being opposed to racial integration and diversity in Wake. Newsbusters is a project of the Media Research Center, which describes its mission as exposing liberal bias in the news media.

"In truth the Wake County, North Carolina, school board is simply moving to reverse decades of busing that shuttled some students to schools farther away from their homes in an effort to artificially engineer the socioeconomic and racial diversity of the county's individual schools," Shepherd writes.

Washington Post on the Tea Party and Wake County schools

The Wake County school diversity fight has made today's front page of The Washington Post.

Today's article in The Washington Post paints the situation in Wake as an effort by the Tea Party to back school board members who have "abolished the policy behind one of the nation's most celebrated integration efforts."

"The situation unfolding here in some ways represents a first foray of tea party conservatives into the business of shaping a public school system, and it has made Wake County the center of a fierce debate over the principle first enshrined in the Supreme Court's 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education: that diversity and quality education go hand in hand," according to the article.

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.

Washington Post checking up on Wake County schools

The Washington Post could soon join the list of national media organizations writing about the Wake County school diversity fight.

A Washington Post reporter was in attendance at Thursday's economically disadvantaged student performance task force meeting.

School board member John Tedesco said he had a lengthy discussion with the reporter on everything from student assignment to his involvement with the Tea Party and the allegations that Art Pope has been directing the board's actions.

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