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RWCA leader criticizes diversity policy

Dan Coleman, president of the Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association, is speaking out against the old Wake County socioeconomic diversity policy.

As noted in today's article, Coleman's public criticism of the diversity policy is putting him at odds with the rest of the leadership of the local African American community. But Coleman said the test data shows that the diversity policy hasn't helped Southeast Raleigh students.

The passing rate on state reading exams for Southeast Raleigh students was 46.7 percent in elementary schools and 48.6 percent in middle schools. None of the other zones in the plan being considered by the board had passing rates below 60 percent.

Moving Wake to the "desired state" for helping economically disadvantaged students

The focus now switches from gathering information to discussing action steps for the Wake County school board's economically disadvantaged student performance task force.

The first three meetings of the task force have largely consisted of hearing presentations about different things going on in the district. But for today's agenda, the task force will focus on discussing what the "desired state" should be for serving Wake's economically disadvantaged students.

School board to vote on changing definition of long-term suspensions

Critics of the Wake County school system's student suspension policies are poised to get a win today.

School administrators will ask the school board today to change the definition of a long-term suspension to mean anything longer than 10 days to the rest of the school year. Currently, a long-term suspension means you're out for the rest of the school year with no exceptions.

Principals would have discretion, except where state law has a mandatory penalty, to determine whether to allow the student back before the end of the school year. Wake issues more than 1,000 long-term suspensions each school year.


Increasing placement in advanced math classes in middle school

I'll go into more detail later, but here's a quick update on Wake County's efforts to increase participation in advanced math classes in middle school.

Ken Branch, senior director for middle school programs, said there's been an increase in seventh-graders taking Pre-Algebra and eighth-graders taking Algebra I since this set of revised middle school math placement criteria was implemented in the spring. The new criteria came after last year's SAS EVAAS report indicated many Algebra I ready kids in Wake, particularly minorities, weren't being placed.

But several questions were asked at Thursday's economically disadvantaged student performance task force meeting about why teachers are still not letting some students into these advanced courses.

Finding common ground on reducing student suspensions

At a time when school diversity seems to be dividing the community and Wake County school board, it looks like reducing student suspensions is one thing that people can agree upon.

As noted in today's article, the school board's economically disadvantaged student performance task force was receptive to most of the recommendations on Thursday for reducing the number and length of suspensions. Things such as reducing the length of long-term suspensions and finding more alternatives to suspensions got a favorable response.

“I think as a community we need to find the ties that bind us instead of those that separate us,” said school board member John Tedesco, chairman of the ED task force. “This is one of the ties that binds us.”


See end of post for links to Langberg's presentation and his report. Changed the link for the PDF for the presentation to reflect what was shown to the task force.

Agenda for economically disadvantaged student task force meeting

The Wake County school board's economically disadvantaged student performance task force will look at a variety of topics today.

Today's meeting agenda includes a discussion of the school-to-prison pipeline, an update on math placement guidelines and an overview of the "Collaborative Partnership for Excellence in Youth Development."

The task force is also scheduled to resume discussion of identifying and overcoming obstacles that are keeping ED students from succeeding.

The meeting is from 4-6 p.m. at Smith Elementary School, 1101 Maxwell Drive  in Garner.

First meeting of the economically disadvantaged student performance task force

The Wake County school board's economically disadvantaged student performance task force will hold its first meeting this evening.

John Tedesco, the chairman of the task force, said the goal of the group is  to see what the school system and community can do to help disadvantaged students. He said they need to build up "community will" to accomplish this task.

Tedesco said the school system can do some things like look at whether zero tolerance discipline policies need to be changed and if teachers need more cultural training.

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