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Wake County school board says it's unnecessary to make student achievement a guiding principle for magnet schools

Is it redundant or unfair to make student achievement as part of the guiding principles of Wake County's magnet school program?

As noted in today's article, a bipartisan group of board members rejected Wednesday including student achievement in the guiding principles. Only school board member Keith Sutton voted for its inclusion while board members John Tedesco and Deborah Prickett were absent.

The proposal on the table was to amend the current first guiding principle to say that magnets "reduce high concentrations of poverty, support diverse populations and increase student achievement."

1347245942 Wake County school board says it's unnecessary to make student achievement a guiding principle for magnet schools The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wake County school board rejects including student achievement in magnet school principles

More to come later, but the Wake County school board voted today against making student achievement one of the principles of the magnet school program.

Democrats Kevin Hill, Jim Martin, Susan Evans and Christine Kushner were joined by Republicans Chris Malone and Debra Goldman in not supporting its inclusion. They argued that student achievement is already part of the system's mission statement and that it's unnecessary to add the wording just for magnets.

Only Democrat Keith Sutton voted for including it in the principles.

The board preliminarily agreed to keep the principles of expanding educational opportunities and maximizing use of school facilities. No decision was made on the principle of keeping schools diverse after Goldman objected to having the vote without all the board members present or getting public feedback first.

1339632777 Wake County school board rejects including student achievement in magnet school principles The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wake County school board to vote today on guiding principles for magnet school program

It's back to the magnet school review today as the Wake County school board holds the next work session on the topic.

The board will get answers to questions raised at the last work session and potentially have more sparring about the achievement gap at magnet schools. The board will also try to come to an agreement on the guiding principles for the magnet program.

The three current guiding magnet principles are reduce high concentrations of poverty and support diverse populations, maximize use of school facilities and provide expanded educational opportunities. A fourth principle of promoting student achievement has support for inclusion from some board members.

As with the last magnet work session, today's meeting will not be held in the board conference room. Instead, go to Room 1400A at Crossroads II, 110 Corning Road in Cary, from 2 to 5 p.m.

UPDATE

The handouts for today's work session are now online. Click here to view them. Click here for the material from the May 30 work session.

None of the Republican board mebmers were present at the start of the meeting. All five Democratic members are present.

Board member Chris Malone arrived at 2:55 p.m.  Debra Goldman has also arrived.

Wake County school board debates how long to extend school waiting lists

Was the Wake County school board's decision to only extend the dissolution of first-choice wait lists to July 18 the right call?

Some school board members talked last week about extending the deadline even further for all students, or least for those in high schools. But staff cited the need to lock in a date for schools to have their enrollment figures and to be fair to newcomers who will be moving in over the summer.

The waiting lists were going to expire on June 29. But after parents lobbied for more time to get into their first-choice school, the board told staff to look at a later date.

Speakers defend Wake County magnet schools and criticize new student assignment plan

Former Wake County school board member Beverley Clark wasn't the only speaker firing bombs at Tuesday's school board meeting.

As noted in today's article, critics of the new choice-based student assignment plan and supporters of magnet schools made up much of the turnout for public comment. Several speakers urged the board to make major changes to the new assignment plan.

Speakers also defended the magnet school program, downplaying the data indicating they have larger achievement gaps than non-magnet schools. They also denied that magnets were schools within a school as terms such as "social justice" and "diversity" were often mentioned.

Former school board member Beverley Clark attacks Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata

The Middle Creek Elementary bell schedule change, the new student assignment plan and the magnet school review make up most of the topics for the 22 speakers at tonight's Wake County school board meeting.

Former school board member Beverley Clark went right after Superintendent Tony Tata during her three minutes. She charged that teachers and principals say that Tata has created a "culture of fear and intimidation" and is only "paying lip service" to listening to teachers and principals.

Clark also charged that Tata has created an assignment plan that says "let's only teach the ones who mater." She said that group consists of families who apply to "esoteric academies" or who spend hours researching where to go.

Clark also urged the school board not to separate behavior from academic grade.

Looking at the impact of the new student assignment plan on Eastern Wake County

What lessons should be taken from the way Eastern Wake County parents responded to the new student assignment plan this year?

As noted in today's article by Paul A. Specht, data analyzed by the Eastern Wake News indicated that about 11 percent of the student population in Knightdale, Wendell, and Zebulon participated in the first two rounds of the school choice process (about 990 of 9,070 students)

Approximately 67 percent of the students from eastern Wake who participated in the choice plan picked schools outside of the region as their top choice (670 students listed a non-regional school as their top choice, while 319 students listed a local school as their top choice).

Wake County Schools Superintendent Tony Tata on state budget, magnet review and other issues

Wake County Schools Superintendent Tony Tata gave hopeful messages today about the state budget and the magnet school review during his news conference.

Tata said Wake has been "working very hard" with the General Assembly on the budget. Tata said he's hopeful of what he believes will be a good budget discussion over the next several weeks with legislators to hopefully lessen the impact of lost federal stimulus funds.

Tata said he's been talking to state legislators since January to articulate the school district's budget needs.

1347246114 Wake County Schools Superintendent Tony Tata on state budget, magnet review and other issues The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Calla Wright charging that Wake County school board vice chairman Keith Sutton has "sold us out"

Calla Wright, president of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African American Children, is accusing Wake County school board vice chairman Keith Sutton of selling out and says he should be voted out.

Sutton's offense, according to an email sent Thursday by Wright to the CCCAAC listserv, is that "he is so consumed with Western Wake County." She also copied the message to Yevonne Brannon, chairwoman of the Great Schools in Wake Coalition, and state NAACP President the Rev. William Barber.

"Rev. Barber needs to know that Keith Sutton has sold us OUT!" Wright writes. "Will we vote Sutton out of office since he is so consumed with Western Wake County? I cannot believe he ran as a democrat and perhaps he needs to change his party affiliation! I am sure ALLISON BACKHOUSE will vote for him!  How much is he being paid??"

1338565681 Calla Wright charging that Wake County school board vice chairman Keith Sutton has "sold us out" The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Looking at how well Wake County magnet schools fulfill their guiding principles

The impact of the new student assignment plan on Wake County's magnet schools and potentially adding more magnet programs to Eastern Wake are just some of the issues that have been put on staff's plate.

Wednesday's school board discussion on how well magnet schools are meeting their current objectives produced a number of comments and requests for more information from staff.

The information could help shape which schools get magnet programs.

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