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Arguing about going into closed session to discuss AdvancED

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The opening of today's AdvancED accreditation discussion turned into barb trading between Wake County school board members Ron Margiotta and Debra Goldman with each accusing the other of being "condescending."

Today's meeting, which is now in closed session, opened with a 5-2 vote to reject the agenda. Goldman voted with the Democrats.

Goldman's explanation was that as board vice chair she should have been consulted beforehand by Margiotta, the board chair, about what the closed session would be about. She objected to the agenda only saying going into closed session to protect attorney-client privilege.

School board attorney Ann Majestic said they were going into closed session to discuss the board's legal relationship with AdvancED. Margiotta added that there's the possibility the accreditation review could in time result in legal suits.

School board member Keith Sutton said it would be helpful to lay out the plan for what will be discussed in closed session.

Margiotta said he intended a very brief closed session

School board attorney Jonathan Blumberg added that they would also discus the investigation by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.

Sutton asked if they could keep the OCR and AdvancED discussions separate.  School board member John Tedesco chimed in that they're not as separate as they appear.

Goldman said it would be very helpful to know what they were coming in to discuss. This prompted Margiotta to respond that claiming not to know the purpose of the closed session is a "little difficult to understand" considering that the agenda includes a public hearing and possible vote on AdvancED.

Goldman pointed to how the board agenda doesn't specify what the closed session topics will be about. But Margiotta said Goldman should be able to figure out what it will be about.

"Your condescending comments are not appreciated," Goldman told Margiotta.

"Your condescending comments are not appreciated either," Margiotta fired back at her.

Goldman, who made a motion to discuss AdvancED in open session, was seconded by board member Anne McLaurin.

Sutton said he would be okay going into closed session if they would get information from the attorneys that would help them make their decision.

An annoyed Margiotta said they might as well discuss OCR in open session as well, prompting Goldman to point out that she had only mentioned discussing AdvancED in public.

School board member Carolyn Morrison asked why the public couldn't hear the discussion since they're the ones who are paying the lawyers.

Majestic said the closed-session discussion would be "very narrow."

Sutton said he respectfully asks Goldman to drop the motion. Margiotta added that the board discussion about AdvancED would be in public as well after the public hearing and before the vote.

The alternate motion from Goldman, which was unanimously passed, said they'd go into closed session to discuss AdvancED and the OCR complaint.

Tedesco couldn't resist getting in the last word after the vote.

"It’s what we were going to do in the first place," Tedesco said.

Only one person, Diana Young-Paiva, has signed up for public comment.

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Woodstock: You're asking

Woodstock:

You're asking me? You brought it up, so you must want to.

I thought you used to support the new BoE members, so your attacks on Margiotta seem petty and personal. He's been a committed warrior in this fight for our schools and we should all be thankful for it... I certainly am and so are many others. If he does not do everything exactly they way you would, so what? You don't seem to be seeing the forest for the trees. Goldman is the problem. She alone is the reason the BoE is not further down the road to the kind of change the voters asked for... and she is going to be the problem no matter who is sitting in the chairman's seat. She'd piss off Gandhi.

Fine, I'll make it simple.  I support neighborhood school assignments and individual school accountability.  This is about educating children, not loyalty to a certain school board members.  If Kevin Hill got religion tomorrow and dedicated himself to neighborhood schools, I'd be right behind him.

Margiotta did a good job keeping the flame of hope alive when he was in the minority.  As chairman, he was handed a 5-4 majority but couldn't deliver results.  Yes, I know Goldman has issues.  Maybe if Margiotta hadn't been such a hammerhead he could have picked up some support for local moves from other minority board members.  A smart politician knows how to work with the minority faction, negotiate, and move forward on the major objectives. 

I see the forest just fine.  Goldman has clearly gone off to netherland.  Margiotta's job is to find that fifth vote from someone else; In matters related to his own district he will never get it from Goldman.  Does Wake County really need to give him a sixth vote to get the ball rolling?

Again, this is pretty simple:  Margiotta can continue to whine about Goldman on WPTF while the families in his district and the rest of the county continue to get screwed, or he can find a way to move us forward.  Any simpleton can rule by blunt force, it takes a skilled leader to deliver results through the art of negotiation.

I hope Mr. Tata can get this board back on track.  FWIW, I think many people have grown tired of the Goldman vs. Margiotta ego battle, especially  in both of their districts.

You miss the big picture

You miss the big picture entirely if you are blaming Goldman's irrational antics on anyone... well other than the folks pulling her strings.

Seriously?

School board member Carolyn Morrison asked why the public couldn't hear the discussion since they're the ones who are paying the lawyers. 

 

When a lawyer is present at a closed session, it's permissable under one of the listed exception for holding the meeting closed from the public. Further, the lawyer would not be present and being paid to hear about assignment issues or anything that did not require legal counsel.

Considering the NAACP has a lawsuit against the school board ongoing, it should not take rocket science to determine why a closed session was being called with the lawyer present.

And quite frankly, if Ms. Morrison bothered to pay attention in the closed session, if she understood the States Open Meetings Law, she could be the first to jump up and vote to reopen the meeting to the public if it was in violation.

 

But that would require her understanding the law she questions. 

Morrison was not saying that

Morrison was not saying that it was not permissable to go into closed session or that it would be a violation of the open meetings law.  She was just saying she thought the public deserved to hear the discussion, about AdvancEd in particular. 

Her husband is a judge (as mentioned below) and does advise her on legal issues.  She definitely understands the open meetings law and is not questioning it.  Just because you have the right to attorney-client privilege dosen't mean you have to take advantage of it if you think the public should be allowed to know where the board members stand on an issue.  I don't think that, or her comments about Tata, make her seem "out there".

?

That's a lot of inside information. How do you know that he advises her?

Assuming he did, he should have also counseled her that it's generally a very bad idea to waive that privilege, especially when there are ongoing legal proceedings.  Nobody wants their own lawyer to be called as a witness against them. 

The public knows where board members stand on issues, because the board votes are still open -- closing the meeting is only for the purpose of consulting with the attorney.

Okay, I'm guessing he

Okay, I'm guessing he advises her.  Don't you advise Mrs. Sconce?

I think it's clear that Morrison wants their discussions to be as transparent as possible, based on her past comments as well as on this issue.  The AdvancEd investigation is not a legal matter at this time.  Seems to me the board members who didn't want to cooperate and who want to have those discussions behind closed doors have something to hide.  I believe they are very well aware that they have not followed board policies, especially at that first meeting.  They also did not follow the spirit of the open meetings law prior to being sworn in, even if it wasn't technically illegal. The investigation will determine whether they are acting in the best interests of the system -- and the voters.

Lawyers have areas of

Lawyers have areas of specialization, just like doctors.  Would you go to a proctologist about a hangnail?  Mrs. Curmudgeon is an attorney; If I have a question about law she might offer an opinion, but on important matters she would encourage bringing in a specialized attorney.  Does Mr. Morrison preside over a court that regularly makes rulings on open meetings law or school board matters?  Talking it over with him is fine, but if she is making decisions based on his advice instead of the board's own attorney then she is not doing right by our county.

As a matter of fact, he

As a matter of fact, he does.  Judge Fred Morrison is a Senior Administrative Law judge.

The investigation will

The investigation will determine whether they are acting in the best interests of the system -- and the voters.

It won't determine anything of the sort. It is nothing more than a witch hunt. In time -- sooner rather than later -- that will become apparent even to you.

So...

As to my advising Mrs. Sconce, I find that her advice is far more valuable than mine.

I dislike the implication in your last sentence that AdvanceEd is a better judge of the district's best interests better than the elected board members.  However, based on my reading of other reviews they've done, I suspect they think of themselves that way.

The accreditation issue *is* a legal issue.  First, the entire thing hinges on the propriety of board governance, which clearly has legal implcations.  Secondly, it overlaps with the OCR investigation.  Third, AdvanceEd's overreaching calls into question whether they are in breach of their agreement with WCPSS.

I definitely believe the

I definitely believe the professionals at AdvancEd are a better judge of the district's best interests than elected board members who were not required to have any knowledge or expertise, and were only elected because parents were upset by decisions which the old board had been forced to make because of massive growth and gross underfunding.  Two of the new members had not even lived in our community for five years before being elected and they, in particular, would not have the understanding that an agency which had been accrediting our schools for decades would have.  The four new members did not even take the time to learn board policies or how to govern before throwing everything into chaos.  I wish NC would adopt the law that conservative governor Sonny Perdue of Georgia signed into law.  An excerpt from The News Herald in Burke County:

Then Georgia’s 10th-largest district lost accreditation because its school board couldn’t meet nationally recognized standards for educational governance. 
As a direct result, Georgia’s legislature in 2010 passed the nation’s most-stringent law regulating public school boards.
“The General Assembly finds that local boards of education play a critical role in setting the policies that lead to the operation and success of local school systems,” the Georgia law states. “...And although there are many measures of the success of a local board of education, one is clearly essential: maintaining accreditation...."
The law gives Georgia’s governor explicit power to suspend or remove school board members, and to appoint temporary or permanent replacements, if an accreditation commission puts a Georgia school on probation, let alone giving it notice of  impending loss of accreditation.
Some other states give governors the power to remove or replace school board members for other reasons, but Georgia is the first to tie the governor’s power to keeping a school accredited. 

So..

You may think that AdvanceEd would do a better job.  But, supposing that you're right, do you want to live in a system where democracy is overruled by a band of itinerant technocrats?

In a month or two, the Board will take up something about as far from AdvanceEd's rightful concerns as is possible for it to get: redistricting.  By design, this is unequivocally a political process. Will votes of board members, made (again, by design) for entirely political reasons, be reviewed by AdvanceEd?

I hope not.  It's conceivable that AdvanceEd would do a "better" job than the board (using whatever criteria you want to use to define "better.")  But, I want to live where my neighbors and I have more power than some group which claims to know what's better for us than we do.

Again, AdvancEd is NOT

Again, AdvancEd is NOT trying to tell us what is better for us.  They are trying to make sure the board is governing properly.  And if the elected members are not governing in a proper way, which would be following their own (not AdvancED's) policies and procedures and treating each other respectfully, I believe most voters would prefer that there be a mechanism to get them out of office, with the proper checks and balances, of course, as laid out in the Georgia law.  One of the things AdvancEd is trying to make sure of is that the board is living up to its responsibilities to the citizens.  I, as a voter and a citizen, am glad that someone is able to investigate when there are complaints about possible irregularities and let us know if that is happening before the entire system is destroyed by inept board members.

Are you kidding? "What's

Are you kidding? "What's proper," that is what you think that organization from GA is for?  That is entirely a subjective area and the responsibility of voters to determine.

And, here is the big question: What the hell does any of what they are doing have to do with the accreditation of individual high schools in Wake County... you know, what they are contracted to do?

Well...

So, recognize that I was responding to your comment that AdvanceEd does know better than the board. 

One of the things AdvancEd is trying to make sure of is that the board is living up to its responsibilities to the citizens.

Huh?  I don't see *that* among the accreditation standards at all.

AdvanceEd accredits only our high schools, not the district as a whole.  As a result, there are things which would be proper inquiries in accredited districts, but are improper in districts were only schools are accredited.  For example, one of the district accreditation standards talks about orientation and training of the governing board (this omitted from the school standards).  Similarly, only district accreditation requires addressing community expectations.  To the extent that AdvanceEd is actually trying to make the board live "up to its responsibilities ot the citizens," it's overstepping its proper authority.

There is a mechanism for getting them out of office -- the General Assembly can boot them out anytime it feels like it.

...

"I believe most voters would prefer that there be a mechanism to get them out of office..."

Thanks for being real. You don't care one hoot about following policy and procedures. All you want is to get rid of the "inept board members". I hope you shared that with AdvancED too.

right

I call bullcrap - AdvancEd took the NAACP letter verbatim and forwarded it.  There were questions about hiring of a lawyer, designating Civitas as a training option,  and whether the new assignment policy was in the students' best interest.  Mr. Sconce is much more elegant in his explanation - but the initial letter questioned the actual decisions, not how they were made.  Lately Mr. Elgart has been backpedaling a bit on this.  BTW, how do they choose which community groups will be interviewed?  Do you think they'll come to North Raleigh?   This whole thing stinks to high heaven.

You also believe that you

You also believe that you know better about what's good for our schools than the majority of citizens who voted last time.  No, the citizens did not vote for some of the bad behavior that the board has exhibited, they did vote for neighborhood schools.  In this instance, AdvanceEd is usurping the authority of those voters, and you're willing to support that.

Let me paint you a scenario, using the popular bogeyman Art Pope.  Imagine that at least one of the four pro-busing candidates had won in 2009.  Art Pope doesn't like the outcome, so he files a complaint with AdvancEd.  In his complaint, he challenges our accreditation because of all the behaviors the current board has exhibited.  Further, the Pope makes is clear that what he really wants is neighborhood schools.  He has already brought in paid protestors and trained others.  He has encouraged those who want neighborhood schools to obstruct meetings and get arrested.  AdvancEd helicopters in with a list of investigation items that mirrors Pope's complaint, and threatens us with our accreditation unless we play ball.  How good are you going to feel about that review?

If after the audit there are

If after the audit there are unreasonable demands to blackmail the system to do something than consider going unaccredited.   None of that has happened here.  Because of pride, the BOE doesn't want to play ball and wants to use our children as pawns to make some neocon statement about the limits of what accreditation groups can ask.

Who is using our children as pawns?

Isn't it the NAACP and other organizations like the one you belong to user. Sorta like human shields.

sorry don't see it ... audit

sorry don't see it ... audit company does a review and customer won't cooperate ... very suspicious ... I welcome audits ... again and again ... I just hope they spend as much angst on the 10% budget cut as they spent on avoiding this audit.

Wrong analogy

Here's a better one:  Proctologist comes to you to conduct an intensive "exam" because one of your enemies said you haven't been eating your fiber.  I'll let you fill it in from there.

I've been hearing that, as long as the budget cut is only 5% (which may happen), there is some money left over from the current year to plug most of it.  It's still a huge issue, but I don't think it's the nightmare scenario that we've all heard.
 

You're missing the point. 

You're missing the point.  It's not WHAT they did or the decisions they made, it's HOW they did it, not following policy.  Obviously AdvancEd does not care about which assignment plan we use.  They praised CMS highly last fall, and did not say a word about how they assign students by neighborhood.  It is all about the bad behavior you spoke of.  And I would have no problem at all if Art Pope had made a complaint and AdvancEd decided to investigate if I was sure that policies and proper procedures had been followed.  I would know that the agency was NOT trying to determine which decision should have been made, but HOW it had been made, and I would be proud (as JT finally said) to open everything to them to prove I had not done anything wrong and was governing properly.

And yes I do feel like I know better than the majority of voters in the last election, most of whom had just moved here, contributing to the problems we were having with growth and wanting schools like they had back home (but most not willing to pay the taxes they paid back home), not appreciating or understanding what we had built here, and why the growth and underfunding was responsible for the unpopular reassignments and MYR.  No, we weren't perfect, but the solution would have been adequate funding to keep up with the growth, not dismantling the diversity policy.

And yes I do feel like I

And yes I do feel like I know better than the majority of voters in the last election, most of whom had just moved here, contributing to the problems we were having with growth and wanting schools like they had back home (but most not willing to pay the taxes they paid back home), not appreciating or understanding what we had built here, and why the growth and underfunding was responsible for the unpopular reassignments and MYR.

Oh Virginia, you had to realize that a comment like that would not go over well, didn't you? BTW, have been here 20+ years

You want to know what I think Virginia -- you've been living in a little shell the last 20 years, listending to the claims of "one of the best school districts in the nation," a claim that was repeated so often, no one in your little shell ever thought to question it. Meanwhile, outside of your little shell, the rage has been building by those of us that were used as pawns in this "shell game," a rage that that had been brewing for 15 years, a rage that finally culminated in a rejection of the status quo at the ballot box. I don't profess to know more than you, but you really should make an attempt to peek outside your inner sanctum.

Jeffery ... people don't

Jeffery ... people don't change color each year ... if the reassignments are to frequent than that means the central office has too much time on their hands ...

In English, please.

In English, please.

You are saying the frequent

You are saying the frequent assignments are due to diversity ... I am saying that if a school has 80 poor kids and someone in central office thinks it should be 100 this week and shift 140k each week around to make that happen they have too much time on their hands.

Then I guess they have to

Then I guess they have to much time on their hands.

Yes, I have been living in

Yes, I have been living in the shell that is Wake County, in which the school district HAS been one of the best in the nation.  And you're also right about the rage that has been building among those who have moved into our county expecting our schools to be divided into multiple, homogenous, municipal districts like they had back home.  What they failed to realize is that the massive growth required the building of new schools to house those students, which required reassignments to fill, causing instability.  Then operatives who do not believe in public education took advantage of that rage to defeat bond referendums and to deny adequate operational funds so the system leaders were forced to make unpopular decisions just to handle the growth, which fueled the rage.  Few people moving into the county understood those dynamics, thus the election results. 

?

So, I'll agree that WCPSS is among the best school districts in the state, and among the best of the 25 largest districts.  But, among the best in the nation? I just got a newsletter from my old public high school, where 88% of the graduates went on to 4-year colleges, another 8% went to 2-year colleges, and their graduation rate was 100%.  Comparing against THAT standard, WCPSS doesn't come close.

At most, we can say "WCPSS is among the best school districts with populations of over 75,000 students with budgets of under $9,000 per student which are largely paid from state funds, and which encompass areas of over 400 square miles."  But, that's an awful lot of qualifiers.

I would bet that your old

I would bet that your old public high school is one of the small municipal homogenous districts with a very small number of minority or poor students.  I maintain that the main cause of poor performance in schools today is poverty, and doubt that your old system had very much of that.  It's easy to do well with middle-class students.  Wake should be compared with similarly sized districts with similar demographics.

I wonder if it is all poverty

Remember we include people in our diversity model that earn up to 180% of the poverty rate. Maybe it might have more to do with parenting skills or lack thereof. We tend to blame everything on poverty, but let us look at the past. How do the families that live in poverty compare with those living in the 1940's....I save you time, light years better. And from the rest of the world....beyond most dreams. So is it really poverty or poor cultural influences from parents and friends? People who lived in the 1940's in the same relative poverty without the federal safety nets did much better academically when educational opportunities were available. The diversity supporters in this county use the extreme cases to make their point. I do realize that there is real poverty in pockets of Wake County, but I believe it is wildly exaggerated to drive the disscussion. The real issue that should be looked at in the social engineering framework, is what to do about getting parents involved in raising their children to value education. It seems all social engineering these days is about transfer of wealth, when we should be teaching everyone how to grow wealth.

IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT STUFF !

So...

That's a pretty good description, although I'll note that they're doing better than many surrounding similiarly-situated districts.

But, I disagree with how Wake "should be compared."  When people move, they have to chose between Wake County Schools and schools in those small municipal homogenous districts.  The Jamaican Bobsled Team did pretty well in the 1988 Olympics, considering their shortcomings, but they did quite poorly overall.   'Our schools do pretty well, considering . . .' isn't going to cut it, especially when you talk about being among the best in the country or "world class."  Both the Jamaican Bobsled Team and WCPSS need more work to be able to compete on a world stage.

[From here, the argument usually devolves into talking about all the things holding WCPSS back.  Even if all those are accurate, they're still " . . . considering . . ."]

"Our schools do pretty well

"Our schools do pretty well considering...." doesn't cut it at all for WCPSS.  Our F&R rate is below state average.  We have one of the highest, if not the highest, percentages of adults carrying undergraduate and graduate degrees.  Given our demographics, we should be blowing the rest of the state away.  For all the talk about being "one of the best schools in the nation" there is not a shred of data to support the claim, other than the awards we received for diversity which had zip to do with academic performance.

Back to your shell, Virginia.

We are blowing the rest of

We are blowing the rest of the state away, except for one or two categories.  The main problem areas in Wake are due to poverty, as they are everywhere.  Only a very few schools in the nation have been successful with poor students, and they have either had dynamic leaders or extraordinary funding, neither of which can be instituted on a scale wide enough to encompass all of the nation's students who live in poverty. 

We are blowing the rest of

We are blowing the rest of the state away, except for one or two categories.  The main problem areas in Wake are due to poverty, as they are everywhere

So we're having problems with ED students. Then why continue to bus kids based on a policy that does not seem to work? Why look to busing for the answers when the answers are not there? Why continue to hide behind "There are no low achieving schools in Wake," when in fact "we have many low achieving STUDENTS." Busing masks the problem. Why not get the problem out in the open where we can start to give it the attention it deserves.

Only a very few schools in the nation have been successful with poor students, and they have either had dynamic leaders or extraordinary funding,

Uh, I think you will find that it all boils down to leadership. The failed Kansas City experiment should rule out extraordinary funding.

neither of which can be instituted on a scale wide enough to encompass all of the nation's students who live in poverty.

It's a good think our founders did not have this same defeatist attitude. What makes you think we can't develop those dynamic leaders who, along with setting high expectations and demanding accountability, appear to be our best hope?

Ah proof positive that you

Ah proof positive that you have been living in a shell. However it is not the Wake County shell. You really need to get your views from somoeone other than the Friends of Diversity.

First of all, there is absolutely no way that you can claim that WCPSS is one of the best school districts in the nation. What are you using to measure that? The state of NC has its own EOG and EOC tests -- there is absolutely no way to directly compare our kids to kids outside of NC.

Ahh, but there is an indirect way. The NAEP attempts to normalize EOG tests across different states. And the NAEP says that NC EOG tests are among the easiest in the nation to pass. That's right, take a kid who passes the NC 3rd grade EOG test. Then take that same kid and send him over to the state line to take the South Carolina 3rd grade EOG test and guess what -- he fails.

WCPSS has enough trouble trying to measure up to some of the other districts in NC. Sure, we're probably in the top 4 or 5 in NC, but the nation??? Not a chance.

Your argument about growth being the root cause of reassignments is patently false. Have we had explosive growth? Absolutely. But that growth has largely taken place in specific areas of the county. Western Wake is a prime example. In most places, when growth occurs they build a school WHERE THE GROWTH OCCURS, and kids get reassigned into that new school. But WCPSS never did that. When Western Wake was growing, WCPSS was building Dillard Drive ES and MS on the rim (where there was very little growth), because it was equal distance from SE Raleigh and some areas of Western Wake, i.e. the perfect spot to continue their social engineering experiment.

Furthermore, the same kids do not get reassigned every 3 years because of growth. They get reassigned every 3 years because someone is trying to balance what types of kids go to what school. The diversity policy caused the infamous domino effect when filling new schools. Filling one newly built school would wind up affecting 25 other schools when all was said and done. For the most part, parents do not complain and get filled with rage when they are reassigned to a brand new school that is closer than the one they were attending. They get enraged when their little node of 25 kids is moved to an existing school, away from their friends and their community, because someone decided that they needed to lower the F&R rate from 35% to 32%, a statistically insignificant change! They get enraged when they are told that unless they convert 22 schools to YR, we will run out of seats for incoming kids, only to find out the space wasn't needed after all.

And that bond referendum that was defeated in 1999. It was full of pork, like expensive sprinkler systems for athletic fields, and majestic auditoriums for middle schools. Less than a year later, a more reasonable bond was passed. We lost at most one year because of that failed bond referendum.

Look Virginia, your side screwed up. They assumed they could keep screwing with familes, as long as it was a different set of families each year. They never imagined that those families would hold onto that rage, and that one day those families would  come together and bring down a system that was a complete and utter failure.

So are you implying that SC

So are you implying that SC schools are better than NC schools?  I don't think many people would agree with that.  Most of the districts in the nation that are doing better than Wake are those small, homogenous districts with little poverty.  Wake has done much better than most districts with similar demographics while spending much less money per pupil.

I will agree that past boards became "tone-deaf" as Perry Woods has said.  They did not put enough emphasis on stability and there were many times they could have done more to make parents happy without giving up their goals of balanced schools.  The only reason the space wasn't needed after 22 schools were converted to MYR was because the economy tanked and the growth slowed to unexpected levels. No one could have predicted that.  Because we do have the extra capacity now, we have been able to delay a new bond being required.

We'll see what happens now that the people who do not believe in supporting public schools are in charge of our county commission and state legislature, so that our dismal per pupil funding is cut even further.  We'll see what happens once very high poverty schools are created in Wake County.   High poverty schools are 22% less likely to be high achieving than middle class schools, and poor students in high poverty schools are two years behind low-income students attending more affluent schools (according to research by The Century Foundation).  CMS was able to increase achievement in their high poverty schools by pouring money into them and by having a stellar pre-school program, but that will stop with the budget cuts they will be implementing.  Wake will not have the money to support those schools with the funding that will be necessary for them to succeed.  You're right, the anti-public school forces have succeeded in taking down the system.  Now we will see what a failed system really looks like.

So are you implying that SC

So are you implying that SC schools are better than NC schools? 

Uh, no. What I am stating as fact is that it's more difficult to pass the EOG test in South Carolina than it is in North Carolina. And what that means is that if you take two identical students, one living in NC and one in SC, it's quite possible that the NC student passes his EOG test and the SC student fails his EOG test. In other words, you can't compare districts in NC with others around the country based simply on EOG. So there's no way to make the claim that WCPSS is one of the top districts in the country.

The only reason the space wasn't needed after 22 schools were converted to MYR was because the economy tanked and the growth slowed to unexpected levels. No one could have predicted that.

Uh, I predicted that. Look, people move here from other parts of the country. And nobody moves here unless they can sell their house in the place they came from. And the housing bust began in other parts of the country much earlier than it did here. It did not take a rocket scientist to realize that the growth was never going to materialize. Especially since they converted the 22 schools to YR (in April as I remember) just a few months before they opened as YR (in July). All administrators had to to was take a look at current enrollment, and realize that 7000 new kids were not going to move here in the next two months.

High poverty schools are 22% less likely to be high achieving than middle class schools,

I don't disagree, but here is where you make the classic mistake of confusing correlation with causation. The high poverty school did NOT cause the students in them to achieve less than students in other schools. Here's a silly example of the same kind of mistake: If you walk the streets of New York City on a rainy day, you'll find a lot of people selling umbrellas. So would you conclude that the existence of unbrella salesmen made it rain?

and poor students in high poverty schools are two years behind low-income students attending more affluent schools (according to research by The Century Foundation). 

First, that's Kahlenberg's group, right. You expect them to say anything else? Second, if you look behind the data, there's nothing there. Look, WCPSS was the largest school district in the nation that was busing for diversity (for the greatest period of time). Wouldn't it make sense that our extremely capable E&R department would have conducted some kind of study over during that time that showed the benfits of that policy? What does it say to you that no such study exists? You sound like a smart person Virginia. Stop listening to the staus quo, and think for yourself!

The status quo is how the

The status quo is how the majority of districts in the nation do it.  Wake County was definitely not a part of the status quo, they are the ones who thought outside of the box and tried a different way, and were successful until the massive growth hit in conjunction with decades of underfunding.  Like I said, we'll see now, and I'm not at all optimistic about how it will turn out.

The status quo is how the

The status quo is how the majority of districts in the nation do it.

I was referring to the Wake County Status Quo = Friends of Diversity, WRAL, N&O, Burns, Dulaney, etc.

Haven't you heard?

The Diversity Policy is only history now.   There comes a point where you have to embrace the current BoE as "the status quo". 

The busing policy may be

The busing policy may be history, but the practice is alive and well.  The board has eliminated some diversity-based assignments, but many remain.  As much as I'd like to forget the old policy, I won't consider it gone until the last of the diversity-based busing is gone, and given the Margiotta/Goldman ego-driven stalemate, I don't see that happening for some time.

What's your problem with

What's your problem with Margiotta? It sounds personal. To compare the egos of Goldman and Margiotta is like comparing Apex ("the PEAK of good living") to Mr. Everest.

I think the political

I think the political fustercluck he's created speaks for itself.  Hiring Civitas - politically dumb.  Hiring the Republican Party lawyer - politically dumb.  Surprise meetings - unnecessary.  All this stuff does is feed the conspiracy theorists.  I'm not on the board, so I'll exercise my right to second-guess everything and anything that has led us to where we are.

Hmm, interesting opinions.

Hmm, interesting opinions. Why is hiring a Republican as you put it "dumb?" Is there something inherently wrong about belonging to that party? Are you suggesting that the BoE should have hired a litigator that is an independent or perhpas a Libertarian or Socialist? Or are you suggesting that having litigation expertise is unnecessary? Please explain.

Why is it "dumb" to hire people and organizations that are considered conservative, yet not dumb to hire organizations that are clearly left wing... which has been routine in education for decades? Wade Smith runs Tharrington Smith -- the board's firm -- and his involvement with Friends of Diversity is about as politically left-wing as you can get. AdvancED's witch hunt is clearly motivated by extreme left-wing ideology... as are most of the positions held by NCAE, GSIW, NAACP, etc.

Do you really want to get

Do you really want to get into this on a blog?

You're asking me? You

You're asking me? You brought it up, so you must want to.

I thought you used to support the new BoE members, so your attacks on Margiotta seem petty and personal. He's been a committed warrior in this fight for our schools and we should all be thankful for it... I certainly am and so are many others. If he does not do everything exactly they way you would, so what? You don't seem to be seeing the forest for the trees. Goldman is the problem. She alone is the reason the BoE is not further down the road to the kind of change the voters asked for... and she is going to be the problem no matter who is sitting in the chairman's seat. She'd piss off Gandhi.

dreamland

'...tried a different way, and were successful until the massive growth hit'

Successful how?  Successful in busing all the ED kids out of ITB and locating many of the magnets there? Yes - and double bonus if you're one of the lucky magnet school students.   Successful in educating students?  Not if you're one of the ED kids with only a 54% graduation rate.

Maybe you should realize that what you & the Meekers consider successful doesn't resonate with the majority of voters in Wake County.   (yes, I realize all didn't vote yet - I'm looking forward to this November)

So...

The conversion was strange.  The reasonable thing would have been to convert the schools to year-round calendars as needed.  But, for whatever reason, the district decided to do it all at once.   As a result, there are converted schools which have been under capacity every year since the conversion. Since under-capacity YR schools are more expensive than running the school on a traditional calendar, it ended up wasting money.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.
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