WakeEd

The WakeEd blog is devoted to discussing and answering questions about the major issues facing the Wake County school system. How will the new student assignment plan balance diversity, stability, proximity and stability? How will Jim Merrill replace Tony Tata as the new superintendent of the state's largest district? How will voters react to a $810 million school construction bond referendum on Oct. 8 ballot? How will this fall's school board elections impact the future of the district?

WakeEd is maintained by The News & Observer's Wake schools reporter, T. Keung Hui. While Keung posts information and analysis on the issues, keep us posted on your suggestions, questions, tips and what you're doing to cope with the changes in Wake's schools.

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Arnold Osborn to run in District 2 board race

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Unless things changed over the weekend, we should have had another candidate announcing for the District 2 school board seat.

Arnold Osborn had announced on the blog last week that he's running against incumbent board member Horace Tart. The self-described conservative Christian had planned to have an official press release out earlier this week.

Below is the platform he listed on his web site:

1. My primary focus is to improve the quality of life for the families of Wake County and we do that by focusing on improving the quality of the education that we supply to all of the children of the county.
Every time we fail a child of this county we fail the families as well, and this includes those without children. Our jails are crowded with former students who were ignored by the system and allowed to fail.

2. The school assignment system is broken, and it is broken beyond repair. Schools should be placed in communities to serve the families of those communities. This will allow us to address the problem where they exists as they arrise. No longer do our children need to ride buses for up to 1.5 hours (each way) at the choosing of a pencil pushing, number crunching bureaucrat, just to satisfy some imaginary goal, with an unmeasurable and unobtainable ideal.

3. PTAs should be about Parental Participation with the child and the school. Parents are less likely to be involved in the school and the child's school experience when their children are bussed two different directions around the county. We need our parents to be involved and the key to this is localized, community-based, neighborhood schools.

4. We need to ensure that the parents know that their children are our primary concern. One way that we can do this is by ensuring that the staffing of our schools is proper for the best education of our children. Also, the parents need to have faith in our teachers, our administrators and our dedication to their children. When we are willing to long range bus a child to satisfy quota we have told the parent that their child's well being is not our primary concern. When we have teachers that send home notes to parents with misspellings or allow administrators do voice broadcast messages via phone systems who do not have the ability to speak in proper English sentences we have told them that there is no hope that we can educate their child properly and that their child really doesn't matter.

5. All children must be given the opportunity to succeed. Some children must be equipped for college, others must be trained for service industries (i.e. plumbing, heating & cooling, cosmetology, etc). When we fail to prepare a path for the student who cannot climb the mountain of success then we are leaving them at the bottom to watch their peers enjoy their rise to success.
This is unacceptable! Every Child Must be given his or her opportunity to reach their personal best.

Cathy Truitt, a retired Johnston County educator, has also announced her intention to run in District 2.

The presence of three candidates would make it harder for anyone to get the majority needed on Oct. 6 to avoid a runoff.

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Tedesco to secure key endorsement

Recognizing our School Board desperately needs leaders like John Tedesco, it appears many are coming together to stand behind him.

In a press release dated 7/15, Arnie Osborne, previously announced candidate for District 2, announced he will step aside to endorse John Tedesco. Tedesco's site is www.4wakekids.com.

Mr. Osbornes press release quotes the following.
"We must elect new School Board leaders who will put citizens first and make the sweeping changes needed to make our school system one we can be proud of. With John Tedesco’s filing for the District 2 School Board seat, I believe we have the right candidate to get that job done."
http://www.test.arnieosborn.com/gpage7.html

We are also hearing word that with D-2 being the one endorsement left from the Alliance, Tedesco appears to be their man. Incumbent Tart has already been denounced by members of the Alliance, while entrenched long term educator, Cathy Truitt, has failed to earn their confidence with regard to her ability to secure change.

Similar sentiments have been echoed by Garner Mayor, Ronnie Williams. Locals anticipate Mayor Williams to follow Osborne and the Alliance with an August endorsement.

Tedesco 4 Wake Kids School Board District 2

Mr. Hui,

It appears we may finally have a real champion for kids & families in this race; and a man who has the expertise, senior level leadership, and track record to make real change. My family and I were at the Garner Independence Day Celebration and we met John Tedesco candidate for School Board District 2. Are you familiar with him?

This Garner family man and apparent political outsider gave us his card. He was direct which was refreshing from candidates. He and his card told us that, "it is possible to be pro-diversity & anti-busing..., (and) that FORCED mandates from busing to year round assignments only hurt the continuity needed for a child's overall development, strips our families of their empowerment in the educational process, and further has the inadvertent effect of deteriorating our community."

It sounded on the mark so we checked him out. His card also said "Fighting for a Children and Family 1st School System" and (laid out like a math problem) "Our Kids + Our Taxes = Our Schools. It listed his website - www.4wakekids.com. We looked it over this weekend with some friends. It was refreshing - it wasn't Dem/Rep spin with flags and eagles and notes of national issues; it was about us, our kids, our families and our communities.

When we looked at his extensive and impressive experience, we noticed a project my neighbor worked with, so we decided to ask her (who will remain nameless as she works for the state) about him. We asked if he was too good to be true, she laughed and said, "oh, he's the real deal alright". She noted (now mind you this is hear say), he had been whoooed by the partisans on both sides for so-called "bigger" roles, such as commissioner or legislature, and that his response to them was that, "it's time we recognized our school board was worthy of BIG leadership, and that our families could no longer do with-out it."

Do you know any more about Mr. Tedesco for District 2 School Board or any of the various efforts he is involved in, as noted on the experience page of his web site?? Is anyone else familiar with him or is he really an outsider and the Board Member we have been looking for?

Please help as I am hopeful we might have found what our family has been looking for.

Somewhat OT - Community & schools and priority on students

I few snipits from my hometown newspaper that some may find interesting as a comparison to here:
What can happen when you put community and schools together --
29 students recently graduated from the alternative HS. Attendees included three local judges there to cheer on those they'd seen in their courtrooms and hoped not to see again, the regular HS principal there to cheer on his former students, the priest from the local parish and several members of the Knights of Columbus that are heavily involved in volunteering at the school. Special recognition was given to five students who had dropped out of the program, turned themselves around and came back to finish. Does this happen here and it just doesn't make the news?

With cuts at hand BOE promises students are No. 1 priority -- here is what was cut in the smallest district (notice the proportion of admin v teaching slots):
Transportation director position cut to PT
Combined four school/district administrator positions, including HS athletic director, into two positions
Cut MS athletic director (leaving no ADs), two teachers, one custodian, one secretary and one tech support position.
The district had 7 administrators and 72 teachers before the cuts.
I'd be curious to know the proportion of admin v teaching total slots and slots cut in Wake County.

This goes with the students not legally enrolled in the district issue:
I also stumbled across information that the district gives every kid grades 7-12 a laptop and has a School of Choice program (not sure if they plan to cut) where students from anywhere in the county and two adjacent counties can apply to go to school in that district TUITION FREE, plus they provide free before and after care and busing home. The information sheet (which was not produced by the PR department as they don't have one) is written like a private school ad and ends with "Call now! Seats are filling up fast." Odd. This is in a community with a median income of $42K and 43% ED. How are they managing to do this? Why? Maybe they have agreements with the neighboring districts like Wake had with Granville about the lost colony. Thought it was interesting compared to the posts about Wake's stance on students from outside the district and the lost colony.

Does spending more and more technology get results? --
Interestly, they have about the same, actually slightly favorable (no LEP) demographics compared to my home district (next town over), spend more, have slightly fewer students per teacher and have laptops, but my district's test scores are within a few percentage points up or down across the board and overall slightly higher.

I like a lot of what I read

I like a lot of what I read here about Mr. Osborn. I'll be interested to learn more detail.

Well, I guess we see how

Well, I guess we see how important D2 is!

D2 is no more or less

D2 is no more or less important than the other districts, don't read anything into the lack of commentary.

I could not agree more... D2

I could not agree more... D2 is very important, but we as a county are in a battle that must be won at every district and every level if any changes are to be made.  

Each candidate that is elected must be fiscally conservative, with a desire to reduce government control over our children and our lives.

It is imperative that each and every race is won by a strong candidate that understands the needs of the entire county, not just their district and not their own private agenda... and from what I have seen thus far is the problem with the incumbent and my opponents. 

Note to self: if announcing

Note to self: if announcing campaign for Board of Education, proofread press release.

You are so right Mr.

You are so right Mr. Burns...

My most humble apology to everyone for the typos that were released inadvertently.  Because of my schedule and the start-up of my campaign I have been dictating my web information and had volunteers doing my web work.  Although the efforts were well intended the work should have been proofed before it was allowed to go live and for that I am sorry.

As to the press release, there has not been one, but because the information was available on a website it was taken as a press release and again this is my fault for not having someone go behind the Jr. Staff and double check the work.  It has left me a bit red-faced but at the same time has allowed me to be as I am, human and capable of error.

Corrections are underway and your understanding is appreciated. 

LOL

Particularly if your press release inludes both spelling and grammar slams:

"When we have teachers that send home notes to parents with
misspellings or allow administrators do voice broadcast messages via
phone systems who do not have the ability to speak in proper English
sentences"

I've got to wonder if that last bit is a reference to my son's ex-principal's penchant for saying there will be a meeting "at the school ON TOMORROW".  After three years to get used to it that one STILL grates on my ears.

Slow day on CP, charlie?

Slow day on CP, charlie?

I like what I see!

I like what I see!

The "no cut to the chase & tell it how it is" ambience is EXACTLY what this board needs!  A few more and it's called

M A J O R I T Y!!!

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.
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