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Great Schools in Wake leaders among speakers at today's "sound the alarm" press conference

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Some familiar names will be speaking out at a press conference this morning to complain about the education bills being promoted by Republican state lawmakers.

Former Congressman Bob Etheridge and Public Schools First NC are holding a press conference at 11 a.m. in Green Hope Park in Cary "in support of strong public schools." Other speakers include Adrienne Lumpkin and Lynn Edmonds, both leaders in the Great Schools in Wake Coalition.

The group charges that lawmakers are leading "a race to the bottom" with proposed measures such as dropping class size limits, cutting back on teacher assistants and providing voucher money for families to attend private schools.

Here's the press release:

For Immediate Release
May 10, 2013

Sound the Alarm—Public Schools Matter!
Does this ring a bell? Remember when State Lawmakers Valued Public Education?
Press conference today in Cary

This morning, local parents, educators and community leaders will join former Congressman and State Superintendent Bob Etheridge and Public Schools First NC for a press conference in Cary in support of strong public schools. This is the second stop in a statewide tour.

Strong public schools have been a key part of creating the modern North Carolina—a wonderful place to do business and raise a family. Unfortunately, after years of budget cuts and other right-wing policy changes North Carolina's public schools are in danger.

For example, state lawmakers are putting the squeeze on elementary schools. They want to jam 30 or more students into a classroom. They want fewer teacher assistants. And they want voucher money drained from public schools. Students will have less one-on-one time with their teacher. And teachers will have fewer resources like technology and text books to make up for it.

Let's stop the race to the bottom.

Bob Etheridge, former State Superintendent
Jen Ferrell, Wake Co. Public Schools parent
Rodney Ellis, President, NC Association of Educators
Tim Valentine, former US Congressman & former member of NC House
Adrienne Lumpkin, business owner
Lynn Edmonds, Wake Co. Public Schools parent

Press conference

Green Hope Park
2750 Louis Stephens Dr.
Cary, NC 27519

Today, May 10
11 AM

1368196020 Great Schools in Wake leaders among speakers at today's "sound the alarm" press conference The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Sound the alarm!

The "successful forerunners of the current protests" are at it again.

Oh wait, this already took place. And how many showed up to ring their alarm bells?

That's what I thought.

State of NC Public Schools

I'm curious if the 3 of you who posted on Friday feel encouraged about the future of NC schools given the current education bills in the legislature? I think most of them are pretty alarming for a future of strong public education in our state. I realize you don't like some of the individuals speaking out, but does that dislike take precedence over their cause? Snoredone, given the theme of many of your past posts, I'm interested in how you're feeling about the major changes being proposed? Your response here seems to miss the point of the post.

Mixed bag..

Some of the proposed changes are good ideas that need some tweaking (ending tenure, for example), and others are lousy (e.g. dropping funding for TAs). Frankly, though, I don't think we'll see much improvement in the state without a long term commitment to substantially higher teacher salaries. Unfortunately, that's unlikely under either party. But, all is not lost - charter schools are a clear bright spot in NC public education.

Now, WCPSS has its own peculiar needs, mostly surrounding destructive policies pursued by the current board.


I don't feel encouraged, but I see these changes for what they really are - a shallow political backlash that is reciprocity for the previous shallow political backlash. I think that opening up the floodgates for vouchers and charters will both devastate the current system but also force change.

I did not miss the point of Keung's post. There are those who think they are protecting public education by protesting. I understand you think you and they are an advocate for all children. But I see these people for who they really are, individuals who have exploited the system to give it the appearance of being inclusive so that they could keep it exclusive for their personal benefit. They maintain access and advantage for a very small group of individuals by keeping ED, minority and the suburban base at a disadvantage.

There is a great paper that a friend sent me this morning, it puts the current debate into incredible focus
If you read it keep in mind that who he refers to as "reformers" is in the broadest sense of the word - anyone who is advocating for policy in public education.

one more point

and this is my interpretation of what happened with the choice model:
We saw an increase in poverty in some schools as parents who were force bused for diversity could -for the first time ever - choose their school. They chose schools that were fully enrolled (and therefore fully funded) and that had educational enrichment. They even chose several severely under enrolled schools that, under Tata, now offer enrichment.
What should we have done about the increase in poverty in some schools? Change policy to allow all schools to offer enrichment.
Finally, one of your group's strongest supporters quietly said to me that we might just have to accept we can only bus in one direction. This is not fair to low income families, but if our goal is to balance resources and keep up appearances then that is the only option, particularly in light of vouchers and charters.

a response

"What should we have done about the increase in poverty in some schools? Change policy to allow all schools to offer enrichment.

Finally, one of your group's strongest supporters quietly said to me that we might just have to accept we can only bus in one direction. This is not fair to low income families, but if our goal is to balance resources and keep up appearances then that is the only option, particularly in light of vouchers and charters."

I'm not sure I understand your point above? In an ideal world, in which resources flowed, all schools would have all sorts of enrichment. In our cash-starved system, I think it's unrealistic to say all schools can have that. WCPSS has chosen to concentrate some programs at magnet schools, many of which continue to have empty magnet seats year after year as they build their programs in similar fashion to the way the original magnets did years ago when ANYBODY who wanted to attend could do so because interest was only beginning to grow. Doing away with magnet programs completely would free up some money, but would it provide the type of programming you seem to want for every school in the county? And I continue to think that the magnet program has plenty of advantages for our community as a whole, even with challenges it brings. Snordone, I'm curious what you think are the reasons families continue to be drawn to this area and continue to enroll in our public school system? I think it's a good idea to work at improving the magnet program and continue to refine its effect on the school system. Is this one of the issues the new equity office or whatever it's called will examine? I don't mind the system that has families choosing to bus long distances with programming as a trade-off. I like the new trend of reducing long bus rides for students leaving their immediate neighborhood to free-up magnet spaces and trying to manage school diversity in multiple ways. I will be interested in seeing how the next assignment plan will play out. I can't help but think that the "stay-where-you-start" policy will go a long way for reducing anxiety for those currently attending a school that needs reassignments.

One other point. I guess you mean by "your group" GSIW? I'm just me but I will say I have appreciated much of the research GSIW has done and have continued to highlight education issues that are important to me. I'm less comfortable with the group's public communication style.

Missing some things here...

(1) Note that under the historical magnet acceptance criteria, even though there are empty magnet seats, there are still students who were denied access to those seats.

(2) Many of the disparities between magnet and base schools have nothing to do with funding. Why are base middle schoolers subjected to three years of 'HEALTH,' while magnet middle schoolers have no such requirement? That's not a funding thing -- that's just a "we want to make base schools less attractive" thing.

(3) Nobody's talking about getting rid of magnets entirely. But, significant changes need to be made -- for example, why are there some high-end ITB neighborhoods which are ASSIGNED to magnet schools?

point #3

Because that is why we have magnets, to preserve the old money feel of ITB. Old money is definitely a mindset, and some of the new money wants to feel like old money. I lived in historic oakwood years ago, a beautiful neighborhood worth preserving. I watched them tear down Chavis Heights and remove low income families. Chavis Heights was a big 'problem' for Historic Oakwood, it was too close for their comfort. The cemetery is a clear dividing line between Oakwood and College Park surrounding St Aug. Again, another '"problem" for these Oakwood residents. There is no respect, no living in harmony, no sense of community. There are clear dividing lines. Their schools must do the same, provide clear, dividing lines.

The rest of the magnet parents are those seeking extra credentials for their children so they can be hyper-competitive in a competitive world. I have heard these GSIW parents say things like "my son needs to be at Enloe" as an excuse for why their kids are there. "Needs" to be, as if they are super 'gifted' and the base would not be appropriate.

I don't have an ounce of respect for any of these people.

pulling strings - it's the magnet way

And going back to the old way of staff managing everything behind the curtain keeps the 'right' people in magnets as well. A teacher acquaintance said something similar to me - way back when she used her connections to get her daughter into Enloe because she 'needed' to be there. Her view was that her daughter would not get the right education to make it at UNC. So.... if that's a teacher's view, what does that say about our school system.

What credible "research" has

What credible "research" has GSIW ever done? Hopefully you are not talking about research claiming that redistributing poor kids improves student test scores because that has been completely debunked several times over. WCPSS hardliners don't even try and stick to that story anymore.

they had a research page

with links to 'data.' But clearly no one read the papers because one of them showed data that affirmed that race and income were not decisive factors in academic achievement, teacher effectiveness was. I pointed that out to them and it was gone off the website within a day.
They are unbelievable.

For years now, lot's of

For years now, lot's of people on this blog have claimed to have "research" and "data" to support busing poor kids around. I have repeated asked them to share it. They never have. On the other hand, I have shared data compiled specifically on WCPSS that clearly exhibits that busing poor kids has no effect and may even be detrimental (to the poorest). I believe you have seen this same type of data yourself (based on previous comments) and I believe that is what stirs your passion as it does mine.

I realize I may not be the most "polite" person on this blog.....I actually started out much more civil. Over the years, watching the same false claims and statements stream over this blog and out of the mouths of people like those in GSIW has worn my patience thin. I believe that I am within a week or so of having all my 3 children out of WCPSS schools for good. There is an amazing sense of peace that thought brings me.

you need to look at the budget

and look at policy side by side. The issue (for the hundredth time) is not money, it is policy. I know that budget is the story you are fed by GSIW "research" but when we deconstructed the budget at each school on a per child basis there was no difference in budget between the base and magnets. The schools that get the most money are magnet Title I and it is in MOE not TDA.
As Barbara's Youtube video showed, the issue is policy.

I know they think the stay where you start is going to help but it will not. Parents will not send their children to under enrolled schools that lack enrichment. They don't show up, they never have, they never will. I will not have my youngest bused into the rim when he finishes elementary school. It is not going to happen. They can reassign us back there, but we won't show up. Unlike GSIW, I did follow policy 6200, I allowed my kids to be bused. And it will never happen again.

so true

At some point I wish one reporter would ask them "Why were the base schools not adequate for YOUR children?"

No, they will just continue

No, they will just continue to glorify the 'civil disobedience'.


Those folks don't care about strong public schools -- if they did, they wouldn't support the artificial restrictions WCPSS places on base schools. They only care about strong MAGNET schools.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.