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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High online reassignment interest

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It's no surprise that interest in this year's draft reasignment plan is higher than what it was in recent years.

As noted in today's article, the plan received 112,564 page views in the first seven hours it was online. There were also 346 comments and 10,362 PDF downloads during that time period.

Contrast that to last year's draft plan.

The plan was released last year at 5 p.m. on a Friday. There were 85,469 page views and 220 comments in the first 16 hours. By 9:56 a.m. on Monday, there were 99,879 page views.

There were more page views in 2006 — 121,747. But it took 71 hours from the time it was released at 5 p.m. Friday. There were also 419 comments during that window.

It's a safe bet to say that this year's plan will surpass the 2006 figures over an equivalent 71-hour period.

Having three years in the new plan compared to one year in the prior ones does give a natural advantage.

Broughton and Panther Creek high schools continued to be the most viewed schools in this year's plan.

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HS Reassignment

We have been reassigned back to the original HS we were at in 2005. Gee, why'd you take the kids out in the first place. Meanwhile, we made adjustments. As a rising sophomore we are going to have to change. Hopefully they will allow for grandfathering for these kids who have will have just spent a full year of HS, adjusting, making friends, developing relationships with teachers, counselors, clubs, sports. Do you know how many board members out of the 9 we have are going to be affectec by this. Look them up....I will save you the trouble....only 1 this coming year. I wonder if the 1 even has a HS age student at this time. As a parent of a rising sophomore, I know the ill affects it will have on him if he is forced to leave his HS and transition to another (not new, but existing) High School. Is that actually taken into account by the Board......Oh wait, they won't have deal with this in their house hold now, will they?

This "plan" is really only a

This "plan" is really only a one year plan, so don't buy into the lie and DO NOT worry!
Next year we'll start hearing the excuses about why they were LIARS all along and can't stick to the "plan" so don't fret, it WILL CHANGE! AGAIN!

Does anyone see the likeness between Chuck Dulaney and David Koresh???

Put a pic side by side and see if you TOO don't see the scary similarity!

photos

Actually more frighteningly is how much he looks like Bill Ayers. They could be twins. Which should make Chuck happy. I expect, that since the unrepentent Weatherman Terrorist and Socialist Ayers is now VP of the LARGEST ORGANIZATION OF EDUCATORS IN THE US - very influential in deciding curriculum for K- 12 etc, Ayers is likely a hero of Chuck's. It wouldn't surprise me. Chuck has written award winning papers for that organization - American Educational Research Association (AERA). So I suspect he'd like to be as much like Bill Ayers as possible. They both hum the mantra of 'social justice' and are using our schools and our children to achieve their political vision. Ayer's book - not the one he dedicated to Sirhan Sirhan who murdered Robert Kennedy - but another one,  is on the required reading list of most schools of education - educating teachers. “Education,” says Ayers, “is the motor-force of revolution.” He's doing much more to advance his ideas of social engineering by being an influential educator than he ever could have with explosives. I think that's very much linked to Chuck's own personal, political ideas of education and what is 'right' for all of us.

Panther Creek to Athens versus Cary High?

Sharon, I could not agree more with you regarding your top ten comments blog!  While I applaud the reassignment goal of keeping middle schoolers together through high school, this is being proposed at the expense of current high school kids!  Moving node 367.1 from Panther Creek to Athens is just ludicrous!  This is the same node that was yanked from Cary High to HELP open Panther Creek.  Now, oops, Panther Creek is overcrowded and we need to move you out.  Oh, not back to Cary High, that makes too much sense.  Let's choose ANOTHER high school for this node.  We've never tried Athens.  We've had Green Hope, Cary, and Panther Creek.  I understand this is a feeder pattern proposed from Reedy Creek Elementary and Reedy Creek Middle to keep them together to Athens.  But, keep them together to Cary High.  That is the fair choice to all involved.  Thank you for posting this and for leading the charge!  We are behind you all the way.

Reassignments

Dear Ms. O'Donnell,
Thanks for your well articulated passion. To answer some of your questions, you should read the book "Wake County's Big Secret" - it will give you some insight into what goes on behind the reassignments. Growth is a smoke screen, not the real reason for the reassignments. Growth simply gives some with political agendas the excuse to do what is 'best' in their minds. You think they remember or CARE what they've done to you and your neighbors? They're too jaded by now to care. I ran into someone in the parking lot today who worked for WCPSS for 30 years. She said she was so disgusted with the parents by the time she left. We are the enemy, you see. Additionally, because the people in charge of all this moving are not professionally trained Operations Research people, they continue to make a rats nests upon rats nests of 'plans'. They are reactive and short sighted. Its fully probable that the 3 year plan will be changed a few times in three years. And so it will continue until something revolutionary happens. How come they're able to solve this in Georgia, with community based models, and we can't?

Open Letter to school board/staff re. Panther Creek reassignment

Dear Wake County Schools Staff and School Board:

Enough already! My node 367.1 and other nodes near it on North Harrison Avenue (nodes 367.3, 367.4, 367.6, 367.7) have been bounced around from one high school to another for the past six years, and it has got to stop! Wake Schools’ Chuck Delaney was quoted on WRAL as saying, "If you're going to be a growing county, it's [reassignment] inevitable." Mr. Delaney, our node realized that and therefore, we didn’t protest our reassignment three years ago to Panther Creek, even though we were not happy about it and it made no sense geographically. “Inevitable”, of course, means ‘incapable of being avoided or eluded.” Yet, reassignment is much more than ‘inevitable’ for our nodes since we didn’t escape it in 2006 and are not escaping it now; sadly, it is almost ‘expected’ and not merely ‘inevitable’ due to the unfair way we have been treated.

Our node was in the Cary High district for a long time, then switched to Green Hope for a few years, then back to Cary, then to Panther Creek, and now to Athens Drive! Our node is like a ping-pong ball being bounced around all over the place. My oldest son went to 9th grade at Cary High, then was reassigned to Panther Creek where he is now a senior; he could not be grandfathered in because he was reassigned to a new school. Last year, he almost applied for a transfer back to Cary for several reasons, but he decided to stick it out at Panther Creek. Now with the proposed plan, my middle son, a freshman at Panther Creek, will be reassigned to Athens Drive. We anticipated that our node might be reassigned back to Cary for the 2009-2010 school year since Panther Creek is so overcrowded. We knew that in the big picture of things it made logical sense for our node to go back to Cary, so many were prepared for that switch.

But Athens Drive??? I have nothing against Athens, and I myself am a graduate of the school in 1980 (after being reassigned from Cary when Athens was first opened I might add). However, this reassignment is not fair to our node and other nodes in the area. If we are to be reassigned, we ask that our students are FAIRLY reassigned. Why?

Top 10 Reasons for Sending North Harrison Nodes to Cary Instead of Athens Drive

1. The proposed reassignment to Athens Drive is not fair to the students in our node. Wake County Schools seem to be so concerned in other reassignments with keeping ‘peers together from middle to high school’; yet these students in our node were sent three years ago to Panther Creek where not many of their peers were assigned (a lot of their peers were assigned to Cary) and now will be uprooted again and sent to Athens Drive where they don’t know other students and the campus and area is entirely new to them. Same deal as three years ago when my oldest son was sent to Panther Creek from Cary. I’ve received many emails from fellow parents whose children are extremely upset specifically because the reassignment is to Athens Drive instead of Cary.

2. It’s not fair to parents. This reassignment means that my two oldest sons (one a senior, one a freshman) will have attended three high schools – Cary, Panther Cree, and Athens Drive. I didn’t fight the reassignment to Panther Creek, even though we were not pleased with it because I knew that Panther Creek needed to be filled, and we drew the short stick somehow and had to go. Now we’re drawing the short stick AGAIN, and I have to protest this. I can’t even remember what team to root for when my sons play ball. “Go Imps! I mean Catamounts! I mean Jaguars!”

3. This proposed plan has unfair boundary lines for reassignment. The neighborhood directly behind ours that includes friends of my freshman son – his ‘peers’ if you will – is scheduled to go to Cary from Panther Creek. We have easier access to Harrison Avenue and the straight shot into downtown Cary than that neighborhood does (they have to get on Cary Parkway first), but they are going to Cary and us to Athens Drive? What about the big issue of keeping peers together? Does it not apply to us, too?

4. Feeder patterns should not be a higher priority than fairness to our node. If this change is because of feeder patterns, then it will have a detrimental impact on our node. Let me ask where were these feeder pattern concerns when my oldest son who went to Adams, Lufkin, and Cary, was then shipped to Panther Creek where he didn’t know many people at all? Nobody seemed to care about it then. Sure it’d be nice to have an elementary/middle school/high school feeder pattern for all students; but it should not be provided to some students at the expense of other students who have already more than paid their dues in this system. Forget consistency through all three levels of school – I’d simply like my sons to go with their peers to high school together. Besides, with people moving in and out and more neighborhoods being developed, this feeder pattern idea is never going to be feasible. In addition, this whole concept is not fair to students at year-round schools like my sons were; most of the students they went to at Lufkin went on to Apex. Having a base area to go to from middle school to high school with doesn’t matter to year-round students; we’d rather attend high schools that make sense geographically.

5. We’re tired of having our node being abused by the school system. This little strip of nodes on the side of North Harrison has been used as guinea pigs for too long. First, my oldest son was reassigned from Morrisville Elementary when Adams Elementary reopened as a year-round school, and I had to tear him away from his friends when he started third grade. The neighborhood behind us (the same one that is being reassigned from PC to Cary instead of our node) stayed at Morrisville, while we had to go to Adams. We were used to start the new year-round program at Adams. It’s like we are the nodes the Wake County Public School System experiments with, while they don’t care about the effects of these illogical changes. Then we were guinea pigs again when we were reassigned from Cary to Panther Creek to fill up the new school; we were so far from Panther Creek, and the area near PC was growing so incredibly rapidly that we knew we wouldn’t be there for long. We were just being used to help start a new school, and then when our job was done, we’d be moved again. However, we always thought it would be Cary High we’d be reassigned to, which would have made sense. Athens Drive does not make sense.

6. This plan hurts parental and financial support for schools. I’d put a lot of time and energy in working for the PTA at Morrisville (and for the Wake County PTA) during those first three years of my oldest son’s education; then he and my middle son were reassigned to Adams. I then I had to start all over with a brand new school and help organize the PTA there, which was a big job. Our new PTA worked hard to raise money for things I’d just worked hard to buy for Morrisville. Parents work so hard to contribute to their children’s school, and then boom – they are moved around like musical chairs. This seriously harms the motivation for parents and others to give to a certain school when their children will quite possibly be at another one the next year.

7. Many reassigned students are already familiar with Cary High. Many students -- like my middle son -- had older siblings who were at Cary when our node was assigned there, and they formed somewhat of an allegiance and familiarity with Cary High while their older siblings were there. My middle son attended some Cary High games then and was disappointed – just as my older son was -- when our node was switched to Panther Creek. When PC became overcrowded and people said we’d probably be reassigned again, I told my son it would probably be back to Cary. He was okay with this because, as I said, he’d had some experience with it when his older brother went there and a lot of his peers already went there. He has none of this at Athens Drive.

8. This proposal doesn’t make sense geographically. Our node is located on North Harrison Avenue, which is 4 miles from Cary High and basically a straight shot to the school. At the end of this year, I will have spent three years driving through RTP traffic to Panther Creek to pick up sons from practices and other events or worrying about my 16-year-old son navigating these traffic dangers himself; the drive to Athens Drive is better than the one to Panther Creek, but the drive to Cary is the safest and shortest of all. I think we’ve paid our dues in gas bills over the three years we’ve spent at Panther Creek.

9. This proposal of our area to Athens Drive severely hurts the fabric of our communities. The school system is simply tearing apart any semblance of neighborhood left. I became very aware of this when my oldest son went to Panther Creek with students who lived in Apex and off Highway 55, many of whom knew each other. Our node was taken out of our community and shoved into another one. The same thing will happen with this Athens Drive reassignment.

10. In terms of extracurricular activities, transitions to Cary will be smoother than transitioning to Athens Drive. My freshman son recently made the JV basketball team at Panther Creek and will now of course have to try out next at his new high school. He was okay with having to switch to Cary because he knows some of the Cary athletes from rec league and AAU play, while he knows nobody at Athens. I know of some baseball players on the Panther Creek JV team who are now reassigned to Athens but have played Cary American Legion ball with Cary High players, not Athens players. Why? Because we live in Cary, not the Athens area. These students who have worked hard to make teams or other school groups but are now reassigned, deserve to go where they will feel more comfortable – that school is Cary High.

In late September, I attended a meeting that included Chuck Delaney’s presentation about the possible reassignment plan. In it, he talked about the possibility of my node as well as the Brier Creek area of being reassigned to Cary; I questioned him about my concerns about being at Panther Creek instead of Cary, and he never mentioned the possibility Athens Drive might be involved. We only talked about Cary. This reassignment to Athens Drive was totally out of the blue and is not fair in so many ways.

Please reconsider our node’s assignment from Panther Creek. Students, parents, and families of our node deserve your consideration in this matter. We will be forming a protest group of concerned and frustrated parents and students; we will not remain silent this time.

Thank you,

For parents and students affected by this reassignment from PC to Athens Drive who want to try to change the reassignment to Cary instead: please contact me using info below.

Sharon O’Donnell
sjo@nc.rr.com
sharonodonnell.com
www.momsofboys.org

Cary to Green Hope to Cary

Cary to Green Hope to Cary to Panther Creek to Athens?????   This is truly ridiculous. 

If they are doing this because our (demographics) node is "needed", it's back-firing....many of our families have dropped out of public schools in favor of private and charter schools; others are bone-weary of being the victims of poor and unfair planning. 

Please redistrict us - once and for all -  back to the school that is CLOSEST TO US - Cary High School!

Reality bites

I live LITERALLY across the street (600 feet) from the school that my children were reassigned out of, to new schools that ate 3 and 11 miles away.

If it makes you feel any better, please keep writing eloquent and polite letters - we've been trying that for years now.  Welcome to the HOUSE OF PAIN, aka the WCPSS

Or, join us in breaking up this out-of-control bureaucratic boondoggle...

when and where?!

who's the us and what is the plan??!  I am in!  :)

Asking for a Show of Faith & FACE (NOT A JOKE)

If you are interested in joining our group, show up at Trader Joe's (at the intersection of Kildaire Farm Rd and Cary Parkway at 3pm this Saturday, Nov 22.  We will be outside and self-identifying as the "MultiLateral Group" and will collect from you slips of paper on which you provide your preferred contact address or whichever convenient mode is preferred by you.  Bring as many friends as you can and if they are busy, try get their contact info as well.  

The objective is to go grass-roots enough to demonstrate that our disgust with the system crosses racial lines, economic lines and political lines.  Rich or poor, Republican or Democrat, White, African-American, Asian or Hispanic, we are all trapped by the system and multiple approaches will be needed to reform this broken system.

 THE CHOICE IS YOURS: Join us this coming Saturday 22nd Nov outside Trader Joe's in Cary, and depending on weather and turnout, we could all proceed to a public park or restaurant down the road to get things moving.  YES THAT FIRST STEP IS SURELY THE HARDEST...but in good faith, I put forward this proposal.

Any comments, please reply to this post, will be providing more contact email addresses going forward!!!

This is a great example!

Ms. Sharon - well done.  This is an excellent letter and I agree with the other poster on getting it out there as far as possible.  You really took a lot of time to present your thoughts in a well laid out manner.  I hope they do reconsider for your area.  I hope they reconsider a LOT of things that are in that draft plan. 

Ditto that.....

Miss Sharon -- great letter.  Make sure it gets into the Cary News as well as the Apex paper as well.    Might want to volunteer the letter over to the various TV stations as well.  I might get you a on-the-spot interview. 

I feel and know your pain in many ways.  Four sons, 3 different high schools in 11 years. 

Funny thing is our area is not the one that is growing, so when are the new "growth" areas gonna "feel the pain" of mass student reassignment.  Whoops, silly me, I keep forgetting who the "Friends of Wake Country" really are.  (hint, hint: builders, developers, realtors, bankers)

 

High School Reassignments

I know I've been reading that the high school reassignments were based on moving with "peer groups".  However, I live in node 233.9 and we are currently assigned to Heritage middle school for YR and Wake Forest Rolesville middle for traditional.  Instead of being reassigned from Wakefield to Heritage, we were reassigned to the H6 school which doesn't make any sense to me.  I have freinds who live near Millbrook high who were reassigned to Heritage!  So they will be passing my development, and passing H6, traveling to the opposite side of town instead of staying at Millbrook which is a hop, skip & jump from their homes!  To top it off, all of my daughters "peer group" was reassigned to Heritage high so none of her "peer group" is moving with her.  Kieu, if H6 facility is not ready in 2011, will they leave the H6 kids at the Heritage facility?  With the H6 student at the Heritage facility, will these two sets of students be broken up per school assignment or will all freshman be together etc...  I'm so very upset that the Freshmen in 09 who will be assigned to H6 will be moving every year for the next 3 years - this is not healthy, and as a parent, I feel sooo helpless.  Of all the reassignments made thus far, this one just makes no sense at all to me...Peer groups are not staying together in all instances, and alot of nodes are being moved farther from home.....

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.
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