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.

Choose a blog

John Hood on gains in school choice in Wake County and statewide

Bookmark and Share

John Hood is citing school choice as "the single-biggest result of conservative electoral gains in 2009 and 2010."

Most of the focus of Hood's column last week in the conservative Carolina Journal focuses on the lifting the state's charter school cap and allowing tax credits for special-needs kids who attend private schools.

But Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation, also cites school choice efforts in several school districts, including Wake County.

"In 2009, the voters of Wake County, the state’s largest school district, voted in a new conservative majority on their school board," Hood writes. "Its members immediately began work on a school-choice plan to replace Wake County’s unpopular forced-busing policy.

After a false start and the employment of a new superintendent, Tony Tata, the school board resumed work on the plan early this year. Now it appears that the passage of a school-choice plan for Wake County is imminent."

Hood argues that greater school choice at the state and local levels will result in "higher levels of satisfaction among students, parents, and educators; a more efficient utilization of tax dollars; and better academic performance."


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.


I bet a lot of taxpayers would say their choice is not to send other parents' kids to private school on their tax dollars.   You already have that choice, you don't need a voucher to do it.  Isn't that what personal responsibility is about...not waiting for the government to help you out?

Parental choice is a great

Parental choice is a great opportunity for parents to have control of their students destiny but trying to achieve that within the framework of a controlled choice plan will be quite difficult.  As Abigail Thernstrom, Harvard professor, said at a conference this year "No one in education has been talking about controlled choice assignment plans for decades."  Why, because they are all control and little to no choice."

You may have found the only

You may have found the only remaining sane Harvard professor.  Was she riding a unicorn?

Funny. That was my


That was my contention all along. How can one have "controlled" choice? It is a bit of an oxymoron... and from a marketing/outreach perspective, pretty clueless terminology to use.

School choice--when JT

School choice--when JT framed choice in the neighborhood plan it was around the concept that there would be themed academies.  What will the attributes/attraction educational theme be for the HS achievement schools?  The three HS near me are achievement schools but in what regard.  Why would I select one over the other.   Which is my math/science themed school, my computer-themed school, my arts/dance/poetry school.  This is what many of the parents expected in regard to expanding choice in academics/calendars, etc.  Not tell me where level 1/2 and 3/4 students are making the most growth.  Obviously growth is important but what if teachers move, retire, get riffed, etc.  Give me a reason to "choose" the magnets are off the table so now what????   And show us the algorithms.

I really believe all this

I really believe all this "school choice" talk is just greasing the slippery slope that is going to take us to vouchers.

They've already lifted the charter cap.  Now they're hyping "school choice".  The easy next step is to start handing out vouchers to add another layer of "choice".  I'm not a big conspiracy theorist, but this really does seem to be the path we're on.

I see the "school choice"

I see the "school choice" and the heavy weighting of proximity to home as the first step toward a move back to city based schools.   In 5-7 years, as people move toward the blue plan and out of grandfathering in, I would expect to see most people in Apex in Apex schools, Cary in Cary Schools, etc,etc.    And with a further increase in Wake county school student size, I could see a movement toward city based schools happening.  

Either case, vouchers or

Either case, vouchers or "city schools", is a dramatic improvement over the previous decade of nonsense.  Of the two, vouchers is preferable as that is a real, true school choice model.

I thought this was going to

I thought this was going to be the post where you asked why anyone should listen to John Who?

No.  You should listen to

No.  You should listen to John.  Unlike the liberal bloggers, he actually list a number of facts to support his argument.

JT needs a job and landed a

JT needs a job and landed a good one, but for him to think that what he is doing doesn't present conflict of interest issues is ridiculous.  I don't listen to him any more because his credibility is null and void.  You can't say that because what you are doing benefits children that HOW you are doing it doesn't matter.  John will likely get fewer people listening the more his credibility slips.


I think sheartw was referring to John Hood, not Tedesco.

As to the view that JT's position is a conflict of interest, please look up the board policy and state statute regarding conflicts. In general, the rule is that he cannot VOTE in matters where he is conflicted. Until that happens, there's no conflict. A generalized "his personal interests may conflict with the district's some time in the future" isn't sufficient, because Everybody suffers from that malady.

ignored in the past

Haven't the majority members ignored that in the past?  Off the top of my head I know that Prickett voted on having her node (including her child) reassigned and Tedesco proposed and then voted to have his node reassigned to a better school.


If I recall correctly, nobody at Tedesco's home would have been impacted by the reassignment.  And, even so, I'm still not sure that would matter -- the question is really more one of pecuniary interest.  Suppose a motion came to end the magnet program; should every board member with a child in the magnet program abstain from voting?  See board policy 1036.

at the time

You will no doubt recall that at the time it occured it was pointed out that he had gotten his neighborhood moved to a school with a better reputation, which would probably increase it's desirability and property values.

I'm assuming you are agreeing that Prickett's vote was a conflict.

Get a box of tissues

and use them to wipe your tears because you've been whining that same sad bunch of nothing too long.


While I remember that accusation, I think it's tenuous and an impossible standard.

School board members have to live in the district.  They also have to make decisions on student assignment.  And, when they decide to make one student assignment change, they are implicity deciding not to make others.  If a decision TO move your node to another school is a conflict then so should a decision NOT TO move your node.  But, that means that no board member could ever vote on any student assignment plan, which is a preposterous situation.  To my knowledge, no current or past board member has ever abstained from a vote because his/her neighborhood was affected.

The standards for conflicts are drawn narrowly -- you have to have a pecuniary interest in a matter you're voting on.  Neither Tedesco nor Prickett came close to a conflict.

My mistake (wrong John)

My mistake (wrong John) thanks for pointing that out Bob.  It will be interesting to see how JT's paid business dealings/interests from his non-profit and his paid service on the BOE come to a head.  Statutes be what they may my personal ethics drive me to avoid any appearance of conflict (holds me to a higher standard ).   Maybe his dealings will turn out to be the best thing to ever happen to WCPSS, maybe not.

Any issue with a BOE members

Any issue with a BOE members spouse being mayor of one of the cities/towns the BOE serves?

How about being a realtor, a developer or real estate attorney?  Any issue(s) with those potential conflicts of interest?

Yes, for the record I

Yes, for the record I objected to those as well.  My only alternative is to run for office myself except I live in D8 so that won't likely fly either.

Cars View All
Find a Car
Jobs View All
Find a Job
Homes View All
Find a Home

Want to post a comment?

In order to join the conversation, you must be a member of newsobserver.com. Click here to register or to log in.

About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.