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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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John Tedesco disputing allegations made about him in Carolinian article

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Wake County school board vice chairman John Tedesco is accusing Cash Michaels of spreading lies in his new article in The Carolinian newspaper.

In the article, Michaels speculates on what could happen if Heather Losurdo wins the runoff election and Tedesco becomes the new board chairman. Michaels rips into Tedesco for things such as his firing as borough administrator in New Jersey, calling himself a family man, speaking at Tea Party rallies and his public war of words with board member Debra Goldman.

In a letter written today after the story was published, Tedesco tells Michaels "try not to use so many lies with only a sprinkle of truth."

Much of the article focuses on Tedesco's tenure as borough administrator of Highlands, N.J. Citing local newspaper articles and unnamed sources, Michaels writes that Tedesco's tenure "was a failure."

Citing an unnamed source, Michaels charges that Tedesco was fired because of poor job performance.

Michaels writes in the article that Tedesco has "repeatedly refused" to be interviewed by him. Tedesco says that Michaels has been unfair to him since before he was sworn into office in 2009.

In his letter, Tedesco points back to this March 2010 N&O article where one of the town councilmen who voted to fire him said it was for political reasons.

Since Oct. 11, critics of the board majority have repeatedly used the possibility of Tedesco becoming chairman to encourage Kevin Hill's supporters to come out for the runoff.

Below is the letter Tedesco said he tried to post today to Michaels' blog. Tedesco says the website rejected his attempts to post it as a comment.

Cash,
I understand it serves you well to keep demonizing me. Try not to use so many lies with only a sprinkle of truth. Not that I could ever correct all your lies, but let's try a few.

Outright lie #1. I NEVER attempted to take credit for a rise in 2008 graduation rates because it never happened. I have repeated numerously that our graduation rates declined 5 consecutive years in a row from 05-06. Only now in 2011 did they rise for which I credit our teachers, principals and students.

Lie #2. I was never FORCED to apologize to Mrs. Goldman for my inappropriate emotional moment. I chose to apologize to her publicly within 24 hours because that is what human beings do – they make mistakes and then seek forgiveness. I made a mistake and sought forgiveness out of humility.

3. The Highland's job had been covered by the N&O. In their article over a year and a half ago they interviewed Democrat and former Council President who noted it was politics and I was "better qualified." SEE quote and link below. I also later received a personal letter of recommendation from the Mayor and Council President which I will gladly share with you.

"" But John Urbanski, a former town councilman who voted for Tedesco's ouster, says the decision was based on town politics, not job performance. He noted that Tedesco got the three months' severance pay allowed city employees who are let go for political reasons.

"Going back and looking at it now, he was probably better qualified than some of the other guys we've had," Urbanski said in an interview, adding that the board went through four borough administrators during his eight-year tenure on the council. ""

Read more: http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/03/21/399636/wakes-point-man-on-school-zoning.html#ixzz1bzRQwjyQ

Now you did sprinkle a piece of truth here and there. I did list the position on my Facebook page as "City Manager" since most people outside of a few states are not familiar with the term "Borough" as another term for town or city. Most folks know the chief executive of a municipal form of government as a city manager.

Also, you note I have no "natural" children. Cute dig Cash. As you know, when my momma died I was left to help raise my 3 youngest siblings (I am the oldest of 6) through Garner middle and high. Two of those being children with special needs so I was the one attending to them with the doctors and in the IEP meetings in school and so on. I know that may be un-"natural" you, but they are pretty natural for me since I have been changing their diapers since they were born. Why you went there when your friend Kevin Hill never had children is surprising to me.

Now, the question of chair is not even being discussed but you appear to enjoy fear mongering. The board will look at that matter when the time comes and make that choice based on all input. Why not talk about the issues in this election. You candidate Mr. Hill wants to change the assignment plan to busing for test scores and quota set-aside seats sending children randomly around the county. Mrs. Losurdo wishes to support parental choice along with proximity and stability in student assignment. That is the issue - let the people decide what they want.

As for leadership we can look at Kevin Hill's first two years when he
ascended to chairman and my first two years.

With Kevin's leadership the board reassigned 24,000 children, forced mandatory year round assignments that led to law-suits with parents, forced parents to leave work early every week with Wacky Wednesdays, fired 600 teachers, suspended 21,000 students, cut programs and watched academic performance decline.

In my time we protected teachers in the face of great budget cuts, added programs like 10 new themed academies for STEM and Global Initiatives, hired new quality leadership in Superintendent Tata, presided over academic gains, and launched the Economically Disadvantaged Task Force (EDTF) which I chair with a bi-partisan group of community leaders. In leading the EDTF, I appointed a bi-partisan sub-committee to develop an Equity & Equality policy, pushed for greater opportunity for all children to get onto advanced course tracks, increased math placements, pushed changes in discipline practices and reduced suspensions in an effort to stop the school to prison pipeline.

Stop spewing hate Cash - put your anger down. Let’s put children first. I will keep you in my prayers.

God Bless,
John Tedesco

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Unprecedented

Cash did not mention it in his article, but it is also absolutely unprecedented that a sitting board member has campaigned openly and actively against another sitting board member.   I can only remember sitting board members endorsing fellow board members in their re-election campaigns, never endorsing challengers as happened this year.  More evidence of the crass partisanship that has been introduced since the 2009 election.  How can a board member expect to work in a collegial way with a fellow board member after that?  Of course, the Repubicans on the board have not worked in a collegial manner with the minority members from the get-go, so I guess it wouldn't really be any different.  Another reason Losurdo should not be elected, making Tedesco chairman.

?

Both the GA and Congress seem to function pretty well even though they often campaign against each other.  Further, in your examples of "endorsing fellow board members," what happens when a challenger wins -- wouldn't there be the same bad blood?  Besides, if Losurdo is victorious, it won't be an issue.

It will be an issue because

It will be an issue because the person who has caused much, if not most, of the divisiveness will then be chairman.  I believe that if the Democrats are in the majority they will take pains to be collegial and respectful of the entire board. 

You must be in that 9% of the nation who still approves of Congress, and I doubt the GA has an approval rating that is much better.  I certainly don't believe there are very many who believe that those bodies "function pretty well".  Congress, in particular, is COMPLETELY disfunctional and unable to get anything done to improve our problems, largely because the Republicans absolutely refuse to compromise in any way and instead filibuster or block anything Democrats or Obama tries to do, even when it is the very proposal they made themselves! If Obama agrees to it, they'll disavow it.  I certainly don't want our supposedly non-partisan school board to be functioning in that partisan way.

So...

First of all, I'm not convinced that Tedesco will be chairman.

Secondly, Congress has a lot of problems, but I don't think the fact that they occasionally campaign against each other is one of them.  Am I among the 9%?  Well, every time Congress does something, things seem to get worse.  So, to the extent that they're not capable of doing anything, I think that's good.  I guess if we're going to have a corrupt Congress, I'd rather have one that's impotent as well.

Huh?

Why would you think Tedesco would NOT be chairman?  He is the current vice-chairman and has been leading the charge more so than Margiotta.   Goldman would never get the support of her fellow Republicans.   Malone and Prickett are largely silent rubber stamps, as would be Losurdo if she were elected.   Unless the Republicans decided to prop Malone for short stint to help his resume for his non-WCPSS election campaign?   There isn't really another viable option beyond Tedesco.

The only thing anyone needs

The only thing anyone needs to know about Cash Michaels is his unrelenting support for Crystal Mangum in the Duke Lacrosse Case. His coverage of that story is infamous for his refusal to believe in the innocence of the Duke Lacrosse Case, long after everyone had dismissed the allegations against them.

He's a pathetic loser, and a sorry excuse for a reporter.

I'm Still Waiting...

for the NAACP to apologize for going after the Duke Lacrosse players the way they did.

The NAACP NEVER apologizes for anything.

The NAACP NEVER apologizes for anything. If they did, that is all they would be doing because their very existence relies on lies and innuendo.

...

Why doesn't Cash Michaels write under his real name? Is that a journalistic thing?

What's his real name?

What's his real name?

Dear Cousin Joe-Bob-Tim Fred…..

After takin a quick look at that there encyclopedia of yourn, I saw

There are a mess o’ criters that boroughs……chipmunks, ground hogs, and rabbits

There is that fancy author of Tarzan……Edgar Rice Burroughs

I figure there are five of them thar thangs in New York City

That avant-guarde writer feller William S. Burroughs wrote about them beatnicks

What kind of Boroughs, Burroughs is JT takin bout? 
 

Let me spit out my chaw of tobaccy...

 and understand that

"... I did list the position on my Facebook page as "City Manager" since most people outside of a few states are not familiar with the term "Borough" as another term for town or city. Most folks know the chief executive of a municipal form of government as a city manager.

Now...I ain't no high-faluin up-north-educated municipal chief executive-type feller like JT, but I think I have a country cousin with a dictionary that knows what a Borough is.

In the words of Bugs Bunny....something that does talk like JT....what a maroon !

 

Mr. Tarheel

The crap you just wrote reflects your morality.  

What a mean spirited thing to say about someone - regardless of his political persuasion who took responsibility for his family.

Wow what a jerk you are.

I deleted the comment from

I deleted the comment from Joe Tarheel that's referred to here.

Joe Tarheel's tasteless remark

Mr. Tarheel's dig at my family was in regards to my brother Chris, not one of the 3 youngest siblings I mentioned. Samantha, Allie, and James who all attended and graduated Wake Schools - actually Allie is sitting next to me now as she does nightly while we help her with her Wake Tech homework - she is a sweatheart.

Chris is older than them and did not and moved down here till some time after the rest of my family. He lived in North Raleigh with his girlfriend whom he had the domestic incident with. He is doing better with a drug treatment program and a G.E.D. class - so I will keep him in my prayers as well.

You Sir

are a psychopath.  Get help.

Good example

Now that is a good example of an attack with nothing more than name calling.

Your lack of off spring

Should never be an issue, nor should it be for Kevin, although Ms. Losurdo apparently disagrees. 

Nor should your brother. 

That said, you frankly owe Mr. Hill an apology for stating that 'for 35 years, he as been part of the problem."  Kevin has dedicated his adult life to the children of Wake County, and as a fellow Board member, deserves a greater measure of professionalism and respect from you. 

Our schools are by no measure perfect, but you would do well to remember they have been an integral part of what has made us the best place to live and work in America.  Enough in fact to draw you and your family to our wonderful community.

Hill IS part of the problem.

Hill IS part of the problem. He supported and even presided over the failed and discriminatory status quo policies that the public rejected.

?

although Ms. Losurdo apparently disagrees. 

Citation for that?  Frankly, I wasn't aware that Hill doesn't have kids until this post of yours -- I had just assumed they were grown.  The only way it should matter is if he had some and ate them or something.

well they do not allow links

well they do not allow links to be posted, but if you can piece this together, approximately at the 25 minute mark.

http://www.c2athis
 
week.org/CMS/podcast
 

 

No... That's not enough

She actually made a similar point to one I've made here....  Hill supporters are criticizing her because she has a kid in a charter school, and then asserting that this disqualifies her from being on the school board.  Well, those supporters' candidate -- Kevin Hill  -- doesn't have kids in the system at all; Losurdo at least has one.  So, those supporters are being hypocritical.

Personally, I don't think it matters whether a candidate has kids, or doesn't have them, or decides that the public school system is appropriate for their kids, or decides that a different enivornment is appropriate for those kids.  But, if part of Hill's campaign strategy (or, at least, the strategy of the groups supporting him) is to take Losurdo to task for that, then, yeah, it's fair to point out that Hill has never had kids in the system either.

(Note: I only fast-forwarded to the 24 minute mark and listened until they changed the subject.  So, if there's something else about that podcast you don't like, I didn't hear it.  Personally, I find Steve Noble a bit overbearing.)

Mr. Hui

why would you delete my comment about Tedesco's brother?   All I did was state a fact.  

Tedesco is professing how good his 'parenting' skills are to overcome the fact that he has no children in the Wake County Schools.   If his 'skills' are so solid, why would one not ask the question about his brother's criminal troubles?

sounds like a logical question to ask of someone who is making decisions for other's children.

This is why I generally let

This is why I generally let you guys run at it. I get complaints if I leave comments alone, which is my standard practice, and when I rarely delete them. I know the comment you made has been similar to ones I've seen been deleted from the main site when the issue was brou8ght up there.

Why is Tedesco making this about Hill?

I have some sympathy for Tedesco here.

But he apparently cannot turn off the politics. Why is his reponse so full of attacks on Hill? What does Hill have to do it?

Tedesco has worked with Hill for two years. He may have to work with him for another two. Why attack him personally in this way?

No attack on Hill

I certainly did not attack Kevin. I simply pointed to his results on the school board. HE was on the board when they implemented Wacky Wednesdays, fired hundreds of teachers, converted Wakefield Elementary to year round and more - I was not. I did not call him names, discuss his nature, talk about his career, or anything even remotely resembling an attack.  I did ask why his supporters wish to keep talking about me not having children when he does not either. That is just fact not attack.

I get along fine with Kevin and on several occassion have said he is a nice enough guy who I occassionally joke around with at the board table. I just disagree with his values and votes and do not believe his votes have been in the best interests of families. That is no secret nor attack, but is a matter of opinion and regular debate at the board table.

Oh, yes you do and every

Oh, yes you do and every Teacher and Principal in this county with your inane, ridiculous remarks.  YOU ARE PATHETIC! 

Add to the dialog

Unless you have something substantial to add once every 5 posts or so it will become increasingly suspicious that you are a political troll. Tell us your personal story w WCPSS & then your comments will be more real - for me at least.

I'll take it as a

I'll take it as a compliment, but I know you don't meant it as such.  The fact that you post here often makes me think you're on someone's payroll, or at the very least you are one of their fans. It doesn't matter because this is not about you, or me.  This online tool is not a place where people converse.  It's a place where people pontificate their opinions, nothing else.  It doesn't add any value at all to this community.  It's so easy to have total control of the shouting match when it's not face to face.

The fact that some board members actually post here means that they're looking to see what a small group of voters think.  Unlike your friends, the Civitas, who tell their groupies to call candidates on their home or cell phones, which is dispicable to my values, I prefer to let them know what I think of them a little more publicly. 

Uh...

This online tool is not a place where people converse.

I disagree.  It is certainly a place where people have their opinions, but there is actually a good bit of conversation that goes on, usually in the form of reasoned (and often heated) debate. There are occasionally people who, like you, post anonymously for the purpose of lobbing a few grenades.  But, they're more of a distraction than the norm.

Yes you did

"talk about his career" ..... I believe your rant on Hill indeed attacks his career.  You "get along fine with Kevin" because he chooses to ignore your rants, not because of any behavior your exhibit.

You, Mr. Tedesco, have lost all reasonableness and will say anything to promote your ideological agenda.  You've lost sight of what is best for Wake County students, and only what is best for you to promote your shortsighted agenda, exhibited by your rants on conservative radio.  Wake County isn't buying it anymore.

I'll start believing you care about our most vulnerable when you start developing an all encompassing plan to educate our most vulnerable, not just assign them closest to home. Not addressing the academic needs your vision creates nor the resulting funding needed from it shows your lack of vision for these students you profess to care the most for.  This community shares your concern for these students, just not your approach. Had you approached your goals with an all encompassing vision, bipartisanship and enlisted entire community support, you would have accomplished your goals. Instead, you decided the only way to get what you want was with political support and without compromise. You have failed. This is not about you, John.  Its about the kids.  You lost that somewhere along the way.

This sums up my problem with

This sums up my problem with the candidates who support "neighborhood schools" and "fiscal responsibility" at the same time. We know that high poverty schools are extremely expensive and have marginal success. It's irresponsible to advocate for their creation, without first mounting a massive campaign to generate revenue.  Transportation "savings" could not cover the difference. Instead, all they've done is cut spending and made no effort to secure more funding. When you reduce school-level administration and Teacher Assistant hours, you have run out of "fat" and are cutting to the marrow.  

And how has years of busing

And how has years of busing kids around improved the performance of students that were in 'high poverty" schools? It hasn't. It has diluted the number failing from one school and spread it across several schools to mask the problem.

And here's my beef...

The years the system was the best balanced by poverty, academic achievement was at its highest, and slid with the increase of more and more schools over 40% F&R.  (not saying I was satisfied with the level of achievement here - we can alway improve).  This was brought to light by John Gilbert in a board speech about a year ago.  Even JT has argued that we have had an  increase in the number of higher poverty schools under F&R assignment focus, but he somehow missed in the beginning 3 or 4 years of using F&R, we had the lowest number of schools over 40% poverty AND academic performance at its highest, with McNeal's 95% at grade level focus on academics.  It was only when the county grew with the housing boom, and it was more difficult to balance by income due to geographics that schools become income polarized, as did academic performance.  IMHO F&R balancing could not keep up with the growth, but it did work to the extent it could in the beginning when it was doable within reason.  Seems to me we've proven our own theorem - the best academic performance for the money is in schools balanced within a determined hi/lo poverty range and should be the take away from that era of student assignment. But hey - we've thrown out poverty.  I'm happy with using predicted academic performance, since that's what schools are about anyway, or should be, and it does seem to correlate with income.  So, tell me again, historically speaking, why we think proximity is the holy grail for student performance?  After looking at the choice plan's unveiling, it seems Tata agrees with attempting balance, to the extent that he could create it, given the current sitting board's pulse with regards to set asides.  I wonder if there would have been so many Yes votes had this board seen the actual choices?  This "ain't no" neighborhood schools plan, by far.

So many facts in error here,

So many facts in error here, not sure where to begin.

When we first transitioned to SES busing, there were 8 schools over the 40% threshold. That number did not stay steady for 3-4 years. It immediately began to increase. I was traveling the county back in 2002, citing the increases in schools that exceeded the threshold.

Also, you conveniently exclude the fact that the F&R rate was in the high teens / low twenties back then. The F&R rate has been steadily increasing over the last 10 years, and is now closer to 35%. It is logistically impossible to balance schools around the 40% threshold, when your F&R rate is approaching 40%.

Regarding McNeal's focus on 95% achievement, you do realize that it was called "Goal 2000," i.e. it had nothing to do with SES balancing, which was not introduced until 2000. Furthermore, everyone has come to realize that, while we did come close to achieving 95% of kids in 3rd/8th grade at grade level (I think we got as high as 92%), the primary reason behind this was the ease of the EOG tests during that time (answering 28 out of 80 questions correctly was enough to pass the 8th grade math EOG). When the tests were renormed in 2005, scores plummeted.

Also, when the benchmarks were incredibly low, low SES students in just about every other NC district scored as well as those in Wake, despite the fact that none of those counties used SES busing.

...

My concern with this plan is not that low-performing areas have high-achieving choices -- it is how Evans, Sutton, Martin, Kushner and Hill (if re-elected) will utilize them. They drone on and on about not creating high-poverty schools but never talk about how they will avoid them while still allowing parental choice for all.

What if parents in low-performing areas value proximity in assignment? Would they allow parents to trump the system and create a low-performing and/or high-poverty school? Will they really put education first and allow all parents to have a voice in the process? Or will they continue to think the system knows best and make decisions for them?

How is it putting education

How is it putting education first to "allow parents to trump the system and create a low-performing and/or high poverty school?"  Sounds like Alice in Wonderland where down is up and up is down to call purposefully creating a low-performing school putting education first.  That's why it should be "controlled choice", as it is called, and each of the four pillars described in the plan should have equal weight.

That is the root of the

That is the root of the problem. How do you know that a school populated by choice with low income students will be low performing?

So you are saying that if a neighborhood of low income parents want to send their kids to a nearby school we must somehow prevent that?

We better quickly publicize the nodes where TPTB have determined that parents are unable to choose for their children so that people know what they are moving into. The arrogance of this thinking amazes me, and especially that so many people buy into this with Hill's 'achievement' rhetoric.

They've been saying that for a long time

"So you are saying that if a neighborhood of low income parents want to send their kids to a nearby school we must somehow prevent that?"

Yes, that is what they are essentially saying. One of the often-repeated concerns of "diversity" policy supporters about parental choice is that too many low-income families won't choose the "right" schools to accomplish the level of balancing desired by those who think they know what is "best".*

Low-income people are often not allowed to think for themselves - that level of respect is often reserved for the middle-class and affluent who have the clout.

In certain areas (magnet areas) where that would create a high-poverty school, prevention is the case because of the caps. It will be interesting to see what schools in choice order that low income parents who live near magnets select versus the percent that get those choices.

* - there is some historical evidence of when given choice, low-income families not necessarily choosing non-low income over low-income situations. The problem is that those who think they know "best" often blame that on low-income families making "bad" or "illogical" decisions rather than getting to the root of those decisions, which fits back into the arrogance of the low-income can't be allowed to think/choose for themselves concept.

You already know the answers

You already know the answers to your questions.

The truth is, the recent elections and the pending run-off are not about policy or education or the students, it is about the left-wing doing what they do best to gain power, demonizing, race-hustling, and character assisination. Without the constant demonizing from the extremely well-funded left-wing radicals, the blatantly partisan local media and the outside hard-left partisan agitators with no legitimate skin in the game, Losurdo, Margiotta, Peyton, Williams, and Matson would be waiting to be sworn in.

...

Of course I do. But no one vocalizes it. No one plays it out. It's not just about setting seats aside in case the parents who live in low-performing nodes want an achievement choice. It's about controlling choice for all famlies. Magnet parents will continue to be offered long-term stability and priority in continued assignment but the rest of us can go pound dirt.

Stability will be handled by MYR. Choice will be controlled based on where you live (which = how much money you make, which = the color of your skin). Education first will mean making sure the system can control the outcome - when it should mean providing educational programs and resources.

let's keep in mind that Hill

let's keep in mind that Hill has also been in favor of spreading around PTA funds to all schools....that's his version of choice, I suppose....he chooses where that money goes.

Um...

I know that's been discussed here and there.  Do you have any sort of link for where Hill proposed it?  That's certainly something which should be made public before the run-off.

Hill did not propose it

Urban myth and cynicism.  The impact of PTA funds (and booster funds) was a brief mention in the Curriculum Audit a few years ago.   Of course we all know "fat chance" is the appropriate response to anyone seriously suggesting parent raised funds be spread evenly across schools as parental backlash would prevail.  It was a response of cynicism from Millberg folks remember, but some were too dense to understand that. If Hill said anything, it was another layer of sarcasm at the expressed cynicism of Millberg. By the way, I was at that board meeting, saw it all. The room and the press chuckled.

 If you want to read what all the fuss was about, go to the school system website and use the search box for 'curriculum audit'.  Go to paragraph one on page 172 (190 of 418) and also page 179 (197 of 418) last sentence of paragraph 3.  Yes, its a slow night, blame it on World Series withdrawal.

 

well

here's the thing, I *did* but my desktop died, so I no longer have anything saved since 2006.  I do remember it was an N&O article and back in the Millberg era, because I do believe she was in favor of that as well. so you can try to JGI.

Oh dear...

I will see what I can find.  Thanks.

I don't know how long ago you lost your computer, but there are ways to retrieve the information without spending a ton of money -- if the disk claims to be bad, give SpinRite a try.  

*sigh*

thanks for that, but it won't even power up.  "it's dead, Jim".

I know it was a whole article though ....if this decade old Compaq with 11mbps would cooperate I'd be searching to.

Ahh..

Well, I'm not telling you this so you can pull the article for me -- I'll find it.  But, if the computer doesn't power up, you've probably blown something other than the disk drive.  You ought to be able to open it up, remove the hard drive, stick it in a USB enclosure and pull all the information off of it.   Find a computer guy in your office or neighborhood -- it's not really a big deal. 

thanks!

thanks!

(didn't find it, but did find the one where Lori said "feeling sorry for those folks (that missed the deadine for opting out of MYR) was like feeling sorry for someone who doesn't have a job and didn't fill out an application"  such a classy lady was she.  )

Thank you.

Thank you.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.
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