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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Magnet school fears and the school board elections

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Supporters of the diversity policy are trying to mobilize magnet school parents for Election Day.

Former school board member Roxie Cash and former Wake County PTA Council President Diana Bader sent out an e-mail message today warning that a victory by supporters of neighborhood schools would lead to the end of the magnet program.

Jennifer Mansfield, one of the leaders of the Wake Schools Community Alliance, calls the assertions "fear mongering on election eve." She denies that a win by WSCA candidates would lead to the end of magnet schools.

It's a fair question to ask what would happen if the four WSCA candidates win and join Ron Margiotta to form a new majority on the school board. Margiotta made waves this year when he discussed elimination of the magnet program as a cost-cutting measure.

One thing to consider is that if the thousands of students who are now assigned out of magnet schools are returned home, where's the room for the magnet kids?

Here's the e-mail message from Bader and Cash:

Wake Diversity Policy Supports All Children, Magnet Programs and Taxpayers

Dear Community Leader:

The harsh reality of “neighborhood schools” is resegregation. Period. Another reality: Neighborhoods in Wake County are not socio-economically diverse.

A significant ingredient of Wake’s Diversity Policy is Magnet Schools which one of several objectives is to reduce high concentrations of poverty by drawing students from the suburbs. A policy of resegregation or “neighborhood schools” indicates the Magnet Schools won’t be needed! We’ll find ourselves wondering, “Where did all the magnet schools go?”

Thus, with “neighborhood schools,” the 10,000 to 26,000 children that come into the magnet schools, depending on where the “neighborhood school” attendance lines are drawn, will now go to their “neighborhood schools.” Where will these children have seats? Resegregation creates the need to build more schools and also add more resources to support the high poverty schools and children.

More schools and more resources require more money and the source of more money is more taxes!

Currently, with the School System’s Diversity Policy, 80% of all children and 91% of elementary school children attend a school within a 5 mile radius of home!

Let’s make certain that each and every child has access to the best educational opportunities available regardless of race or socio-economic status and that we keep our Magnet Schools without increasing our taxes. Wake County ’s Diversity Policy has proven to be the most cost effective program to ensure that every child gets this chance.

The children and taxpayers of Wake County need Lois Nixon, Rita Rakestraw , Karen Simon and Horace Tart on the School Board who share this vision for each and every child.

Please vote tomorrow, Tuesday, October 6th.


Diana Bader, Cary citizen

Roxie Cash, Raleigh citizen

Here's Mansfield's response on her Voice for Equity blog:

Fear Mongering on Election Eve

It has come to my attention that an email containing falsehoods is circulating this evening. Written by Diana Bader and Roxie Cash, the email claims that if the 4 candidates supported by WSCA get elected, it will mean the disappearance of magnet schools. This is FALSE. None of our candidates have ever said that they would get rid of magnet schools. This rumor has appeared before and when asked directly if he would get rid of magnet schools in low income areas, Chris Malone responded "No. Why would we get rid of a successful program?" Other candidates have expressed interest in expanding magnet opportunities and ending the magnet acceptance policy that discriminates against low income children and any child assigned to a school over 40% F&R.

Supporters of the status-quo are willing to say anything they have to to maintain control of our school system. WSCA and the candidates we support, John Tedesco, Chris Malone, Debra Goldman and Deborah Prickett do not advocate for the removal of magnets nor do we advocate throwing everything out and starting from scratch. These candidates will do what current and former Board of Education members have been unwilling to do: honestly assess what is working and what is not working in WCPSS and make recommendations for improvement.

I urge you all to see through the lies and half-truths being spread and vote for positive change tomorrow!


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Even thought I've known

Even thought I've known since moving here almost 3 yrs ago how bogus all of the status quo, L'user, supportwcpss and WhalerCane arguements are, I could not have imagined how much they have fallen apart in the last few months or so. L'user's desperation has become laughable, really. No substance, lack luster research, posting data full of holes, etc. Chaboard and others are trying to make anything stick, but it just isn't working. Its kind of sad, honestly. Take a couple of days off L'user, I think you need some rest. Perhaps we can have some meaningful debates again when you've had a few days to sleep on it.



Magnet program reviews were

Magnet program reviews were recently done by the CURRENTLY SEATED Board.  I'm sure Keung or a magnet parent would tell Rev.HD that these programs are looked at periodically and some have been pulled and placed at other schools.  I don't know what any future board would do with magnets but to pretend that it is not be reviewed currently is bogus. 

I also remember another one

I also remember another one of the four WSCA endorsees advocate ending the magnet programs and putting a little of their programming in each school. I can't remember if it was Goldman or Prickett. Part of the beauty of the magnet program is the economic diversity! And there's no way they're putting an orchestra and band in every elementary school without raising revenue.

I'm voting for Lois Nixon. The WSCA agenda will lead to a mass exodus from Reedy Creek when it becomes an extremely high f&r school, and the resulting decline in education quality and property values. If Goldman and her crew end the magnet program, or allow everyone to "escape" schools near affordable housing, then that school will take a serious nosedive. And the kids left behind will not be helped by any amount of money thrown their way.

Now the WSCA seems to be backing off and saying "no, no, I didn't mean that." You had months and months of people telling you the same things as in the diversity conference this morning, and only just now you say you didn't mean a total end to our diversity efforts? I'm not buying it.

Lois has proposed building on the best in magnet programs, and expanding their reach. She is also going to work for assignment stability. She's the best choice for Cary and Wake County.

Opt-out mess already hurt Reedy Creek Elementary

What do you mean there WILL be an exodus? Don't know if you are talking about Reedy Creek Elementary or Middle School, but there has already been a lot of people leaving Reedy Creek Elementary due to the damage inflicted by the ridiculous policy of having 6 other schools opt-out to RCE last year.

This caused the enrollment to explode from 600 to 800 students and the curriculum level to suffer in the classrooms because of all the new students who were discipline problems or ESL students. RCE was already struggling with its AYP goals and EOG scores and should never have been chosen as a opt-out school for SIX schools. These opt-outs were due to mandatory year round opt-outs (4 schools), AYP unmet goals opt-out (Briarcliff - who still can opt out to RCE this year even though Briarcliff's EOGs are at 81% and RCE's were at 67%), and an opt-out for a school that was capped. The school has a great principal and some good teachers, and I hear things are improving this year -- unfortunately, the damage done last year was a big hit for the school. The WCPSS staff should have seen this coming with all its statistics.RCE was ignored by the WCPSS, except when they wanted to dump a lot of extra students on it.

RCE is at 43% F&R with all these opt-out students from all over; and you're saying a neighborhood school would make this higher?  Don't think so, particularly if all the non-F&R folks who have left RCE already could somehow be lured back by more across-the-board consistency in the classroom and some innovative programs. But no matter what, non-F&R families who have not yet left should not be forced to stay at any school by not allowing them options, as is being talked about now. 

"the new students who were

"the new students who were discipline problems or ESL students. ....RCE is at 43% F&R with all these opt-out students from all over"

Is that why Goldman opted out of Reedy Creek and has her children in a magnet to escape the "new students" (we know what that means) and F&R's kids?

Ah, no, I'm talking about

Ah, no, I'm talking about Reedy Creek Elementary here - her child is no longer elementary school age. Martin is a middle school.

Martin is one of the magnet options for our area, and everyone has the option and the right to apply for it. My neighbor's child has attended Martin all 3 years. Goldman's  older child is at Cary High -- not a magnet. 

And I never said anybody left to escape the new students - you said that  - the parents who left did so due to the effect of the overall enrollment, which was overwhelming. The enrollment number itself caused discipline problems. Teachers were being added over a month into school.  Parents have to advocate for their children, and the effect of too many opt-outs had a negative impact on their child's education, then it is their responsibility to try to change it (many have) or to find another option. RCE has ALWAYS had a high F&R percentage (which is one reason why RCE should not have been an opt-out for so many schools), but families - including Goldman's stayed throughout elementary. So don't even go there. 

I thought non-F&Rs like

I thought non-F&Rs like Goldman could not get into magnet schools .... isn't that the general complaint?

Or perhaps Goldman just

Or perhaps Goldman just wanted her child to be able to take more than 1 elective or wanted her child to be able to enjoy the extra academic opportunities that are prohibited at non-magnet schools. 


For somebody who is ticked off that his kids have to be at Athens with so many of 'those kids' (as you put it), you sure like slinging the mud.  

Your comments reek of

Your comments reek of desperation...and overwhelming ignorance. I am so glad most voters are smarter and more aware than you.

So Why Hasn't This Magnet Issue Come Up Before Today?

If this was such a big issue how's come it's the proverbial cat that was pulled out of the bag at the last minute.  We've been debating issues for months and never has the discussion been about magnets being dropped all together.  What Ron said about magnets if I remember correctly is that why do we need magnets if the BOE now can assign anyone to any school they choose.  He was asking that rhetorical question when Wakecares lost the YR ruling!  Other WSCA candiates have said why don't we offer magnet like courses at the outlying schools since a lot of people can't go downtown to the magnets.  Why shouldn't all the students get an opportunity to magnet courses like second language, etc. 

This whole discussion is based on desperation otherwise it would have never been brought up!  The status quo is very nervous and they have reason to be.  They have ignored parents, families and most importantly the kids for way too long!  

Listening skills

If you'd been listening carefully you would have heard us say that we are in favor of diversity, but not in favor of Policy 6200. There was never - not even today - any backtracking. We are friends of diversity, but not supporters of how it is higher priority than fixing the abysmal lack of achievement for low income children. If Policy 6200 isn't helping low income children, what is it doing? What was the point of it again? A social club? I mean, schools are supposed to educate. Period. 

Aren't you outraged at the result the SAS report reveals? OUTRAGED? You should be. 

So, six hours till the polls open. I'm sure you're not going to change your mind now. I just wanted to set the record straight.  

I'm outraged that people are

I'm outraged that people are using the SAS report, without a serious exploration as to the root causes!  It is not accurate to assume that the results are because of policy 6200. The issue merits further study, not and end to economic diversity.  It may be more accurate to say that they are due to underfunding because we rank so low in spending per pupil.  I think people should be outraged by that! Aren't you outraged that we are shortchanging our future?  

Policy 6200 ensures that both wealthy and poor have access to a great education.  So far we provide that great education "on the cheap."  You want to undo that, and not spend any more money.  The math does not add up.  Spend a little more and make the schools better, don't make them worse then spend tons more to fix them!


What SAS Report? Where can I

What SAS Report? Where can I get this?

I agree that more study of

I agree that more study of the report is needed.  It is a pity that the school administration hid this report for as long as they did.  Mr. Holzcom's flippant comments yesterday indicate that either nothing was done for the THREE MONTHS that the administration had it, or that they just planned on it never seeing the light of day.  There is where you should direct your outrage.


I don't know that anybody is suggesting that Policy 6200 is the cause of problems mentioned in the SAS report.  But, Policy 6200 is based on this idea of helping poor students, and the SAS report shows that WCPSS' policies and practices are actually hurting poor students.   

The intent of Policy 6200 may be as you say.  But, in practice, that policy does not ensure that anybody has access to a "great" education.  If it did, then you wouldn't see 40+% of ED students not graduating, or low EOG passing rates among ED students, or the number of "Schools of Progress" littering the county. You wouldn't see middle schools dropping foreign languages but keeping home economics.


I agree with you that we

I agree with you that we should explore the root causes of the issues identified in the SAS report.  However, we can conclude that what WCPSS is doing today is not effective.

 Policy 6200 ensures that both wealthy and poor have access to a great
education.  So far we provide that great education "on the cheap."

The SAS report shows that we have some of the largest academic achievement gaps in the state between rich and poor.  We are not providing access to a great education to both, so why do you think policy 6200 is working?

 You want to undo that, and not spend any more money.  The math does not
add up.  Spend a little more and make the schools better, don't make
them worse then spend tons more to fix them!

Prove to me that busing saves money and gets better results than other alternatives and don't even say "look at Charlotte!"   Charlotte has higher EOG and EOC test scores for ED students and, as noted previously by Mr. Hui, the funding difference is only about $3 million, money that is needed because Charlotte has 50% F&R students compared to 30% for Wake.

How do you get off saying that busing is cheaper and gets the same results?  Prove it.

Current Board to Restrict Access to Magnets on Oct. 27

Policy restricting access to magnets is being proposed by our CURRENT BOARD right now!! 

Folks, access to magnets is already restricted by unpublished formulas and it's about to get worse. Just 2 weeks ago, two CURRENT board members (Goettee and Millberg) requested Mr. Dulaney to develop policy recommendations for further restrictions to be placed on families access to magnet/yr calendar schools if their child's base school is Reedy Creek Elementary, Reedy Creek Middle, or Dillard Middle.

In other words, if you do not participate in the Free & Reduced lunch program, then you will NOT have access to school choice in the magnet or year round calendar schools.

October 27 Mr. Dulaney will present his policy recommendations to the Facilities and Operations subcommittee. If approved, it will go to the Committee of the Whole for a vote.

Please wake up and smell the coffee!

If you want to keep the magnet system alive and well I urge you to contact your CURRENT BoE representative. Ask them to vote AGAINST additional magnet access restrictions.

In the meantime, VOTE FOR GOLDMAN in DISTRICT 9 Goldman's daughter is in the magnet program at Martin Middle. Goldman very much wants to see the Magnet Program continue and be accessible to all students in Wake County. 

Goldman has a spine and won't be pushed around by others ideals. Goldman will preserve our access to magnets and year round calendar choices.

Get out & VOTE!

"In the meantime, 

"In the meantime,  Goldman's daughter is in the magnet program at Martin Middle. Goldman very much wants to see the Magnet Program continue and be accessible to all students in Wake County.  "


I thought she said they were at Reedy Creek?  Is she fleeing the F&R kids getting into a magnet?

A magnet review is needed

Look at the report posted by Hui - "Impact of Magnet, Calendar, and Trransfer Apps on 2009-2010  Base Areas.

Guess which elementary school has the greatest number of students allowed to magnet out of its base ??  STOUGH !

Report has some interesting factoids:

Stough base has 771 students in base , but only 486 of the base attends the base.  I imagine the 80 transfers listed contain a fair number of students who grandfathered at Lacy.

Also, Stough's enrollment is down approx 79 students from last year- from 608 to 529. 


This was a huge argument of

This was a huge argument of the parents in the nodes that were reassigned from Lacy to Stough.  Most of the children that lived in the Bridgeton Park and Olde Raleigh subdivisions did not attend their base school (Stough).

You lie...but, we already

You lie...but, we already knew that.
Is Rita on vacation? We have not heard a peep out of her.

Voice your opinion by voting on Tuesday, Oct. 6th

The children and taxpayers of Wake County need:

Rita Rakestraw - District 1 (W. Forest, Rolesville, Knightdale, Wendell & Zebulon)
Horace Tart - District 2 (Garner and Fuquay)
Karen Simon - District 7 (Morrisville and NW Raleigh)
Lois Nixon - District 9 (Cary)
on the School Board who share this vision for each and every child, not just the affluent.

Please vote tomorrow, Tuesday, October 6th. Polls open 6:30 AM until 7:30 PM!!

For those who want more of

For those who want more of the same and graduation rates of 54% for low-income students, heed the advice of fearorlove. For those who have the best interest of students at heart, value integrity, seek data-driven solutions, and desire academic excellence for all students, run from those candidates as fast as you possibly can.

Snooze ... you don't know

Snooze ... you don't know these kids ... you only came to "care" about them from polling data ... you will forget about them after the election .... they are just a pawn to get Republican gains ....

Care or not care

That would be too bad, I agree. We all need to keep caring. 

Regardless of whether that happens, however, what the numbers we have seen revealed since WSCA started doing data digging show that WCPSS' PR on 'best schools in the universe' don't hold water.

All kids will benefit if we use true, watertight data as our divining rod toward a REAL solution for ALL kids. The 54% data point is so critical because for so long the public was made to feel guilty and shamed into not complaining about reassignments because WCPSS claimed it helped at-risk children. Wellllllll, lo and behold, it was all more smoke and mirrors.

And they still rigidly cling to this sinking piece of driftwood - can you hear their fading cries "But we just KNOW it works, we just KNOW it does." Prove it? They can't - that's the point.

Until we get to a true and solid baseline defining the outlines of the problem we can't determine a solution. Otherwise, its just a will-o-the-wisp, a moving target of individual interpretation.

EVAAS tracks individual children, without labels. Let's do that.  

And by the way, if you care so much why weren't you there yesterday?  

“The 54% data point is so

“The 54% data point is so critical”


Don’t you get it … no one cares about poor minority kids … their parents do not contribute enough or vote enough … this is all about power , not the kids … the kids are pawns to gain power …. The last few months have all been about working backwards from “how do I get elected, stop diversity, stop bussing and get my kids into the local high wealth school” …. Working backward to find every flaw WCPSS has and associate it with diversity and bussing … this all did not start with concerns  about the graduation rate or performance of poor and minority children and move to what is our platform and which candidates can execute that platform … it was a binary choice … team A picks Bob so we pick Sue … Malone, Prickett, Tedesco, and Goldman where not picked from a list of qualified candidates but where the candidates the other team did not want …


“EVAAS tracks individual children, without labels. Let's do that. 


Personally, I always thought that was a better argument … if the SAS program is free than how much could be saved using it over a home-grown program … I am guessing most counties don’t have loads of SAS programmers on staff and depend on SAS or the State to process and interpret the results …. Maybe that is good enough …  

" I am guessing most

" I am guessing most counties don’t have loads of SAS programmers on staff and depend on SAS or the State to process and interpret the results "

you can't be that stupid;

NCDPI ValueAdded Reporting

Virtual Professional Development Sessions

October 2009

SAS® EVAAS® offers four types of interactive professional development opportunities: (Note: The first three types require preregistration!)

1. Onehour web conferences with individual districts to introduce districtspecific reporting to central office staff charged with deployment of EVAAS training through the district. These conferences are appropriate for small groups, if the ability to project computer images and telephone audio is available.


2. Onehour web conferences with individual schools to explore interpretation of the school’s reporting and how it can be used to improve AYP success this year and to proactively prepare for the coming school year.


3. Oneto twohour web conferences to introduce groups of Central Office personnel and/or principals and staff members to EVAAS reporting and interpretation.

Scheduling Conferences 1, 2, or 3: Choose three possible times/dates for your conference. Send your choices, with the order of preference clearly indicated, to Dr. Sandra Horn at sandy.horn@sas.com or contact her at (919) 5315851.

4. Dropin Web Conferences (see attached schedule): 15 to 30 minute live sessions, suitable for all EVAAS users, offered on Mondays and Fridays. Note: It is not necessary to sign up for these brief conferences in advance!

Current Topics:


EVAAS ValueAdded Reports

EVAAS Diagnostic and Performance Diagnostic Reports

Academic AtRisk and Custom Student Reports

EVAAS District Summary Reports for District Level Users

Student Reports and Student Projections

Creating EVAAS Accounts for School and District Users

So a couple of hours is all

So a couple of hours is all it takes and you are a SAS programmer ....

You wish.  WCPSS employs

You wish. 

WCPSS employs SAS programmers, I believe.  I remember seeing a WCPSS job advert once, some while back, for SAS programmers. 

WHAT are you NOT

WHAT are you NOT understanding about this!??  this system EVAAS is ALREADY available and accessible to WCPSS.....you don't need to be a programmer to access it.... obviously have to be smarter than YOU to understand that.

If it is so easy why did it

If it is so easy why did it take a couple of SAS employees to write a report explaining what they found if it was so obvious and why did WSCA have to summarize the findings for the press if the output is so clear?  My point if you had read the post is that WCPSS pays some emloyees for a similar program and that cost could be saved if the alternative was free ... <hint: this was a gimme> ... btw, if it is so easy why not make it available to the general public on the web so no one can hide anything ...

Don't you get it

Don't you get it L'user, just because it is easy for most people doesn't mean there are people at WCPSS who are smart enough to run it, esp. in Holzcom's department.

holey moley 1) cannot

holey moley

1) cannot believe I am feeding the troll,


3)"it is so easy why not make it available to the general public on the web so no one can hide anything"

again, really?  are you that stupid?  PRIVACY issues, these are AFTER ALL children!!!

Releasing data

I agree that there are privacy issues surrounding this data.  But I do think that parents should be allowed to see their child's "expected score".   I also think the outcome measures being used to judge individual schools should be available to the public.  I cannot understand how some schools are making AYP when some of the subgroups have such a low passing rate.  Maybe if the public realized how low the goals must be for some schools/subgroups, there would be more of an outcry. 

yep ... that would be

yep ... that would be convenient on the student's SPAN account where you can see all the other school information ...

well sure, I wasnt' saying I

well sure, I wasnt' saying I didn't agree with public/parents having access......BUT that's not the case....I also think we should because especially now, we know WCPSS "hides" info....if more people knew and NOT just because of an election I would expect (and certainly HOPE) there WOULD be more of an outcry!  especially by "groups" like Calla's and the quickly formed "Friends of Diversity"

I agree

I agree completely.  I'll bet a lot of parents don't even know that these "expected scores" exist.  And I hope you are right about the outcry, but I sometimes feel cynical about all of this. 

Glad to help feed the troll

Glad to help feed the troll today, AW.  I'm trying to get rid of all my left over troll food.  Hopefully, I won't need it tomorrow.

Hang in there AW, just a few

Hang in there AW, just a few hours until the polls close. 

holey moley 1) cannot

holey moley 1) cannot believe I am feeding the troll,


3)"it is so easy why not make it available to the general public on the web so no one can hide anything"

again, really?  are you that stupid?  PRIVACY issues, these are AFTER ALL children!!!

Sorry, I can see all the

Sorry, I can see all the kid's info on their SPAN account ... so privacy is a smoke screen ...

AW, you mean I don't have to

AW, you mean I don't have to be a programmer to use a computer program?

shockingly enough....no, and

shockingly enough....no, and I don't have to be a statistician to understand from the SAS report that WCPSS is failing the kids that need it most...shocker, ain't it?

We'll voice our opinions alright

The children and taxpayers of Wake County need:

Chris Malone - District 1 (W. Forest, Rolesville, Knightdale, Wendell & Zebulon)
John Tedesco - District 2 (Garner and Fuquay)
Deborah Prickett - District 7 (Morrisville and NW Raleigh)
Debra Goldman - District 9 (Cary)
on the School Board who share this vision for each and every child, not just the affluent.

Please vote tomorrow, Tuesday, October 6th. Polls open 6:30 AM until 7:30 PM!!

What a bunch of freakin'

jokes these people are.  Why did I move to Wake County again?

Oh that's right, so I could help overthrow the school board and end magnet programs, resegregate schools and be dictated to  by a bunch of moon bats!

Roxie Cash, Diana Bader, you're both idiots!

Idiots and LIARS!

Idiots and LIARS!

John Tedesco has absolutely

John Tedesco has absolutely said he favors the elimination of magnet schools.

sure - the ones that

sure - the ones that shouldn't be magnets!!!  =)  It's ok with you to sink the $$ into schools that are already serving some of the wealthiest populations in Raleigh as their base?? 

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.