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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Norwalk: neighborhood schools would "tear apart" Wake

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County Commissioner Stan Norwalk says this fall's school board elections "will test the cohesiveness of the Wake Community."

In a paper in which Norwalk is stressing he's speaking just for himself, Norwalk is warning of dire consequences should supporters of neighborhood schools prevail. He's warning it could lead to higher taxes and a negative impact on economic development in Southeast Raleigh and Eastern Wake.

Norwalk's paper, highlighting what's happened in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools, says that parental choice and neighborhood schools are a “I win-you lose” proposition.

Norwalk said that neighborhood schools "are likely to precipitate 'middle-class flight' either to higher income areas or out of public schools." He adds that middle class flight is likely to reduce demand and the value of homes and economic development in the lower income areas of Wake.

Norwalk warns that neighborhood schools "will tear apart the community fabric of Wake County."

Growth would then concentrate in the higher income areas of the county.

Norwalk says the resulting two-class school system would require raising property taxes to provide additional resources for the higher poverty schools.

Click here to read his paper.

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Swine flu at Middle Creek

Step one:
Illegal aliens from Mexico in our schools

Step two:
Swine flu shows up in WCPSS

....hmmmm?????? Anyody here want a course in rocketry? I don't wish to see anyone die from this, but in the event of a worst case, I think the relatives would have a pretty good wrongful death lawsuit for having exposed the population via these illegals to the H1N1 virus.... chilling!

klanders--I'm glad that

klanders--I'm glad that you're posting this info and your thoughts. I thought that all kids who scored at least 75% on the CogATs were 'invited' to take the Iowa tests, which then led to AG identification. Of course, the parents have to sign a form giving permission for their kids to take the Iowa tests and maybe there's a disconnect between the parents and the school.

I do believe that low income students are wrongly treated as low-achievers right off the bat. Some are, but many are not and its sad to know that they are left behind. As a parent, I do see that I have to be my children's advocate--teachers and other staff members have said this to me repeatedly. I do see (and agree with) your point about how the wealthier parents push for their kids and take all the resources. BUT I don't fault any parent, rich or poor. for advocating for their children.

I don't want my child to receive something that they don't deserve, especially if it takes away from another child who is more deserving. But I will do whatever I can to make sure that my kids are in the correct level for their ability.

Its very interesting about the 'wealthy' parents who didn't want the low income kids with their kids in the higher classes. Usually what I hear is that people want their kids in the high classes because the lower classes have the gang-banger thug types. I don't care who else is in the advanced math class with my son next year (rising 6th grader). He could be the only white kid in there or the only non-low income kid in there and I truly wouldn't care. As long as he's getting the correct level of work and is with other kids who are on the same level, that's all that matters.

I think you've definitely hit the nail on the head when it comes to this system being about keeping 'wealthy' families happy. I would go further and say its about keeping wealthy white families in certain areas of the county happy and in the public schools.

Have you checked out the Wake Schools Community Alliance? We need to hear from people like you. www.wakesca.org or you can email me directly at voiceforequity@gmail.com if you'd like to chat over email. I'd love to continue a discussion with you.

I really think that the whole idea of accurately assessing the low income kids and giving them the appropriate instruction is spot on. Moving them around isn't doing anything to boost their achievement. We've got to do something more for them.

sarcasm

Sorry for the confusion. I thought for sure my sarcasm was transparent enough. I see story after story about how low income kids are making a school bad or low scoring. I also see, from my point of view as an educator, that all that is wrong with low income kids is that they don't get the best resources. They don't get access to the same opportunities. High scoring low income kids get tracked low. I see wealthy parents demanding all the resources and getting them. The schools that bus in kids to low income neighborhoods have separate classes for the high income kids, supposedly separated by ability level, but they are not. This current year is the first year that Wake has used any academic criteria at all for math placement in middle school. Even though they have the criteria, many teachers are simply ignoring it. That is why the school I mentioned moved up more than 100 kids into the top track. They met the criteria for the top track but their 5th grade teachers recommended them for the bottom track. That principal moved them up. I know teachers in that school and they tell me wealthy parents complained. They didn't want "those kids" in classes with their kids. (Many kids moved in are academically higher scoring than the wealthy kids who don't want them in classes with them.) Since the official word is that low income kids are low achieving, the wealthy (ITB --I figured out what that meant and for this particular school the wealthy are ITB) parents claim the class will be "watered down" by the "at risk kids." Until this year, those "at risk kids" have not had a chance to take advanced classes even though they are higher scoring than the wealthy kids. A few years of that and they become low scoring.

If you have to think something is wrong with Wake schools to post here, I qualify. Lots of stuff is messed up. I think "we" (the public, parents, community) are a part of the problem if we continue to accept as common knowledge that low income students are low achieving. We make them low achieving by withholding access to the best classes. People are upset that they are gaining access by scoring high in math this year.

Kids are just now coming home to get their recommendations signed by parents. Another one of my neighbor's kids (I'm OTB, by the way) brought home today a form showing she has been tracked low although she meets and exceeds the criteria for the advanced track. I think the school system is afraid of fighting wealthy powerful parents who want exclusive access to the most challenging classes. So, they perpetuate the notion that low income kids are at risk kids and don't need high quality classes. I don't hear anyone upset about this. It seems to work. A lot of people in this forum have said low income kids are not low achieving where they come from. Why do we buy that line here?Low income kids actually are low achieving in districts where they take all the resources from them and give them the brand new  or bad teachers, no challenging courses, remedial work that anyone can teach, etc. That is what Wake does.I don't think we should let them continue to claim that low income kids bring down a school. It is lack of quality education that brings down a school. They should put their quality resources on a bus and bus them around.

They would have trouble satisfying wealthy parents if they didn't bus kids all over. This does make it possible to give all the best teachers, in the most challenging classes, to the wealthy kids. NCLB no longer allows school systems to put all the unqualified teachers in the low income schools.

This is what I see happening. If you don't think this is happening, ask a middle school teacher. Go to an ITB magnet and look in the classes. If you could see their scores you'd see they are not tracked by ability. Someone should make them follow their own criteria for math tracking.The busing issues are all mixed up in the issues of keeping the wealthy happy. (although they make the wealthy mad with busing, also.) I think that as long as we ignore what is going on and continue to let the schools say the problem is the low income kids bring a school down, we are part of the problem. Everyone needs a good education and can benefit from one.

Thank you so much for clarifying

from where your remarks were coming. I really wasn't sure if you were being serious or sarcastic.

"A lot of people in this forum have said low income kids are not low achieving where they come from."

I am one of those and strongly believe it because  the defination of "at risk" there does not include low income. Access is based on ability, not income. There were kids of all income levels in my advanced classes, including low income. The richest kid was in the average classes because he was an average student.

You mentioned in another post that it sounded like I may not be wealthy. I'm guessing that was because I mentioned having lived in high poverty areas. For full disclosure, I did live in low income areas, but was never on F&R lunch although we certainly were not wealthy (low middle class most of the time, but probably could have qualified for F&R after my dad died). Thing is when you don't get labeled based on where you live, get a good education, apply yourself and take advantage of it, you can get into good colleges, go on to graduate school and do not stay low income, so I am not "not wealthy" now (am OTB), but I remember where I came from. Do I think my kid should get preference over a low-income student with higher ability -- absolutely not. I also would not agree with the flip side (lower income getting preference). Every student should be placed on actual ability, not income level, and every student should be challenged according to their ability (i.e. no just sticking the AG kid in the corner bored while trying to get low scores up). Also, not everyone wants to/will go to college, so need good votech programs. There's got to be something other than "college or bust."

"Why do we buy that line here?" Trying to figure this out this mystery has made my head spin. The biggest mystery to me is why the "leaders" of low-income areas are some of the biggest supporters of this policy grounded in the theory that low income means low achieving. With leaders like that who needs enemies. IMHO too many of the low income have fallen into the trap of defeatism. 

One possibility is that when educational gurus, the school system and community leaders are all saying it, why wouldn't people buy it, especially those who have never had much direct involvement with low-income kids (i.e. the always been wealthy). Then of course they think their kid must be smarter than "those" kids and they don't want their kids in class with "those" kids, afterall they've been repeatedly told that "those" kids create unhealthy environments, not just by those that actually are like User1234's "gated community" types, but by the school system, educators and community leaders. So, those kids come into the system pre-labeled and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy and the stereotypes live on and repeat themselves.

Just to be crystal clear, people who are middle class or wealthy have also been stereotyped as all being just like those wealthy people you describe, which is just as unfair as the stereotypes placed on the low-income.

We need to move toward real diversity, which means not stereotyping and labeling people based on one thing about them (low income, wealthy). When people do that they may find that someone they assumed was their enemy is actually their ally.

user1234

My spouse was reading these posts and comments, and we thought that user1234 was maybe the only one actually understanding what I was saying and understanding my sarcasm.

 Maybe I won't like him either, later. (could be a "her" I guess.)

 Or maybe he'll be that gated community person, who you assumed was your enemy.

  

 

 

 

 

 

I just have a different

I just have a different perspective than many – we sold the “big house” in a “golden node” and moved to smaller, mixed income neighborhood so my wife could stay home with the kids.   We homeschooled our kids in elementary schools (wanted more math and languages) so I don’t know about YR, AG, etc.   We put the kids into middle school and drove past one school to get to another because that is where we were assigned and I never thought it was that bad thing (3mi vs. 2mi).  Kid went through high school and only complaint was that their school did not offer the number of advanced classes the “good” schools offered (“good schools” had more “interest” since they had fewer high needs kids).   Personally, I don’t think it is right to have to live in an expensive neighborhood to get to go to a “good” school.  To me “schools” are public assets open to all not just the few people who have enough money to buy into the adjoining neighborhood.  Now my wife teaches at a “bad” school and I see the tracking and disparity that befalls kids who don’t have vocal parents advocating for them all along like you mentioned.

affirmative action

I forgot to comment on your comment about how you are not in favor of low income kids getting special treatment (before writing the reflection below). Don't worry. That doesn't happen. 

 We have this thing called gifted but learning disabled. Someone commented that they thought gifted was more fair. It isn't at all. Look at the data on who is gifted. It is defined differently by each school system. The private schools don't even have the concept. They would have to have all gifted students, so they don't have any.

 A real thing in the law is "gifted but learning disabled." If you research this you will see that the mean income of kids with this disease is over $150,000 per year. They made fun of this on the Sapranos. AJ tried to get his folks to get him labeled as this. This gets low scoring rich kids a pass into the top classes, with "accomodations." That means that they get extra time on tests, and get to use books ,etc. They are disabled, where with their disability they can succeed in advanced courses with more time, extra resources, etc. They are protected by the citizens with disabilities and get extra time on SAT, and can take this into college. Almost no minorities or poor people have this disease. (I feel my sarcasm coming on... I was going to say that it must be from eating escargot or something.)

this is the fastest growing disability in the country. It is pandemic, and worse than the swine flu. 

 There is nothing like this for the poor kids. They get other labels, and get remedial work. The "rich kids" (nothing against them) get advanced classes with help.

 

so, that is the affirmative action of the school systems. 

Special treatment

You may have misunderstood. It is not that I do not want low income kids to get special treatment when needed, it is that I think treatment should be based on the individual, not the income bracket. In other words, can we please just look at each student objectively as an individual without making prejudgements and determinations based on their income bracket.

By "gifted with disabilities" do you mean, for example, a person who is AG ADHD or Aspergers? If so, 1) disabilities do exist, 2) disabilities are not a "disease", and 3) disabilities do not know someone's income status. These kids exist, and as 70% of Wake County's population is not low-income, most of them are not low-income. I know a number of them and know one very personally if you get my drift. A mental health professional told me that there is a correlation between Aspergers and engineering/IT/science types. Those types tend not to be low-income. Wake has a disproportionate percent of Aspies. I do think a higher percent of middle and upper income kids with disabilities may be properly identified because their parents are more likely aware of their existence and are more likely to access resources for assessment and interventions early and/or their behavior issues are less likely to be attributed to and written off as being a result of home environment. Yet another reason to stop making assumptions based on income.

 

reflection

this is insightful reflection. 

I don't actually think wealthy are to blame for all. In this country, wealth comes and goes, so who are the wealthy? But perceived powerful parents affect policies

 why do we buy that here about low income kids? Look at everything on the Evaluation and Research website. They keep trying to figure out how to teach low income kids. They mix low income with low achieving. All this talk that you folks do comes back to low income. I read the paper and think if I were a family with kids in some areas I'd have to quit getting it, so the kids wouldn't see how their schools wish they weren't there.

 I was exaggerating the stereotype of wealthy because they have all the power. Lots of 40+ folks got to get tracked high in math and become engineers, and live here in the triangle. That was before math and sci became a commodity. I bet you are one of those.

Thanks for the clarification

In my "past life" in the military I used to instruct a wide range of HS grads from various income groups. I always thought that the low income young adults that wanted to succeed tried hard and usually excelled. I have no doubt public education have shortchanged some of them. IMHO those in this group that try should be given all the opportunities that we can give to them. Those that don't try need special attention that sometimes a school assist with, but IMHO it takes more than just the school. Shipping these children out to non-Title I schools does nothing because these kids rarely take advantage of the extra benefits.

I am not sure what you mean by rich schools. If you mean special Magnet Schools, I agree with you.  I think most of the issues at other schools could be helped through ability grouping. My AG daughter just started in a Middle school that ability groups and we like it. She was advanced placed and we were able to even talk to the school and get her placed even higher with little problem. This was in math, in science her teacher is using differentiated learning with good success. So far I am happy with the school and administration. I hope they continue ability grouping to allow her to reach her full potential. My biggest beef with busing is in Elementary School where the foundations are laid.

advantage

kids rarely take advantage... You're missing my point. They don't get the opportunity to take advantage. And they don't need special attention. They need the same access. What do you think the odds are that a child with the same scores as your daughter, who is low income (and very few of them are tested for AG--you know only kids who teachers think might be gifted get tested so they are disproportionately white upper class) would get these advantages your daughter is getting? I can tell you in case you don't know. Slim to none. It is not that they don't take advantage like your daughter is doing. It is that they are not given these advantages. They are not tested to see whether or not they are gifted, and they are not offered seats in the top classes even when their scores are higher than your daughters.  So, be careful when you say they don't take advantage. I might get sarcastic again.

I don't disagree - I hear you

This is a problem. One that needs to be addressed. But  we spend a lot of time tearing down the "economic diversity busing" policy because that is not the solution. I would be interested to know your ideas for a solution. And your feelings towards Magnet schools, since you mention equality. I am all for equality of access and equal standards within the school system. If what you say is true (I have no reason to doubt), then we have a serious problem that needs to be addressed with real solutions. I don't think you will find many on this blog that will disagree.

what to do

I don't know. But people need to pay more attention. And that Effectiveness Index I mentioned is what Wake uses to show whether schools are doing as expected. They lower expectations for low income kids as part of the formula. All that research they do (I don't know if anyone reads it) is based on what is effective for low income kids meeting the low expectations. I don't think anyone pays any attention. There is no accountability for what they do. They have this math criteria now for middle school tracking and are not using it and most parents don't know about it. Can't someone make them use it? Why is it optional? As a teacher, there isn't much I can do. (I mean on a big scale.) 

I taught in a magnet school. It was clearly a school within a school. I could see the scores of kids. It wasn't just a few bright kids placed low.  I am not sure what to do, but people should find out what is happening in your school. Then don't just advocate for your own kid. Ask why some kids don't get access, or why they are not using the math academic criteria. I think we need to advocate for policy changes that promote opportunities for kids who do not have powerful parents. I like magnet schools fine on many points. But some of them here are awful as far as the resource allocation within the schools. Neighborhood kids get all low classes, even when they are higher scoring than those busing in. A few neighborhood kids get tracked high and that makes it look like when they score high they get tracked high. But that is not true. This is a huge problem. AG is kind of a sore spot. Only some kids are tested. Once tested and confirmed that label gives many advantages. Most low income kids are not even tested. A lot of educators think of AG as a way to label kids so they get more advantage. There just simply is not equality or equal access at all. As a teacher it is so clear. I know you are speaking out against busing. But your speaking out without knowing the whole picture may not be the best fix. I guess the ultimate goal of the busing and diversity is higher test scores? Is that right? I don't think busing will lead to fixing bad scores. That is crazy. Quality education for low income kids will raise their scores. You can give that to them anywhere. The location of the building doesn't matter. But we (wake) won't give it to them unless there are enough people demanding it in the school, and important enough (not poor).

Wake has some wonderful low income schools, with wonderful principals and teachers. What they are doing that works is challenging all the kids and giving access to advanced classes based on scores not income. We could have a study done here to see what is different in the successful low income schools. (and not use that Effectiveness Index that says schools are great when poor kids don't do well--because we don't expect them to.)

 It is too hard teaching the kids and also figuring out how to fix everything. I don't know how. 

Good points ... I 

Good points ... I  appreciate the current examples ... I guess the "system" ( teachers, admin, parents) accomidate the loudest parents giving them all the  resources to just to shut them up .... since low income kids don't have an advocate, they get tracked and what is left over ... sad

When I read your previous

When I read your previous posts, I thought for sure that you were either a teacher or a low-income parent.  (Yes, I got the sarcasm.) 

I had also never realized that what you describe above, and in your previous sarcastic posts, is happening.  I am very grateful that you took the time to post about it - more enlightenment for me, on how the system works. 

Either Or?

Teachers ARE low income parents.  (I am just making a joke now.)

EVAAS

I was reading earlier posts and saw a discussion of the data system that SAS provided to the schools. There was a link to a paper on Wake Schools' website comparing EVAAS to Wake's own system of analysis that they call the Effectiveness Index. Somewhere, buried on their website is a description of their Effectiveness Index. I can't find it now. I read it earlier. I may have gotten it at a meeting. It says that they use one test score and compare what they "expect" a student to score with actual score. And, it says they adjust the expectation for income and other things. I have read all about EVAAS, and it is nothing like this. Totally different. It uses many scores. It doesn't adjust for income and have different expectations for different kinds of kids. The Effectiveness Index can't be used at the student level. It is only for schools. EVAAS can be used at the student level. These are totally different things. The Effectiveness Index give results that tell people whether a school scored "as expected" or not. If the school has lots of poor kids, "as expected" has been adjusted by the model to be low. If people are making decisions based on the results of the Effectiveness Index, they may be thinking "as expected" is okay. For a poor school, "as expected" may be bad. EVAAS doesn't give these kinds of results. It is just totally different. You can read about it on DPI's website.

Wake doesn't use EVAAS, from what I read on the other blog. Does anyone know why not? This paper comparing the two doesn't seem to make sense. Can someone read it and explain it to me?

"Wake doesn't use EVAAS,

"Wake doesn't use EVAAS, from what I read on the other blog. Does anyone know why not? " 

 

The metric use to be things like SAT scores which were “individual based” and if you could eliminate poor scorers (e.g. fail out / expulsion / don’t test) and rely on few high scorers, you could push up the “average”.  With the right individual metric manipulation you could show yearly progress even as the % of kids failing increased.  To prevent that abuse and stop relying on a smaller and smaller group of kids to score very high while neglecting the others, the metric is now “school based” which measures how the school does.  

I think the idea is, given a diverse school of low and high achievers, rich and poor, Black, White, Asian, special ed, etc. teachers could make progress as a school.   Some will say group all the “A” students in the same school where we can offer the advanced classes and the “B” students in another school where they can receive the remedial care they need to barely function in life.  Individual / School / Segment / Income /etc based metrics each have advantages and disadvantages and drive different behaviors. 

Measurement and improvement “by school” just so happens to be the rage now with “school report cards” replacing “county report cards” which drive the computer systems, measurement, organization, etc. to meet those metrics.

 

group all the As?

Speaking from experience, teachers get paid to teach. If you have a low achiever, they aren't supposed to stay a low achiever. I've taught many students who were low achievers coming in, and I thought my job was to teach them so that they would no longer be a low achiever. Most-the vast majority of the students-can learn with a decent teacher. I've taught high and low income. They learn the same way. Some kids learn more easily or with less help. I thought it was my job to provide what was needed so they all learned. I didn't realize we could just think of some kids as "low achieving" and get on with it.

It seems like if the goal

It seems like if the goal is to get all kids in a class to say 70% then  moving low performing kids from 30% to 70% is a big task ... > 100% improvement ... while keeping  high performancing kids above 70% is easier.  It seems like teachers who get low performers to pass should be  better compensated than teachers who keep high performers at the same level.

compensation

I agree, but it isn't going to happen. Teacher unions won't allow it.

If they don't do something

If they don't do something for the high needs schools they won't have any teachers.  My wife teaches at one of those school and spends her entire planning period filling out paper work on high needs kids.  I am guessing teachers at schools with all high performers actually get to use their planning period to prepare for class.  If they paid teachers on how much the kids improved, I am guessing the good teachers would migrate to where the opportunity ($$) to make more money since you can not make much incremental improvement with AP kids (e.g. 95% to 97%).

Wake doesn't use EVAAS, from

Wake doesn't use EVAAS, from what I read on the other blog. Does anyone know why not? 

IMHO, Wake doesn't use EVAAS because it would prove without a doubt that their shell game of shuffling/busing students around for diversity and test score purposes is doing nothing to help the individual students in Wake County. 

 

confusing shell games

Are you sure? We need to keep these shell games straight. I know people are upset about the busing and shuffling. I can see why. I think, though, as I've said, all the mixing makes it easier for the rich to take all the resources because we don't have to fight each other. We can take the resources from each school, giving the poor the "remedial" leftovers. (by resources, I mean all the top advanced classes with the best teachers).

I think the Effectiveness Index is designed to be the shell for that game. It predicts that the poor kids will score low, then when they get the worst teachers and remedial curriculum and do score low, it puts out results that show all is "as expected." It predicts that the rich (and gifted) kids will score real high, and they score very high but a little worse than expected, the results they give the principals and teachers say these kids scored "worse than expected." This makes everyone think the poor kids are fine and the rich kids need more resources.

EVAAS might expose that shell game. I don't know that EVAAS would tell us anything about busing for diversity. It could probably tell us whatever we could figure out to ask. Is there someone we can ask? 

Where's my hand-sanitizer?

Wow -- talk about giving darkness a voice: "We can take the resources from each school, giving the poor the "remedial" leftovers."

What vile bile. I don't know who "we" be, but it ain't me.

Word choices

"I think, though, as I've said, all the mixing makes it easier for the rich to take all the resources because we don't have to fight each other. We can take the resources from each school, giving the poor the "remedial" leftovers. (by resources, I mean all the top advanced classes with the best teachers)."

Honestly? Who are you? This is so....icky!

ick?

Would it be better to just look the other way and pretend that it is not happening? Then we would all feel better. Is it me who is "icky" and dark? No offense to anyone, but I can't help thinking that looking the other way and just letting this happen is "icky" and "dark."

 

And when you say, "it ain't me," are you sure? I think that most people getting the advantages out of this system don't realize what it costs other kids. If Wake doesn't have enough advanced math teachers are you willing to let a higher scoring low income student have the seat they were going to give your child in the advanced math class? If your kid gets in Honors and AP classes, they get more grade points. Kids not in those classes can't compete for class rank with them. Higher rank kids get into UNC so you don't have to pay for private college. When it comes right down to it, most people will advocate for their kid (if they have power that is recognized--and low income people don't.) to get these advantages. There are no criteria for being in these courses. But lots of kids are kept out.  Many parents don't know what it costs to give them what they demand. 

Only one dimension of many


Yes, I'm sure, thank you very much. The problem with your scenario is that its based on a single issue-resolution model, which comports with the current one. There's more solutions than one, but your "sarcasm" might be effective if you subscribe to a one-dimensional approach to this problem. I don't.

I don't hear anyone else

I don't hear anyone else talking about making the schools better or trying to figure out why ED kids score lower. Everyone is talking about how we can get a better education for our own kid, by getting the best available resources. Why not just call it what it is. There is nothing wrong with ED kids. They just get no good resources. Go into one of the magnet schools and look at who is in the advanced classes. Why not be clear about what we are doing?

speak for yourself

Come to a WSCA meeting. I think you'll find the bulk of these folks are truly disturbed by what the one-trick-pony BoE is doing to the at-risk children and are looking for creative solutions - for ALL children, not just little Johnny. IN FACT, we are 'just' parents, not professional researchers (most) and not professional educators (most) so we cannot yell "charge!" with a solution. That is the job of our candidates. These candidates will be responsible to listen to parents and make responsible decisions based on what VOTERS (top of the org chart) want. 

Klanders65 you got it wrong

The bulk of the posters on this blog really care about those children. The problem is you are equating the diversity busing policy to a sucessful program, IT IS NOT. It is a smokescreen. In fact it is an expensive program and has caused a huge amount of grief to a lot of families...not to mention teachers.

 As far as resources, I think that all schools should be adequately funded. Title I money is only given to low income area schools. In addition, if we allocate more money to low performining schools to aide in viable programs, I don't have a problem with that either. But money is not the answer to the problem, all the money in the world can't fix it.  It will take small local communities making HARD choices and caregivers feet held to the fire. And that would be tough given our litigation society. If you do think money is the answer to all the problems, read this [Link].

Then you need Miracle Ear!

That is ALL everyone is talking about.  We can't start to make the schools better until we UNDO the inequalities that Rosa, Lori, Patti, Horace, Bev, Chuck and Del have created!  We can't START to make these schools better until we deal with the reality that moving 25 THOUSAND + kids every 3 years AIN'T getting it done!  For the 1,000's of us who magnet schools aren't an option, because they don't want us there, we can't be clear about what's going on because we don't KNOW what is going on.  What we all know is that this system is currently like a 3 legged dog and if we don't do an abrupt about face it will be hopping around on 2!  And people like Stan "noPlan" Norwalk need to take a hike and leave the school system resurrection to people WITH a clue, VERY unlike himself!

Pros and Cons

Falc mentions that Wake calls ED kids at risk, and treats them as if they are unhealthy and contaminated. Right now, that is good for us but neighborhood schools would concentrate the competition for placement in advanced classes. Right now, because the ED kids are spread out we can easily take seats away from them and get advanced classes for our kids. But if we had neighborhood schools we'd be competing with each other for those seats. Before NCLB, we could just loot the district for all the decent teachers who could teach those advanced classes but I think there is some clause in there that doesn't allow that any more. I will gladly bus my kids across town to get the advanced classes. They don't even have any of those unhealthy and contaminated kids in their classes.

Klanders65: In a

Klanders65:

In a community  based (I hate the "neighborhood" label as its not accurate and not practical) model, the regular class room should be "advanced".  If your child is truly advanced, gifted, etc. there should be plenty of room in the really advanced classes.  As of now, with the dumbing down of the classroom due to WCPSS's policies, average students need to go to "advanced" classes just to be challenged.

I think you have some faulty logic there....

faulty logic

You must be thinking things were rational to begin with or something.

From what I have learned this year, it turns out that math placement had been done by teacher recommendations, not using any data at all. This year they have new criteria for middle school math placement. One of my neighbors (who goes to a different school than my kids) was explaining that about 100 kids who met the criteria were tracked low and the principal moved them. Nothing got dumbed down. These were smart but overlooked kids because they looked like what wake calls "broken kids" (whatever they call them.) From what I hear, a lot of schools just ignored the new academic criteria and tracked high scoring "broken kids" low, as usual.

I'm going to need clarification

on your point about access to advanced classes. I'm not sure I follow you, but my kids are only at the ES level (where there are no advanced classes) now, so I am not as familiar with what is happening at the MS and HS level. Personally, I do not have the option to send my kids across town for access to anything because they are needed at our base schools, so we will just have to make do with whatever access they can get there. I know I have at least one that is AG.

Diversity policy supporters say too many ED kids (>40%) make a school "unhealthy." Just to clarify the word contamination came from User1234.

I prefer we do not call them anything -- not unhealthy, not contamination, not broken. How about we just see them as kids from nodes with a high percentage of low-income homes. That is the only known fact until you look at them at the individual level. That is one my issues with the diversity policy, it labels certain groups and makes assumptions about them and that, to me, is not diversity at all. Then you end up with what you described about the 100 kids above. Had the district that educated me used the same assumptions about low-income areas, I could have ended up like those 100 kids.

It is similar to what was pointed out in the article co-authored by Al Sharpton about EEP's mission. "Dismissing the potential of schools to substantially boost minority achievement, as is now fashionable in some Democratic circles, is ultimately little more than a recipe for defeatism."

If you put a chip on someone's shoulder, it will only weigh them down. If you write and support a policy that says too many ED kids cause an unhealthy situation, then you should not be surprised when some people do not want "those" kids in their school and teachers automaticaly track them as low. Is that rocket science to figure out? 

It is certainly a contrast to the system I grew up with that was all about hope and that all children can learn provided certain tools (respect for self and others, responsibility, self-esteem, security, stability).

clarification

You need to learn about math tracking before your kids start middle school. The best thing you can do is get your kids labeled as gifted, then join Wake Page. They keep you informed about the options for tracking beginning in middle school, and they both teach you how to advocate for your kids to always get the best of all resources, and also advocate for you. You can learn about math tracking options on their website http://www.pagepage.org/?q=advocacy.

Another point of clarification is that too many ED kids make a school unhealthy. That is true, but it is not because of the kids. It is because the poor parents don't have enough power to demand the resources. The more rich parents, the better the resources, including good teachers and advanced classes. This isn't because ED kids are unhealthy, but rather is because rich parents have more power.

As far calling them names that make them sound contaminated, if we don't do that people might think they are like us and should get a some of the educational resources. It really helps it seem fair to take all the resources if we call them names like this. The school system itself calls them at risk. They probably couldn't learn anyway, so why waste resources on them. Look at these papers they write about doing research about whether they can learn or not. http://www.wcpss.net/evaluation-research/reports/2008/0803teacher%20_newslet_vol1.pdf  Being poor is considered academic risk. And it is in Wake because you get tracked low even when you score high.

I can see why this is confusing.

Everything makes sense one way as long as no one looks at any data. All the rich people are smart and deserve the advanced classes. The poor people are not as smart and are probably happy in remedial classes. There are advanced classes in all the middle schools (and high schools, but middle is where it matters most because if you are not in the advanced middle school classes you can forget the advanced high school classes.) When kids are bussed all over, there are rich and poor in all schools (theoretically). The rich kids get all the advanced classes, and the poor kids--even if smarter than the rich kids--get remedial classes. Everybody is happy except for the long bus rides. The poor parents probably don't even know their kids are smart because we call them names like "at risk." And, they aren't powerful enough to get their kids into the top classes anyway. They don't have a poor kid lobby group, like we have. (You have to join Wake Page.)

This is a pretty good deal as things are. The push to use data is probably going to go away. I think most schools are ignoring the new math placement criteria and continuing to track the poor kids low no matter what. No one suspects a thing because they look "at risk."

It sounds like you may not be wealthy, Falc. You may have to use that new math placement criteria to get your kids in the math classes they qualify for. It is people like you who may also threaten "we" who enjoy the way things are now.

Good points ... involved

Good points ... involved parents probably don't know the power they have and resources they get for their school compared to non-involve parents.  

"It is certainly a contrast

"It is certainly a contrast to the system I grew up with that was all about hope and that all children can learn provided certain tools (respect for self and others, responsibility, self-esteem, security, stability)."

 I remember my parents telling me about how things were better and simpler (respect for self and others, responsibility, self-esteem, security, stability) when they were kids.  I think my grandparents told that to my parents too and I find myself telling that to my kids.  I guess we all look back on our childhood as being the best it could get.

In my case

it really was the education method.

http://www.workshopway.org/

You are right on …

You are right on … don’t be advanced kids in a “bad” school.  If there are not enough kids to make fill a class they don’t offer it.  So, you want third /fourth year in a language, advanced math, etc. forget it.   

 

I think the neighborhood system would concentrate all the advanced kids in some schools and the high needs kids in other.  Some will say that is more efficient because you could offer the advanced course in the “good” schools and meet all the remedial needs in the “bad” schools.  Unfortunately, if you live in a “bad” school district you get stuck with remedial classes.  That lead to having to buy into an expensive neighborhood to get challenging classes.

confused

I am a little confused. Are "high need" kids poor kids? And advanced kids are rich kids? So, you need to live in a rich neighborhood to be considered advanced? I am having trouble following you.

If that is what you mean, that is what is in jeapordy. When they start using data and letting the smartest kids in the advanced classes instead of the riches kids, we are in trouble. Up until now they just give remedial work to the what they call at risk. Look on their website. They have lots of studies they have done where they look to see if the remedial programs work and they find out they had really smart high scoring kids who happened to be EC in the programs. Look at this one: http://www.wcpss.net/evaluation-research/reports/2006/0609ses_hodge_revised.pdf

My original point was that I hear they have plans to stop giving remedial work to the poor kids and advanced work to rich kids, and they might start looking at data and let smart poor kids take advanced classes. It hasn't really caught on, but some schools are doing it. Right now, if you look in most advanced classes you will see only rich kids. But where they are starting to use data they are letting poor kids in.

We are in trouble

Who is "we" exactly?

we

We is anyone who gets advantage out of the system the way it is now. These schools that bus in poor kids, or rich kids going to poor neighborhoods for schools have different classes, more advanced classes, for the rich kids. Until now, they don't use data for placement. There is a big move to use data. A lot of these poor kids are smart but getting remedial work. Those seats in the advanced classes are a huge resources. If the rich kids all go to school together they would have to provide advanced classes for all of our kids. Right now we can get them by taking them from the poor kids. Other rich people won't let us take them from their kids. It really helps that wake refers to the poor kids in terms that make them sound broken and deficient. Then it looks like it is okay that we get the seats in the advanced classes and they don't. This data thing is a threat. So is neighborhood schools because NCLB doesn't let a school district put all their good teachers in the rich schools any more. We would have to fight each other for the good teachers. Right now, all it costs us is a trip across town.

Definition of dumb?

You know, I've known a lot of really dumb rich kids in my life. And many of them had pushy influential parents. Doesn't mean they deserved to take an academic opportunity away from someone else. That should be data driven, absolutely. I want my kids to compete and deserve an opportunity, otherwise what does it mean? That they were better at stealing than the next kid? Not cars or cash - something much more damaging and worse. 

I can't decide if your posts are just badly worded or if you really think that its ok for 'rich kids' to take academic opportunity away from other children? What if my kids don't make the cut? Or, what if one day, godforbid YOUR kids don't make the cut? What then? I'm not sure I'm following your train of thought here - if there is one - but some of it SOUNDS morally corrupt. I'm still hoping its bad word choices. 

making the cut

this is the first year that there is any academic criteria for middle school math tracking. High school honors and AP classes at some high schools are recommendation only--not based on any academic criteria. If people really believe like you are saying, then why is the system like this? There are no criteria for most top classes, and kids with higher scores get tracked low when their parents are not pushy or scary to the school system. I don't think it is okay, but everyone else must or why would they let it be this way? If my kid didn't make the cut, I know what to do. Go get pushy. That is how it works. Ask any teacher.

My kid is still in

My kid is still in elementary (non-magnet, F&R >40%). I am not familiar with ability grouping in MS.

What are you suggesting?

MS grouping

going into 6th grade, the 5th grade teacher will make a recommendation for math track in 6th. the top track kids in 6th take pre-alg in 7th and alg in 8th. Then they get honors and AP courses in high school in math and science. So, if you miss out on the top 6th grade track you miss out for the rest of school years. Now, starting this year, they include academic criteria and don't just use the teacher's opinion. But many schools simply are not doing this. You have to watch out for your own kid and make sure they are where they belong. I think you can get the criteria on Wake Page's web page. They have meetings about this to make sure you know. I don't know how anyone not a Wake Page member finds out. If your kid meets the academic criteria you would want to make sure he/she gets tracked high in 6th. You can't fix this very easily later.

I guess the 'rich' schools

I guess the 'rich' schools are the ITB schools?  So when they assign our North Raleigh 'rich' nodes to schools in order to raise the numbers, and we are not able to get out (no YR or magnet applications approved) - we should do what?  

What to do

Sorry. I don't know what ITB is. 

If you are a N Raleigh rich node person assigned to a poorer area for diversity and can't get out, you'll be fine. Just demand that they have classes that are for the rich kids only. You can have a school within the school. If they let any of the poor kids in the classes with your kids, complain that they are "watering the classes down" by letting "at risk" kids in. Since you've made the sacrifice of moving schools, you should demand the best teachers for your advanced kids. You could get one of the best educations ever for your kids. They will barely even have to interact with the poor or "diverse" kids. Take everything of value in the school for your kids. The poor parents have no power to fight you. Even if they try to get involved it does no good. They have no power and no one is afraid of them. The poor people don't even expect any resources. They won't be any trouble.  

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.
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