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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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Policy committee approves revised student assignment policy

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The Wake County school board's policy committee signed off today on a revised policy that makes community-based schools and proximity a prime factor in student assignment.

The committee split today on failed efforts by minority members to amend the policy to say that balancing low-income students and low-perfoming students should also be factors in student assignment. They didn't take the compromise offered by board majority members.

The fight revolved around wording in the policy that said one of the factors that student assignment assignment plans will be based on is students with higher needs.

Board vice chairwoman Debra Goldman had initially included wording in that section saying that assignments will accommodate students with higher needs as identified as Limited English Proficient or requiring services from Special Education programs.

But board member Anne McLaurin wanted the list to include students performing below grade level.

Board member Keith Sutton, who isn't on the policy committee, wanted low-income students included among the groups listed.

Instead, majority members agreed to amend the policy by adding the words "including those." It now reads "assignments will accommodate students with higher needs including those as identified as Limited English Proficient or requiring services from Special Education programs."

Majority members said they were leaving the wording open so that other groups could be included without listing by name.

The full board could vote on the policy Tuesday. It would likely require two votes because minority members are unlikely to agree to waiving a second reading.

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Interesting how the tables can turn

It was just last year bloggers were tearing down the prior board. Patti Head, Rosa, Lori, and others were ridiculed every step of the way. They were trying to do their job as best they could. Now it seems to be DP's turn. It is not an easy job. DP has her friends to support her along the way. She needs her Leeville supporters and they need her. She also needs all of us.

I would hope she can open herself up to other perspectives and realize we are not against her. We all have something to add. I hope we can all try to be a bit more humane and less judgemental. Though it does us all good to watch closely and understand the Board as best we can. Constructive critism can be a good thing if you can learn from it.

 DP seems to listen and comunicate with only those who agree with her and this will not allow her to grow into the person she can be for her position. I have been at fault for this myself so I am not judging. I am observing and learning myself.

It is much easier to be the one pointing the finger and finding fault. It seems just turning the tables brings more of the same, only different people seated for dinner. I actually have to give JT credit for reaching out and listening, learning. He does not close himself off from those who disagree and in doing so he benefits himself by understanding the world around him. I do not know him well but I've watched.

...

Maybe if you quit wearing your Sycamore Creek t-shirt and stopped bad-mouthing Mrs. Prickett to everyone you know, she would "open herself up". Just a bit of constructive criticism.

 

 

Ms. Prickett doesn't need

Ms. Prickett doesn't need any help making herself look bad and incompetent!!

She doesn't know the schools in her district!  and she said that the sound basic education requirement was from the US Constitution! 

 oh and the Robeson County comments LOL

Ms. Prickett on Student Achievement

I just watched the rerun of yesterday's Policy Committee Meeting.  At the beginning, Ms. Goldman describes the meeting as a "workshop" on Policy 6200.  All BOE members attended except John Tedesco.  Then at the hour mark, Ms. Goldman announced that she was restricting discussion to committee members only!  Pretty amazing that discussion on one of the key policies in our school system was limited to only 4 BOE members when others took the time to attend and participate.  To be fair, Ms. Goldman later allowed comments from non-committee members.

It was the first time I heard Ms. Prickett speak at length on any subject in the various meetings since December.  (I can see now why she doesn't speak often).  A few highlights . . .  Around 33 minutes, she began comparing Robeson County to Wake County because she mentioned that is one of the places she travels in her work so she is familiar with it.  When other board members questioned her comparison she said of Robeson County, "it's not very different . . ."  She then went on to say that depending how we reassigned students, all wcpss schools could be Title I schools as if that is something to aspire to!  (Also, I'm not a Title I expert, but I'm pretty sure that's not how Title I funding works).  When asked directly if that's what she was suggesting, she seemed perplexed and said "don't look at me."  Later she lamented students not receiving Title 1 Services.  She seems to think that receiving Title 1 Services is the primary way to raise student achievement.  

 At about the 1:09 (one hour nine minute) mark Dr. McLaurin is unsuccessfully trying to introduce the idea of including a mention of paying attention to students who are performing below grade level/academically challenged.  Mrs. Prickett describes such an addition by saying "That's just too out there . . . that's just too difficult."  I thought the whole point of this major shift to "community schools," is ALL ABOUT student achievement.  Mr. Margiotta, Mr. Malone and Ms. Prickett all kept dismissing the idea that assignment has anything to do with achievement.  Ms. Prickett kept insisting that caring about poor children is important but it doesn't deserve mention in WCPSS policy.

 Another interesting episode around 1:38 is when Dr. McLaurin asks Ms. Prickett, a former teacher, if she would prefer to teach a class with 100% of students with high needs of various kinds or in a class with 50% of those students replaced with academically successful students.  She wouldn't answer the question and again wouldn't answer when Ms. Morrison asked the same question further in the discussion.  Instead, Ms. Prickett focused on how one would decide who got replaced.

After watching the meeting, I am left with the feeling that Ms. Prickett as an employee of the NC Department of Public Instruction and elected to our wcpss BOE isn't really concerned about helping raise achievement.

I don't know Mrs. Prickett

and I'm sure she means well, but it appears she does not like to respond to direct questions. 

However, I was very impressed with Mrs. Goldman.  She is focused and very organized, but most of all she listened and tried to build consensus.  Although, in this case her efforts were unsuccessful, it wasn't due to a lack of effort.

Student Achievement first

For me, the discussion just again clarified that Student Achievement should have been the overarching policy focused on first.   Then a lot of the discussion surrounding what role Student Assignment should have in supporting Student Achievement would have been clear.

Assignment can't solve problems in achievement but it can be utilized to support achievement goals.

But I don't see many improvements to student achievement happening under Ms. Prickett's  leadership given she thinks we compare to Robeson County and her focus on Title 1 resources (not to mention her cancelling more than half of her committee meetings).

This just confirms what us

This just confirms what us gang of 5 skeptics have been saying all along.  Their mission has never been about  improving the achievement for all Wake county students.  

Nobody cares about all

Nobody cares about all students. So before you get excited about the majority BOE members' comments, note that the minority BOE members fare no better. Everybody has their pet project.

all students

redballoon, with regard to your comments that the minority BOE members don't care about all students, what episodes or comments from them lead you to say that?

I could probably dissect the

I could probably dissect the demographics and cross reference that to BOE member comments to identify areas of neglect but my interests are not that broad at present. I would be happy reading about Sutton/ Hill/ Morrison/ McLaurin expressing concern about the zero electives being offered at non-magnet ES.

electives at elementary?

redballoon, I'm not sure I understand how not having electives at the elementary level translates to not caring about all students?  It's a function of the magnet program goals.  Not even all elementary magnet schools have electives because not all magnet programs offer electives.  With a larger budget, wcpss would be in a better position to restore a foreign language special to the elementary schools, for example.  I'll return to my encouragement for you to look beyond our woefully underfunded public school system to find what you seem to be looking for your child(ren).

Interesting point. With

Interesting point. With similar reasoning, it makes me wonder how not busing for 'diversity' translates into being racist, neglect of EDs, etc.and not caring for all students.

I understand your point about budgetary limitations. The example with electives highlights the magnet based discrimination within the system. It is not to say that only Hunter is desirable and Combs is not. With regard to funding, I am handicapped when it comes to responding with specifics. One needs to review WCPSS' financial data to figure out funding imbalances and how the system institutionalized a system of discrimination under the guise of 'diversity'.

I appreciate your encouragement. Now if only my wallet was equally encouraging.

 

True

But we know the minority projects are unlikely to ever see the light of day unless they are also a pet project of the majority.

Nothing to get overly

Nothing to get overly distressed about. As the burden of sponsoring the school system shifts, different segments of the electorate will be energized during different election years. Rest assured that this saga shall survive us all and every pet project will find a sponsor in the years ahead.

thank you for this breakdown

thank you for this breakdown and quotes for those of us that couldn't watch!

I'm convinced that Ms. Prickett is thoroughly underqualified as well!! 

Prickett is pathetic!

Her only role with the BOE was to come in and change the calendar for the Leesville schools.   The poor lady does not even know which schools are in District 7 - her district!  At her first District 7 BAC meeting, she asked for a report from Lynn Rd.  Deborah - btw, Lynn Road is not in your district!!!!!

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.
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