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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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Possibility of unconverting Leesville in 2010

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What's the possibility that the new Wake County school board majority would still unconvert some schools for 2010-11?

As noted in today's North Raleigh News article, some parents haven't given up hope that the board will switch both Leesville Road elementary and middle schools to a traditional calendar next year.

"We still feel we'd be a great guinea pig for mandatory year-round reversal next year," said Lisa Boneham, founder of Concerned and Committed Leesville Parents, in the article.

The possibility of unconverting schools for 2010 diminished after the school board pulled from last week's meeting a resolution calling for the beginning of the end of MYR in 2010-11. The lack of time to make a change after staff presents the parental survey results in April was the problem.

School board member Deborah Prickett said she's trying to organize a meeting with Leesville parents after the holidays to talk about the implications of unconversion.

"It will be close, but it still may be possible to do it next year," Prickett said in the article.

But you can expect opposition from groups such as BiggerPicture4Wake and Leesville parents who want to keep the year-round calendar.

Gary Dismukes, a Leesville Elementary parent, said they plan to keep up the pressure on the new board to leave the campus on a year-round calendar. Dismukes made waves at last week's board meeting when he said "the board's stated polices are rooted in the same small-minded and racist polices of the Jim Crow South."

"My concern is that the only reason they slowed down is the public outcry," Dismukes said in today's article. "We just need to keep on them."

(I've got some more posts running today and a few over the next week. But I won't be answering questions between Thursday and Jan. 3 while I'm out of town.)

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Holly

Mommy and Daddy are fighting... and it's Christmas!

OK, everyone, time for a rousing "Deck the Halls" One, two three on me...

After witnessing this person

After witnessing this person make a fool of himself during public comment time I don't think he'll ever be taken seriously by anyone. He came across as an irrational newcomer, probably attending Leesville by application, not involved in the large community based group which has been looking for a return to sanity for all of their campus' families, and he just chose to hurl out ridiculous nonsense. Bad move on his part. No threat there.

I would put Leesvilles at the top of the unconversion list, closely followed by Wakefield and a few in our neck of the woods. J Tedesco is aware of our situation and will hopefully band with D Prickett to bring an end to MYR for many.

There is plenty of time, regardless of what lies C Dulaney chooses to spew.

...

"Maybe we should ask them …"

But, user, aren't you the spokesman for the CCCAAC? You should know how the A-A population feels about busing, MYR, magnets, etc if you speak for that group.

Please share.

Interesting indeed!!!!

Gary Dismukes, a Leesville Elementary parent, said they plan to keep up the pressure on the new board to leave the campus on a year-round calendar. Dismukes made waves at last week's board meeting when he said "the board's stated polices are rooted in the same small-minded and racist polices of the Jim Crow South."

 And I wonder how Mr Dismukes would feel if they reassigned his children to a downtown school for diversity? Typical misinformed response. Lets throw out the race card. He just doesn't get it.

As irrational as

As irrational as Mr. Dismukes obviously is (Jim Crow?!), it is still interesting that he cannot see the obvious: the former school board carried out policies that clearly discriminated against low-income and minorities and favored affluent white and Asian students.

and...

neither does our Governor Perdue.

 

http://www.wral.com/news/local/politics/story/6681550/

 

Slow news day?  Trying to divert attention away from circumventing the law on releasing prisoners?  Taking a break from filing forgotten flight plans?  Unreal. 

question

"discriminated against low-income and minorities"

"favored affluent white and Asian students"

Is it through the magnets?

As implemented in Wake

As implemented in Wake County, magnets certainly  play a role in the general unfairness, but there are also the discriminatory practices that limit access for low-income and minority students to advanced courses...especially math.

 Additionally as we all know, the graduation rates for low-income students has been decreasing in Wake County and now reside at pitiful 54%. And what has been the proposed solution from the status quo that folks like Mr. Dismukes so adamantly supports? More reassignments and increased efforts to achieve some weird notion of diversity. Where are the resources that actually address the needs of low-income student?

"Gary Dismukes, a Leesville

"Gary Dismukes, a Leesville Elementary parent, said they plan to keep up the pressure on the new board to leave the campus on a year-round calendar  ......And I wonder how Mr Dismukes would feel if they reassigned his children to a downtown school for diversity? " 

So that is the "punishment" for voicing an opinion about YR  ... Being sent "downtown" ..... Wow, ITB is the penalty box … the Siberia of Wake Co.   Where we send children of dissidents …

 

ITB "Penalty Box"??

How do you think those kids that live ITB feel to be shuffled all over the county for diversity? The kids in less affluent areas are sent to more affluent areas for "diversity." You just don't see kids from more affluent areas being sent involuntarily to schools in less affluent areas. Look at the base attendance areas for many N. Raleigh schools- kids are being shipped in from downtown. Then look at the base attendance areas for schools in/near downtown. You don't see any of those base areas having kids from say the Leesville area being shipped downtown. Why is something good for one and not the other?

“How do you think those

“How do you think those kids that live ITB feel to be shuffled all over the county for diversity?”

 

Maybe we should ask them … if they are being bussed to a school of excellence in OTB maybe it worth the extra 30 min …

 

“You just don't see kids from more affluent areas being sent involuntarily to schools in less affluent areas.”

 

That is because those affluent kids have influence.   They bribe with magnet programs to go to school in places their parents normally would not ride through.

 

“Look at the base attendance areas for many N. Raleigh schools- kids are being shipped in from downtown. “

 

Yep … these is someone who keeps harping about a couple of ITB nodes that are allowed into Leesville … as I mentioned to Richard, without the mapping program, many parents would be unaware that non-neighborhood kids were in their schools. 

 

“Why is something good for one and not the other?”

 

The politically powerful typically get what they want in our society … in this last election a number got fed up with too many of these kids getting into their schools and demanded a change …

It's not the parents, it's the diversity engineers

It's NOT the parents.

Who created to the node mapping system? The diversity engineers, not parents.

Who points out in every reassignment plan the LI (low income) and LEP of each school and each node being reassigned? The school system diversity engineers, not parents.

Who keeps telling people that LI students make schools unhealthy? The diversity engineering supporters.

If you want people not to care about and judging other based on where people live, maybe you should start telling your diversity engineering buddies not to be so obsessed with stereotyping and pointing out differences based on where people live. Lead by example I always say.

"Who keeps telling people

"Who keeps telling people that LI students make schools unhealthy? The diversity engineering supporters"

No .. I think it is the State that publishes the EOC/EOG scores, AYP, schools of xxxx that identify unhealthy schools most of which are LI ... you seem to keep thinking "they can not be healthy" but the the line should be "they are not healthy" ... if we want to just work on the unhealthy areas and ignore that they might be also be predominately minority and poor that is ok  as long as they get fixed ...

Ok

"Maybe we should ask them … if they are being bussed to a school of excellence in OTB maybe it worth the extra 30 min"

Many parents I've have spoken with that happen to live in these areas have said that it is more detrimental to their kids to have to get up early, ride a bus for sometimes an hour (not just 30 minutes) and get to school tired and not ready to learn. I have said before that the school board should have a question on their survey asking parents their opinion.

"..affluent kids have influence. They bribe with magnet programs to go to school in places their parents normally would not drive through."

Influence or not, it is about EQUALITY for ALL children. Why should parents have to be bribed into sending their kids anywhere? How's about I give you $100 to let your kid walk into someplace you wouldn't even drive through. The kids should be receiving a quality education no matter where they live. Studies have shown that "familial participation in education was twice as predictive of a students' academic success as socioeconomic status. Some of the more intensive programs had effects that were 10 times greater than other factors." If parents have the opportunity to be closer to their kids' school, they have a higher chance of being involved. If I had a parent teacher conference that I had to take a bus from downtown to Leesville, I would be hard pressed to actually take time off work to ride a bus for over an hour to get there and back. 

As for your last two responses: in my neighborhood school, it really doesn't matter to me where they come from within the city. I live in a neighborhood that is just about as diverse as you can get. I just want the kids to be able to be productive and have parents that are able to participate in their schools support their children.  Those who supported the status quo school board had the same opportunity to get out and vote their candidate into office. They either (1) didn't pay attention to what was happening or (2) just didn't care. The parents that were really fed up with what was happening got off their butts and went to the polls and spoke- loudly!

So...

In answer to the "maybe we should ask them" point:

IIRC, in the whole year-round conversion fiasco, after Judge Manning told the school district that it had to get informed consent before placing students into year-round schools, many poor students withheld consent under the mistaken assumption that this would mean that they go to schools closer to home.  Calla Wright publically tried to convince those parents to consent to the year-round conversion.

What about poor students who are being bused to a "School of Progress"?

So, Bob .. in the interest

So, Bob .. in the interest of choice if poor kids want to go to Leesville because they feel they would get a better education than their neighborhood school is it seems like we should support that ... or bring their neighborhood school up to the Leesville level so they want to stay home.

Sure...

I would support that.  Heck, I'd consider giving poor kids control of the money allocated by the schools to their education, so they can go to any school they want, public or private.

Good answer ...

Good answer ...

DING DING DING WINNER!

or bring their neighborhood school up to the Leesville level so they want to stay home.

Yes!  We need to have a system where every child has access to a great education no matter which school they attend.  If we make it so you could move to get that, what happens to those who don't move?  

"If we make it so you could

"If we make it so you could move to get that, what happens to those who don't move?   " 

Richard that question is part of Plan B ... the first step is to make sure each school is above average so there is no reason to move around ... if there is a capacity problem and we have to move kids it is either going to be voluntarily through something like a magnet program, add extra trailers until it becomes unsafe, or force people to move to the openings ... I am sure the BOE will debate the options ...

 

Maybe

Maybe we should ask them … if they are being bussed to a school of excellence in OTB maybe it worth the extra 30 min … 

 Or maybe if we asked them, they expect and demand that they have access toa school of excellence without a 30 minute bus ride.

 That is because those affluent kids have influence.   They bribe with magnet programs to go to school in places their parents normally would not ride through.

You realize this, yet you still support it.  You support a system that rewards the less needy with sacrifices from those most in need.  Wow.

Yep
… these is someone who keeps harping about a couple of ITB nodes that
are allowed into Leesville … as I mentioned to Richard, without the
mapping program, many parents would be unaware that non-neighborhood
kids were in their schools. 

And as I told you, the kids know.  And as soon as the school directory comes out, so do the parents.  Class roster, same zip, same zip, same zip, same zip, different zip, same zip, same zip, same zip, different zip and so on.  Yeah, no one can figure that out I am sure.

"Or maybe if we asked them,

"Or maybe if we asked them, they expect and demand that they have access to a school of excellence without a 30 minute bus ride. "

Good point ... was not on Ron's top eight list .. the best way to keep these kids in their own schools would be for the board to improve them to the point they have no reason to attend another school.

I support the idea of filling underutilized schools in undesirable areas using bribes (programs, magnets) to get reluctant OTB parents to commit willingly to filling those resources.

"And as I told you, the kids know.  And as soon as the school directory comes out, so do the parents.  Class roster, same zip, same zip, same zip, same zip, different zip, same zip, same zip, same zip, different zip and so on."

That is so sad that kids and parents use the school directory to discriminate against other kids ... where do they learn that behavior?  

 

 

You know how parents and

You know how parents and kids figure out who doesn't live near their school/neighborhoods?   When they have b-day parties and certain kids can't come because they live too far away.  When they schedule play-dates after school or on the weekend.  When the kids talk about places they go and people they see on the weekends. 

Do you have ANY interest in actually working with others?  

"You know how parents and

"You know how parents and kids figure out who doesn't live near their school/neighborhoods?   When they have b-day parties and certain kids can't come because they live too far away.  When they schedule play-dates after school or on the weekend.  When the kids talk about places they go and people they see on the weekends."

But do you act on that information?  For us, we would go pick up those kids who are too far away or whose parents work ...

I didn't realize that was

I didn't realize that was the question--do we act on that info.  I thought the question was how would parents or kids figure out where their classmates live if it weren't for the assignment maps online or the student directories.  I'm simply answering your question.

my kid tells me

You know how parents and kids figure out who doesn't live near their school/neighborhoods? 

My ES kid tells me who in his class gets up by 5/ 5:30 am for the bus ride from Raleigh. I guess it's something the kids talk about in school.

But do they use this

But do they use this information to separate out friends or do parents use that information in some way ... it seems like that information is the equivalent of this kids walks to school and this one take the bus ... not something I retain or act on ...

You got it

But do they use this information to separate out friends or do parents
use that information in some way ... it seems like that information is
the equivalent of this kids walks to school and this one take the bus
... not something I retain or act on ...

 You got it.  That is what I said.  There are two reasons I pay attention to this stuff.

  1. I worked on a reassignment plan with growth management and was shown the ropes.
  2. My kids are in year round and my daughter's birthday is in August, so she often has new classmates that we don't know where live at the time of her birthday, and because the school prohibits giving out invites and she insists of giving them to people, I have to figure out where they live.

I really is that simple.

Are you serious?

I support the idea of filling underutilized schools in undesirable areas using bribes (programs, magnets) to get reluctant OTB parents to commit willingly to filling those resources.

I doubt parents will commit to busing their children if ITB and OTB schools offer the same opportunities (Enloe diversity lovers aside). Your idea will work if ITB schools are heavily resourced and OTB schools are penalized (you need a wide chasm between the two). This, unfortunately, is the current scenario. Is it lost on you that this approach destroys quality educational opportunities for thousands of kids?

"This, unfortunately, is

"Your idea will work if ITB schools are heavily resourced and OTB schools are penalized (you need a wide chasm between the two).  This, unfortunately, is the current scenario. Is it lost on you that this approach destroys quality educational opportunities for thousands of kids?"

Red, you need to consider taxpayers too ... if there is a school on the other side of the highway that is underutilized and people on the outside of the highway that want a new $70M school because they do not want to cross the road, that is not fair or efficient.  I think it is possible to have above average school everywhere and really top end / special school on the other side of the road to entice kids to fill the underutilized school and defer the $70M investment.

Don't you think one can do

Don't you think one can do even better by the taxpayer by funding all schools to just the bare minimum standards? Secondly, why should WCPSS persist in maintaining assets in areas with decreased demand? I am not too well informed about all attendant issues but I would think the current policies favor neither the sponsor (taxpayers) nor the beneficiaries (students and parents).

 

Streeeeeetch!

That is so sad that kids and parents use the school directory to
discriminate against other kids ... where do they learn that
behavior?   

 No, they don't discriminate.  At least not that I know of.  My point is that you said the maps allowed people to know something they otherwise wouldn't, which is incorrect. Don't try to warp a fatual mistake and subsequent correction into something it isn't.  That information, where kids live, is available to parents in forms other than the maps I linked to.  The maps aren't giving away anything that cannot be found elsewhere.

Richard, here is another

Richard, here is another generational difference I was not aware of ... when I went to school, we did not use maps and zip codes to sort out friends ... and in the past when my kids were in school here I never realized there was a source to separate kids .. it just never seems to matter what zip code a person lived in... I guess parents today are more tech savy in using these maps and zip codes to filter who their kids befriend ... maybe this is where the poor school may have an edge in not being able to afford a school directory ...

and in the past when my kids

and in the past when my kids were in school here I never realized there was a source to separate kids

--------------------------------------------------------------------

user--I thought you had a daughter at Athens.  You've often mentioned how your kids have fewer opportunities at Athens than your co-workers' kids who are at Green Hope.   

Good faith debate; bad voices in the noggin

I guess parents today are more tech savy in using these maps and zip codes to filter who their kids befriend

That you would write this is so patently silly, trite, and, well, sad.

Once again you make things up

Quit making things up.  No one is filtering their child's friends based on zip code.  I was speaking simply of how to find out the information contained in those maps.  You claimed the maps allowed people to know who was from where.  I said that it wasn't the only way.  For some reason you decided to go crazy and make it like people are filtering who their kids see based on this information.  I hadn't even considered that.  Why do you think this way?  That is the generational difference.  People like me don't even think of that.  That is just bizarre.

" I was speaking simply of

" I was speaking simply of how to find out the information contained in those maps." 

Nevertheless, why Richard do you want to know where kids live?  What difference does it make? Why are you so knowledgeable about all the way it can be done whether you act on the information or not?  The kids live in Wake County ... what is driving you to want to know this information or all the way is can be found?  I don't care if it is one of many ways, who would you search it out and become such and expert?  I am guessing there is a way to do income and background checks on the kids and their families but would you use them?  I am sorry Richard I just never encountered this before and I think I am uncovering what is driving some of the backlash ... long ago, people did not know what zip each kid hailed from nor had a map program to separate contiguous and non-contiguous kids ... now they do and it appears they are aware of it and all the ways to use the information...

 

Wrong!

Actually, I did it beacuse I worked on a BAC project with Chuck Dulaney.  He showed me the maps.  Really, stop fighting these ghosts.  You live in a very foreign world where you see evil around every corner.

don't twist the fact

that its not about YR. Sounds like he is all about being safe in the current school. I am just wondering how he would feel to be shuffled here and there.  Interesting that you would call ITB a penalty box. I guess that shows there really is a game being played here. Is that how you view it? Hmmmmm

"Gary Dismukes, a Leesville

"Gary Dismukes, a Leesville Elementary parent, said they plan to keep up the pressure on the new board to leave the campus on a year-round calendar  ......And I wonder how Mr Dismukes would feel if they reassigned his children to a downtown school for diversity? "

I just saw that a parent wanted YR and the result was send them downtown which sounded like an undesirable outcome ..... I am guessing a school can be YR and people do not need to "shuffle here and there" or "be sent downtown" ... they don't need to be coupled ...

Wrong

I just saw that a parent wanted YR and the result was send them downtown which sounded like an undesirable outcome

 "... they don't need to be coupled "

well that he did

I saw a parent who wanted YR because he was safe from reassignment, and threw out the race card to get  his way. I was just curious if he would feel the same about being bused here and there to achieive the Healthy diversity of the schools.  I am still curious what wanting YR has to do with accusing the Board of doing a Jim Crow effect.  

Shamful

Now that is funny!

So that is the "punishment" for voicing an opinion about YR  ... Being sent "downtown" ..... Wow, ITB is the penalty box … the Siberia of Wake Co.   Where we send children of dissidents …

 That is funny considering that the previous board said that not all children would be "fortunate" enough to have the "privilege" of attending a traditional calendar school.

Considering how absolutely messed up assignment it is now, it won't be an easy undertaking, but given current resources and the right attitude, there is no reason that a 95% calendar request attainment rate isn't possible in 2010-2011 school year.  It would be politically disastrous to force such enormous reassignments, but it can be done.

What is the cost?

I'm not opposed to re-converting back, but what is the cost going to be for that, plus the seats that will be lost. As well, all impacts on re-assignment should be spelled out before anything is rushed into.

Well..

IIRC, the majority of the costs of conversion to year-round were in buying those mobile cabinets for teachers to work out of so they could wheel them to another room when they tracked in.  If anything, converting back allows those cabinets to be sold off.

I'll let others here talk about the amount of capacity loss and the availability of spaces at nearby schools.  I think that's fairly well documented, although I don't recall the details.

asking again

This is so funny - what is the cost, what are the impacts?

 

What was the cost of needlessly converting LRMS in the first place?  How about the little to no warning?  How about the fact that the principal had to accomplish this in the shortest time ever of other conversions?  What was the initial rush?

It was a mistake, let's fix it and move on.  Kudos to Deborah for pressing forward. 

Cost analysis, reporting, assessments...

Prudence is good but at some point it can become navel gazing. Here's the skinny: the sooner we turn back MYR the better.

How about we pick the top 8-10

MYR schools that are the most under capacity, or have other issues that should have them being reversed, and convert those back next year?  While surveys are slowly taken and analyzed by the "we can't do it crowd" and other info is decided on, we could move forward and save some of that 20 million now!

 

Good idea...

As I've mentioned before (and, I'm sure some folks are sick of hearing about this), Wakefield ES could be unconverted without any ill-effects -- it already doesn't have a track 2, so 1/4 of the time, all of the students are in school anyway.  And, IIRC, it still has extra trailers left over from when it was a traditional calendar school.

You do have the problem of what to do with families who prefer the year-round calendar.  Luckily, in WES' case, there's another nearby year-round schools (N. Forest Pines).  I suspect that there are enough people at NFP who'd transfer to Wakefield to get the traditional schedule to offset those at Wakefield who'd transfer to get the year-round schedule.

I suspect that making small changes like this will be easier to do than trying to change things at the level of the entire district.  That approach doesn't solve the entire problem, but does make the problem smaller.

Ditto for Leesville

Like Wakefied ES, Leesville also has a "sister MYR" right up the street. Syacmore Creek just opened and according to the numbers on WCPSS, they are 150 students shy of capacity. I'm sure that the small minority of people in the LES area that want to keep it YR can travel just two short miles and go to a *brand new* YR school.

How about the board members test their calendar survey at these two schools.  Then they can use these two schools as test models to see what it costs to revert back to traditional schools (if the parents demand it).

If it is deemed a success, they can survey all the parents in the WCPSS about MYR and school preferences (neighborhood or hour-long bus rides), look at and analyze the data and go from there. Then the next school year, the board can make their INFORMED decisions (since some people think the new board members are highly misinformed) on whether to change certain schools back and how to draw the school districting lines. I would also like to see in the survey if parents that are OTB would like more magnets in the 'burbs.

Magnets on the survey

I would also like to see in the survey if parents that are OTB would like more magnets in the 'burbs.

It's a good idea on adding magnet questions to the survey though the answer to your question, to me, is obvious. There is a need for better quality education at all non-magnet schools. I am curious to see when the new board will act on this.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.
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