Wake County school board chairman Ron Margiotta is trumpeting the latest data being used to justify to federal investigators the elimination of the diversity policy.
In an interview Wednesday on the Bill LuMaye show on WPTF, Margiotta said "our staff has produced numbers and has produced results that show that the system we used in the past did not work." He says it shows the board is now focused on improving achievement for all students.
When Margiotta said the data in the OCR response letter was complied by staff, LuMaye said that means it was done by "those who may not be on board with the new policy." Margiotta agreed.
"This is a staff that has never been supportive of what we're trying to do in the way of busing for diversity," Margiotta said. "They've always supported the busing, diversity policy. And now that there's been a change in thinking on the board, we're finally seeing reports come out that have been requested for a long time but have never been forthcoming,"
Margiotta also acknowledged that Wake had seen academic gains in 2009-10 to close the achievement gap. But he said that Wake hasn't been doing it as fast as the state and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. He was referencing a chart that had been done by Ann Rouleau, his rep on the disbanded student assignment committee.
"They've been doing a better job than we have," Margiotta said of CMS. "The sad part of it is that it's not just with the economically disadvantaged students. The same results when it comes to the non-economically disadvantaged students.
So it shows that our system needs help. We have so much concentration and discussion on the students that are the low performers and while they certainly need all the help we can give them, we should also and we must and we're obligated to have a concern for the high-performing students that are not getting the proper achievement."
LuMaye asked if Margiotta considered the new data a "turning point for the board" to get the Democratic members "to accept them and move forward."
"I think people might realize that what we've been talking about for this past year-and-a-half has a strong basis of fact. Maybe they'll recognize what we're trying to do is to help kids."
Earlier in the interview, Margiotta also restated his concerns that U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan's criticism of Wake makes it "questionable" they'll get a fair hearing from the feds.
"When your boss comes out with that kind of criticism, it certainly puts a doubt into my mind as to how objective the team can be," Margiotta said.
Click here for a chart from Rouleau comparing ED performance over time between Wake and Charlotte.
Click here for a chart from Rouleau comparing non-ED performance over time between Wake and Charlotte.
Click here for a chart from Rouleau comparing the ED and non-ED performance over time on EOCs between Wake and the state.