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Speakers to talk about Wake's single-sex leadership academies

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Of the 20 speakers signed up for tonight's public comment session, nearly all the speakers at the Wake County school board meeting want to talk about the two single-sex leadership academies.

A large number of students and parents from the Wake Young Men's Leadership Academy and Wake Young Women's Leadership Academy are in the audience. Speakers want to talk about approving the schematic designs for renovations for the two schools and the lease for the WYMLA to stay at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind.

Some families at the two schools are worried that the firing of Superintendent Tony Tata, who was a big backer of the program, could jeopardize the future of the program.


The board agreed to spend $3.4 million to renovate the former Thompson School in downtown Raleigh so the Wake Young Men's Leadership Academy can relocate there next year.

The board approved spending $4.7 million to renovate part of the campus of the Governor Morehead School for the Blind that's housing the Wake Young Women's Leadership Academy.

Before the votes, board member Jim Martin spoke to the students about issues such as the need to explain to others why school diversity is valuable and that per-pupil funding shouldn't be cut.  Students had talked about the diversity at the all-application school.

After the closed session tonight, the board voted to authorize negotiating a 20-year lease with the Morehead School to house the Wake Young Women's Leadership Academy.


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too willing to go along

The more I think about the vote to continue with the plans for the CTE high school, the more I think it is emblematic of the problem I have with this board. They have raised legitimate concerns about the CTE high school that should be explored and settled before they move forward. But, instead they just raised the concerns and then go forward anyway. The same thing happened with the leadership schools. They were sold, initially, as a way to help at risk kids who were in danger of dropping out without a more rigorous, structued environment and the advantages of a smaller school. The model they touted was the leadership school in Greensboro. What we got was a school that has many kids who are not at risk (because I have a 6th grader, I know quite a few people who are going to those schools and none would remotely qualify as the demographic that the Greensboro schools serve), and doesn't even have college partners in place yet even though that must happen by next year for the school to fulfill the promise they made to the 9th graders who are currently enrolled. It was clear fairly early on that there were problems with the school and that the initial conception was changing radically, but the board went along anyway. This board needs to stop "going along" and if they have concerns actually act on them before projects get so far along that they can't be stopped. They need to come up with a coherent vision and then act from there. 


Did anyone hear Martin's "speech" to the Leadership students?

So glad that the families

So glad that the families are there to show support for the programs.


Why is it OK to spend extra on students in the Leadership Schools and it is not OK to spend extra on Magnet Students?

I have never said we

I have never said we shouldn't have magnets. I have 2 main issues with magnet schools: 1) the unfair "lottery" that gives seats first to students whose families live in the right nodes. 2) the Group 2 magnets that are not located in low income areas and are experiencing a growth in their base areas.

There are other issues with magnets such as making sure all students are served, both ED and NED, but the above two are my main issues and the ones that I speak out about.

Why don't you ask that question in reverse

Why don't you ask that question in reverse of the magnet supporters who are out there questioning the spending on the Leadership Schools, theme schools and Renaissance schools?

Jenman can respond for herself. However, if I remember right one issue she has with magnets is the base assigned nodes, particularly the NED nodes. Leadership Schools don't have pre-assigned nodes and students. They are 100% application, which by the way, is how magnets operate in other places.


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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.