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Tedesco asking community leaders to join task force

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Wake County school board member John Tedesco has approached several African-American leaders to be a part of the economically disadvantaged student performance task force.

Tedesco said he's contacted several people, including Raleigh City Councilman James West, Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association President Daniel Coleman and the Rev. Patrick Wooden, the pastor of Raleigh's Upper Room Church of God in Christ. He said he's been asking people who are leaders and who represent a broad section of the community.

Tedesco said he has not asked the Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, to participate on the task force. Both men have had a war of words over the new school board majority's plan to end the diversity policy.

But Tedesco has asked supporters of the diversity policy to be on the task force. The RWCA is one of the groups that joined the Great Schools in Wake Coalition to support the diversity policy.

Wooden is perhaps best known locally for his annual efforts to encourage shoppers to only patronize stores that use the greeting "Merry Christmas." He's argued that saying "Happy Holidays" is part of an anti-Christian effort.

Tedesco is using his prerogative as chairman of the task force to identify which community members will take part. Unlike regular board committees, the task force doesn't have to get community members approved by the full board.

Tedesco said he's planning on taking the task force into the community as part of the mandate to recommend ways to lower suspensions, raise student achievement and improve the graduation rate.

Tedesco said he'll hold meetings in Southeast Raleigh and Garner. He said they'll meet at various times of the day and on weekends too to try to make the meetings more convenient for people.


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I wonder how this task group

I wonder how this task group and the various interested parties, grassroots and otherwise, who have been involved in this topic over the years will reconcile the various perspectives. For instance, even at the entry to this blog the statement clearly poses neighborhood schools vs the diversity policy. And yet (little ray of sunshine here) Arne Duncan presents in his speech to the Harlem Children Zone's conference (run by another one of my heros - Geoffery Canada) about the importance of place-based programs.


"place-based programs can never lose sight of the fact that great neighborhood schools, are still, hands-down, the most critical anti-poverty tool of all for closing the achievement and opportunity gap."

 In this CREATIVE, NEW, HOPEFUL path neighborhood schools are critically at the center of helping at-risk children. I wonder how the diversity-at-all-costs crowd is going to reconcile the fact that this 'helping children in their own neighborhood' approach of the Obama administration is exactly the track that John Tedesco is on?It will be an interesting few years. And hopefully more HOPEFUL.

They will not reconcile

They will not reconcile it.  They'll just keep saying the only successful neighborhood schools are in Fairfax where they spend twice as much or distract us with claims of racism, segregation etc.  All this without data and ignoring the references and examples we point them to.   We must, however, keep marching forward.  The diversity-at-all-cost crowd will eventually be nothing more than fleas on our backs.

"They'll just keep saying

"They'll just keep saying the only successful neighborhood schools are in Fairfax where they spend twice as much or distract us "

It is your man John who keeps pointing to Fairfax.  I went to Fairfax schools and they are much different than Wake ... high end families were always moving in and out for their "Washington" rotation ...

Picking a nit

Instead of picking a nit, user, would respond to my original post regarding Arne Duncan's speech? I'm honestly interested in your response. Thanks

Sorry SDR ... I was

Sorry SDR ... I was responding to another post ... I skimmed the article and think it is a powerful vision ...

Personally, I connected most with the quote:

Ernest Boyer, the former head of the Carnegie Foundation, had it right when he said that it is "impossible to have an island of educational excellence in a sea of community indifference.".

Until the people affected see the vision, the schools will struggle ... having well meaning people on the northside  tell the folks on the southside how to live their lives mean that any project started will die when the northsiders lose interest.   The same indifference exist for the whole county and WCPSS is the island.  So, I am not hopeful of starting the transformation from the schools ... I think the schools are reflection of the communities passion for education and children.

Thank you

Thank you for responding. So, its your true and honest opinion that there are NO interested parents on the 'southside' who could be supported to build up a school-focused community? Really? NO parents passionate about education there? A less interested community than even Harlem?

I've heard enough indication that there may be parents and citizens in the two potential worrisome 'zones' (if those maps and discussions regarding the 'zones' turn out to be correct) that would suggest otherwise. I am suspicious that each district, each pocket of the county/school system has been very much like what I have see in my own little pocket here, parents who are disconnected and don't know how to get involved until there is a real centrifical pull from the school itself. That was certainly my own personal experience, and even so I needed the connection with other moms at the bus-stop and in volunteer activities to guide me and tell me 'how' to do it. Its true. There are a whole set of skills there that can be very intimidating, even for a confident educated person. Oh, and just when I thought I'd gotten the hang of it we were reassigned. I know you say it shouldn't be a big deal for someone like me to pick up and translate those activities. But in fact, it was. You might sneer at the idea, but for moms especially the whole school thing is also a social thing and can be very complicated emotionally. And women are women and moms are moms no matter what color or size or shelf the packaging comes from. A person can't be good at everything, and focusing on the minutea involved with these volunteering activities is just hard for me. Its not a talent I have, and I needed the help of my friends. I would not make a good PTA President, let's just say.

I can imagine how this would be exacerbated if you've not had an especially good experience in school yourself. I think THAT is more likely where the problems lay - having the confidence and the social network to help you get involved. Not that parents are disinterested in their children per se. That would be a pretty dismal assessment of a whole segment of the county population, wouldn't you say? 

Doncha think its a possibility that parents have not been active because the schools their children attend are so far away, so building a social network there is difficult even if they can get to the school, AND/or that the school community has not had the right programs to get them involved? 

 Just asking you to consider the possibilities that there are a few threads of grey here.  

SDR ... gut feel

"Thank you for responding. So, it is your true and honest opinion that there are NO interested parents on the 'southside' who could be supported to build up a school-focused community? Really? NO parents passionate about education there? A less interested community than even Harlem? " 

SDR ... I am just using my gut feel ... let's look at the facts ... reassignment ... my old neighborhood ($1M homes) was interviewed four times on TV for 75 kids affected which was disproportional ... southside does not have any PACs, Website, or large parent groups like Lucy and Leesville ... many of the recent BOE meeting avoided the area ... in essence, they are invisible and politically dead ... the good thing about the diversity policy was that dynamic moms (and dads) would go into ITB schools and organize and agitate for THEIR school.  So, they got more for a group that would normally be ignored.  The first time I went to Hunter for a neighbor's child’s play which is downtown and would have been a suicide trip for a White person in Atlanta late at night and it was like any other "normal" school and I was amazed ... so, they need energy, organization and encouragement and maybe a little outrage if someone else is getting more ... I have high hopes for John that he bridge the poor minority with the affluent powerful to create the spark that will start the fire that leads to the things you mention above.


I have no man and no man has

I have no man and no man has me....

I keep pointing to Houston, TX which stomps WCPSS in every measure of ED performance with similar/less funding and much, much greater social issues than WCPSS. 

"I keep pointing to Houston,

"I keep pointing to Houston, TX which stomps WCPSS in every measure of ED performance with similar/less funding and much, much greater social issues than WCPSS.  "

How about some examples ... how do we know their tests are not easier to facilitate higher scores? It seems like every school is above 90% which seem unusual.  Also, there is a 15% difference so they can provide more for the same amount of money. They get most of their money from local funding and we get most of our funding from the state.

Take a look .. for most schools, 100% of the kids pass ...



User, You can't tell


You can't tell anything trying to compare on states test vs the other.  I'm comparing the Houston's results on a national testing program (NAEP) where Houston was compared with Charlotte.  WCPSS did not participate in this program so I can't compare directly.  However, we already know Charlotte does better than WCPSS with regard to ED student performance so if Houston does better on this  test than Charlotte with ED students, we can assume they are also doing better than wake. 

Follow this link and you will see that Houston ISD, with twice the ED students as Charlotte (and nearly 3X higher % than WCPSS is beating) is out performing us (pgs 17 and 30 on the pdf).  Also, Houston is narrowing the gap and all trends are in the right direction wheres Charlotte (and WCPSS) the are stagnent or moving in the wrong direction. 

Read and enjoy!




Just to add, slight off

Just to add, slight off topic....

FYI - Grier is the former Sup of Guilford Co. and is an E. Carolina grad I believe.....

HISD Pays Out $40.4 Million in Performance Pay

15,688 employees receive a bonus for helping students improve academically

January 27, 2010

Superintendent of Schools Terry B. Grier (right) congratulates a history teacher at HISD's Luther Burbank Middle School for earning one of the largest performance pay bonuses for the 2009 school year through the district's ASPIRE program.More than 15,000 HISD teachers, principals, instructional, and non-instructional staff members received performance pay totaling $40.4 million on January 27, 2010, for helping children improve in the classroom. This exceeds last year’s payout by approximately $8.8 million.In all, 15,688 HISD employees received performance pay, ranging from $25 to $15,530. That’s 88 percent of eligible HISD employees. The largest bonus paid to any one teacher is $10,890, with an average award of $3,606. Among principals who received some award, amounts ranged from $240 to $15,530, with an average award of $6,124.HISD Superintendent of Schools Terry B. Grier visited Luther Burbank Middle School to congratulate one of three teachers in the district to receive the top dollar amount. Employees at Burbank received more than $560,000 in bonuses.“These bonuses are a testament to the high-quality staff we have on our campuses and their focus on differentiating instruction to meet the needs of all HISD children,” said Dr. Grier. “The students are winners as well because our data shows they are making notable academic gains from year to year because of the efforts of our dedicated employees.”The performance pay program is part of ASPIRE (Accelerating Student Progress Increasing Results & Expectations), HISD’s comprehensive school improvement strategy. HISD’s performance pay program for teachers is one of the largest in the country. The program measures teacher and school impact on student academic progress from year to year using both achievement data and value added analysisThe ASPIRE awards program model divides growth into four groups known as quartiles. There was significant growth in all the quartiles for the 2008-2009 school year. Of the 270 HISD campuses with value added scores, 224 (83 percent) had statistically significant growth across all grades and subjects.“For those teachers who did not receive an ASPIRE award this year, it doesn’t mean their students or their campus didn’t grow academically, it just means that their performance wasn’t in the top 50 percent for last year,” said Assistant Superintendent for Research and Accountability Carla Stevens.

Prior to Wednesday’s payout, every teacher was given access to a special online Web site where they could see their estimated bonus amount and information about the value-added scores that led to the calculation of the bonus amount. That gave employees plenty of time to check the information and ask questions or raise concerns.

Non-instructional staff at schools, including teacher aides and clerks, also had a chance to take part in the performance pay program, and 3,951 non-instructional staff members at schools earned bonuses ranging from $25 to $1870.

HISD launched the teacher performance pay program in January 2007 as a way of identifying and rewarding teachers for strong academic growth by children and as a tool for recruiting and retaining the best teachers. Since 2007, HISD has awarded over $113 million in teacher performance pay.



The national center for educational statistics did a study comparing the various tests used by the states and mapping their scores onto the equivalent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). 

In general, NC's and TX' scores were about comparable, with the exception of 4th grade math where NC's tests were dramatically harder than TX's.

See http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pdf/studies/2010456.pdf   p. 17, 20

South Carolina came out on top -- passing SC's test means a LOT more than passing NC's.

so you think 100% of the

so you think 100% of the kids in nearly 100% of the schools passing on the page I included above did not seem unusual?

Don't see it..

I didn't even look at that before, just trying to point out that our standards are about comparable. 

In any case, I'm looking at the pages you indicated and don't see what you're talking about -- I think the relevant test is "TAKS" (search for that on the second page).   When I click through to various Houston ES' on the first page you provided, I see lots of number that aren't 100%.



There will always be a few die-hards on both ends of the spectrum who will cling to their theocracy dreams. However, I am a bit more of an optimist shearertw (also known as 'sucker' at times). I think there are aspects to this argument that will make THINKING people pause. 

Short Term or Long Term Results

Keep doing what you've always done and you'll get the same results that you've always gotten.

For short term results with no traction, keep including those who do not care about real change. For long term, meet with the Executive Directors of Wake Communities in Schools, the Raleigh Housing Authority, and the Presidents of St. Augustines College and Shaw University. They'll know what to say, what to do, who to include, who to exclude. and how to structure a long term plan for success. Venita Peyton

Excellent suggestions.

Excellent suggestions.

I just remembered something.

I just remembered something. Didn't Barber comment that Tedesco asked him to join the task force and he said no? Because Barber didn't believe that Tedesco was really interested in helping ED/minority/low performing kids?

The best move he could make

The best move he could make would be bringing in someone from the wake NAACP. (not the state)

The NAACP has no legitimacy.

The NAACP has no legitimacy. They've theatened law suits, made accusations of racism, and have distorted the facts beyond recognition. Until they tone down the rhetoric and acknowledge some truths about the problems in the black community, their place at the table should be given to someone else. We can blame Barber for his oafish behavior, but I do not hear anyone from the Wake NAACP discounting Barber's bombastic nonsense. 


Once you all have decided who is acceptable to represent the position and goals of African Americans, hispanics, the poor and other stakeholders in our system, I hope you will let them know so they can become more "cooperative" in the words of Mr. Margiotta. Are you saying they only have a voice if they conduct themselves according to your standards and dictates? That the majority will decide who speaks for the minority?

I find many of these comments offensive in that regard. And it undermines the stated goal (and commitment of the Board) to serve the needs of all children in the system.

What evidence do you have

What evidence do you have the Barber represents the views of any group? Being loud and offensive is no measure of support. 

Barber was invited by Margiotta to meet with the board leadership and Barber declined. This tells me that Barber is more interested in creating a public spectacle than actually having a dialog.

I do not think anyone has to "conduct themselves according to (my) standards and dictates," but those that choose to insult, distort and inflame to make their point should be asked to reconsider their methods before being invited to join the conversation where collaboration is essential. Barber does not deserve special consideration just because he claims to represent a minority group.


I find the idea that any individual is "acceptable" to represent even just African Americans to be strange.  Which white person is acceptable to represent all white people?  That's why Tedesco is reaching out to a bunch of different people.

The NAACP presumably isn't represented because its leadership has proven itself to be more interested in self-aggrandizing than in being constructive.  I don't care if it's a committee to host the local flower show; self-aggrandizing behavior is toxic.

Mr Tedesco, to his credit,

Mr Tedesco, to his credit, is the one reaching out to invite individuals to the table to represent a wide range of viewpoints and/or groups of people. (Yay, diversity!) That this thread has become a diatribe against Rev. Barber and to some extent the NAACP, strikes an uneasy chord with me. You may not agree with the NAACP, but to say they can't come to the table, that they aren't a legitimate group, well I don't think that's a decision most on this discussion board are qualified to make. 

I am only a recent reader of these blogs, and while I find comments to lean primarily in favor of the new Board's direction (and I don't), I do appreciate many of your comments and contributions, Bob. We all have a lot to learn if we're going to continue to have a great school system. And I do believe we have great schools...I'm a parent of a second grader and I'm humbled everyday by what I see in the classroom and the school community. 


So, I don't think it's a matter of being "qualified" to make that sort of decision.  The fact is that Barbour has been very antagonistic to the current board.   And, that's not helpful attitude moving forward.

I suppose he could stop, admit his approach was wrong and agree to move forward constructively.  But, I just don't think that's his style.

Now, if the Wake NAACP wants to disown Barbour (either in fact or in spirit) and they actually have something to contribute, then great.   The NAACP has a long history of actually helping African Americans; it would be shame to let a fool ruin what could be a good working relationship.

Barber doesn't even live in

Barber doesn't even live in Wake County, another reason for not including him. I'm glad to see JT reaching out to the community.

he needs to reach out to

he needs to reach out to everyone - not just people who agree with the new BOE majority

I don't think that James

I don't think that James West agrees with the new BOE majority.  John has done more reaching out to people who don't agree with him than probably any other board member that I can think of. 

I do agree with Perry/WhalerCane above that JT should reach out to the Wake NAACP leaders, even though I also agree with Bob that they are out of touch with their own constituents.  ;-)

"out of touch with their own

"out of touch with their own constituents"

What do you mean by this?  

Say what you mean please.

I did say what I meant. 

I did say what I meant.  And yes, Bob is right.  My comment was in reference to his.

I think...

This was a reference to my saying that my black friends think the NAACP is a bunch of kooks. 

"Kooks" is my word.  I haven't had a long serious discussion with any of them about it, but I think the word "kook" does a good job of summing up the tidbits of discussion I have had.

I'm white, but I think the Aryan Nation is a bunch of kooks also.  I don't know how any group can claim to speak for an entire race.

It's a farce unless you

It's a farce unless you include Wake NAACP.

Why, of all groups that

Why, of all groups that claim to represent others, should the NAACP receive special consideration and status? Considering Barber's recent bizarre antics, he needs to earn back any right to be heard.

How so?  Explain? The

How so?  Explain?

The NAACP represents "colored people" (supposedly).  The task force is about helping the performance of ED kids irregardless of color.  

To include Rev Barber would make in circus... 

I didn't say Rev. Barber,

I didn't say Rev. Barber, but Wake NAACP.  The reason is if John is hoping to reach out to African American Community, as it appears he is and I applaud him for, he should include the NAACP. 

On another note, kind of like the Rev. Farrakan, The Rev. Wooten has demonstrated he is not a fan of diversity, openly calling for discrimination against certain classes of people.

Law suit

Hello? NAACP has threatened a law suit. I certainly wouldn't invite ANYone representing a group threatening a law suit against me to a table where I wanted to be completely free to express and discuss sensitive issues and move forward in new and creative ways. Too much risk involved. Too much distraction and 'other business' to weight down the discussion.

If the NAACP had wanted to really focus on community dialog they certainly should have gone about this another way. With this looming threat and toxic behavior out there they've turned themselves into pariahs for folks who want to build bridges not walls. 

That said, (and this is just me talking) maybe if the lawsuit threat were withdrawn and someone were to approach John honestly and personally, the dialog could continue in a  healthy way? Otherwise. Yikes! Would not be a smart move to include someone threatening you with a lawsuit. Any dumb old citizen can see that.  

If Billy Barber and the

If Billy Barber and the NAACP really cared about educating black children, where have they been the last ten years.  Seems like everything was hunky-dory with them as long as diversity was maintained.  Even then, one-third of Wake schools are not "diverse" yet these folks have been silent.  Where was the outcry every year when progressively lower graduation rates were published?  Where was the outcry over the increasing achievement gap?  Where was the outcry over the SAS report demonstrating that black children were the subject of discrimination?

Seems like these folks don't bring anything to the table except aggitation, legislation and litigation (someone else once said that).

If the Wake NAACP renounces

If the Wake NAACP renounces Rev. Barber, I could agree that having them at the table could be beneficial.

Why not just reach out to

Why not just reach out to leaders in the black community?  Why does it have to be the NAACP?  Perhaps they're not the best reps for that community in Wake Co.  I don't know what is but I'm thinking you don't either but you decided to call it a "farce" if he didn't specifically reach out to them.  What about the CCCCCCCCCAAACAACCC folks? 

This is a task for to improve ED performance, not black graduation rates or black student performance.  We need people who represent the ED pop as a whole and we need people with real ideas and solutions that could work and won't be stuck talking about ideas that don't.

So, why...

I'm not black, but do have a number of black friends who generally think today's NAACP is a bunch of kooks. 

Now, I'll admit that my friends may not be representative of the African American community.  But, it could be that, on this issue, they are.  How important is the NAACP in reaching out to the African American community?

Frankly, my impression of Barbour is that he's just looking to make a name for himself.   If he's the leader of the NC NAACP, what does that say of the rest of the organization?


I recognize that it was in the middle, but, Perry, this was a serious question addressed to you:

 How important is the NAACP in reaching out to the African American community?

"bunch of kooks"

now we're onto something!

I think John has reached out already more than any board rep. in the history of this county.  Certainly in the last decade.  D2 and all of Wake County should be thankful!


Ditto.  D2 and all of Wake

Ditto.  D2 and all of Wake County should be thankful for J Tedesco.

Maybe John could request the

Maybe John could request the NAACP nominate 2-3 members to participate rather than Rev. Barber himself. 

...that live in Wake

...that live in Wake county...


I like that suggestion JSB 

But personally, if I were John and obviously I don't have an ounce of the courage he does, I would first expect some kind of softening of the position on the lawsuit first. Otherwise it would just put a shadow over the whole discussion. No way to be truly open and too much of a threat that 'anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law' etc. 

Very admirable to include

Very admirable to include others in this task force.

Good move leaving Rev. Barber out.  He is consumed with self promotion and has no desire to help ED and black children.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.