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Wake County school board chairman Kevin Hill not expecting "massive reassignment" under new student assignment plan

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Wake County school board chairman Kevin Hill is trying to ease concerns about the school board's recent vote to change the student assignment plan for the 2013-14 school year.

As noted in today's article, Hill said during a Friday meeting with N&O editors and reporters that he's not expecting the return to an address-based plan to result in large-scale reassignment. He stressed the proposed "stay where you start" policy which would allow students to stay at the school they're attending until they complete the grade span.

But Hill also said they're still going to have to reassign people to fill all the new schools that Wake will need to deal with growth.

While short on details, Hill said they're trying to combine the best elements of the old plan and the choice plan. He said he expects staff to present the proposal to the board in early September. In the interim, Hill said he wants board members to meet with staff so they're kept in the loop about what will be proposed.

"Let's work together and move forward," Hill said. "Nobody has said that choice is dead. The choice plan had some very good points."

But Hill said the good points had to be weighed against the negative impact on newcomers and the problems caused by the choice plan's K-12 feeder patterns. He pointed to how families might not want to go to a magnet school for the entire K-12 span.

Hill said the board majority was moved to act over the past month after seeing the negative school demographic trends from the initial choice plan data.

The negative trend data is why Hill said the board majority also passed on June 19/20 that seats be reserved at the high-performing regional-choice schools for applicants from low-performing nodes. With hundreds of kindergarten students still expected to enroll, Hill said that past experience has shown that late-arriving families are more likely to have high-needs students.

Hill said the board majority was concerned that the late-arriving students could increase the F&R percentages by 10 or more percentage points at six to eight elementary schools.

"Wake County deserves better than that," Hill said of the potential demographic shifts. "Wake County kids deserve better than that."

Hill said that's why it was important to leave open enough seats at the regional-choice schools for applicants.

Hill promoted the merits of an address-based plan, saying "we need to have addresses tied to schools as much as we can." Hill pointed to the ability of Realtors to be able to sell Wake County to prospective homebuyers.

Hill also said that an address-based plan would help Wake better deal with growth and diversity.

Hill promoted the benefits of having diverse schools, noting the "national accolades" that Wake had received. He said his "proudest moment" was in 2009 when he accepted an award from the National School Boards Association’s Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) for the diversity policy.

“I do believe that we need to keep an eye on diversity," Hill said. "I think it’s important that our students are exposed to the diversity of our community.

Hill acknowledged that there were problems from the old plan that needed to be fixed, including students being on the bus too long. Then there's the issue of stability, which is why they're looking at adding a "stay where you start" policy.

“It will be their decision should they change school next year,” Hill said. “Parents have gone through a tremendous amount of agony and homework. And I believe there are a lot of parents that still don’t understand the system.

But Hill also pointed to how they're projecting the need to build and populate 20 new schools over the next eight years.

“If we’re going to open 20 schools in the next eight years, somebody’s got to go to them,” Hill said. “Our commitment is that every one of those 20 schools is as good as the schools that people might be asked to leave.”

Hill contrasted that with the problems they had getting people to apply to new schools like Abbotts Creek Elementary under the choice plan.

Still, Hill said he didn't foresee "massive reassignment" when they move to the new plan.

"I don't see the continuous reassignment that happened in the past," Hill said.

Hill said he envisions the new plan being focused around the opening of new schools, something he said had begun to happen when the three-year assignment plan was adopted in 2009.

Hill said he considered assignment to be one of the three major issues facing Wake. But he said assignments isn't the biggest one. He said the biggest are the other two issues: growth and budget.

Hill said he's been consistently talking about the growth issue since he was elected to the board in 2007.

"Growth is the big elephant in the room," Hill said. "Clearly it's a good thing. It's a double-edged issue. We want growth in Wake County. But we have to recognize that growth presents challenges."

In terms of the bond issue, Hill said he wants the Wake County Board of Commissioners to take a lead position in championing it to the public. He said they can't afford a repeat of what happened when the bond issue was defeated in 1999.

"I know what happened when the bond issue didn't pass," Hill said. "It took us eight-nine years to half recover from it."

One of the things that the commissioners and the community need to discuss, Hill said, is whether it's willing to support a large enough bond issue to build enough traditional-calendar schools instead of multi-track year-round schools that can cut down on construction costs by holding more students.

Hill pointed back to how the 2006 bond issue was reduced in amount by agreeing to open new elementary and middle schools on the year-round calendar and converting 23 existing schools to the year-round calendar.

"Is the community willing to pay the taxes to have only schools on traditional?" Hill said.

Hill said the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce also needs to take a leading role in getting a bond passed. He admitted he was a "little frustrated" at how the Chamber expressed disappointment on the vote on the assignment directive. He said the Chamber should have recognized how the choice plan negatively impacted newcomers.

In terms of budget, Hill said Wake is getting bang for the buck.

"People may not be in the school they want to be in," Hill said. "But they will receive a good education. When they leave Wake County, they'll look back and realize what a good education they received."

But Hill said that budget cuts in recent years have hurt academics. Hill said that Wake has avoided teacher layoffs because of the annual student growth that leads to additional state funding. But he said the cuts have resulted in problems such as larger class sizes.

Here are some of the other topics that were discussed:

Hill said he hopes that Tony Tata will still be superintendent a year from now.

"I like Tony," Hill said. "He's a professional. I had a meeting with him yesterday. He's assured me he's ready to move forward with developing a new plan. He works for the board. He knows that."

Hill said Tata did a good job of selling the choice plan. He said he hopes Tata can do the same with the new plan.

Hill said that prior to the 2009 school board elections when they became political issues, the public hadn't been talking much about neighborhood/community schools or the diversity policy. He said the fight in 2006 through 2008 was about mandatory year round assignments.

"We've got to get the politics out of the school board," Hill said.

1347245608 Wake County school board chairman Kevin Hill not expecting "massive reassignment" under new student assignment plan The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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interesting read

What is it about family engagement that stirs so much skepticism or fear within educators? Why do we think we can continue doing what we have always done and expect that our situation will improve?  To take one giant step forward, we need to stop asking why family engagement is important. The question should be more focused on just exactly what we plan on doing about it 


read kevin's words clearly

Hill said the board majority was concerned that the late-arriving students could increase the F&R percentages by 10 or more percentage points at six to eight elementary schools. "Wake County deserves better than that," Hill said of the potential demographic shifts. "Wake County kids deserve better than that."

Here is what I hear: Low income children are toxic to schools, they make schools unhealthy. We can't educate them, their families can't be productive members of our system. We must dilute them across the system to prevent damage to our schools, Wake County deserves better than to have too many uneducatable children in one school.

When will our representatives for our low income communities WAKE UP? When will they hear what Kevin, Susan and Jim are really saying?

Now a reality check for the pro-policy 6200 crowd - it does not work. Kevin is correct that ED families do tend to trickle in for registration. But we have massively underestimated population in high density/low income areas many, many times and gotten completely caught with our pants down during policy 6200, particularly with a large influx of ESL children. And because we don't fund our schools based on need these schools get screwed. Assignment that is demographics based does not work, it never did, it never will.

They are banking on the concept that if they offer families stability they can still shove them into under enrolled, under funded schools with no enrichment opportunities. High income parents won't do it, they were done. Kevin needs to look at the election maps in D3. He did not win in any of the precincts in the upper tier. Those parents are not going to show up for forced busing into the rim.

The choice model was our only opportunity for balance in our schools.

Read more here: http://blogs.newsobserver.com/wakeed/wake-county-school-board-chairman-kevin-hill-not-expecting-massive-reassignment-under-new-stu#comment-form#storylink=cpy

Are you for real?

It is obvious that your downright hatred for Kevin Hill forced this verbal spewing.

You FINALLY get to the point of funding, and it is there we agree, except contrary to what you spout,  Wake does fund schools based on need. What you do not like is the process and the level to which Wake does this.  You consistently spout the challenges of educating ESL children, but your solution of adequate funding can only come from the schools that have it.  I bet if you ask those parents of the schools with few non-English speaking children they will tell you their school does not have adequate funding. So, if your solution is to take from those who in your opinion "have" and give it to those that in your opinion do not, you create the same revolution that has been played out in Charlotte - the "rich" schools and parents are angry at having to greater fund the schools needing more resources due to the educational needs of the children there.

We agree on this - it cost more money and requires more resources to educate a child who is not as prepared as their peers. Two methods combat this - move the money to the children, or move the children to the money. Knowing now that parent choice greater polarized next year's K classes, how can you justify saying "the choice model was our only opportunity to balance our schools" and then say "Assignment that is demographics based does not work".  The choice model in your opinion was the way to achieve that, even though there was no component in the algorithm for the balance?   What IS you definition of balance anyway?  How should it be achieved?

Funding and Achievement

As you probably know, I agree with your premise that it's prudent to avoid high poverty, racially isolated schools where it is feasible to do so. I disagree with Shila's apparent suggestion that a system that implements such a policy necessarily views low-performing children as toxic.

That said, she is not as wrong as you suggest regarding funding. Wake allocates relatively little funding based on (academic) need—special education and ESL funding come to mind. Wake allocates other funding based on poverty (Title I), which correlates well with academic need but isn't the same thing. Wake allocates magnet funding at Group I and II schools primarily to attract and retain affluent and proficient children, and I don't think it would be fair to say that this funding was allocated based on "need" in any meaningful sense. So there's a lot of differential funding that isn't based on "need" to go along with the funding that is.

In addition, I'm not sure Shila's only solution to inadequate resources is robbing Peter to pay Paul. She can answer that herself. But given that there is no more money to be had under our present rulership, it does not seem inappropriate to question how it is currently divided up, since there are many schools that the pre-2009 Board was never willing or able to diversify by need or anything else, even though it was quite possible to do so in some of the cases. You rightly point out that the affluent in currently diversified schools will resist having their resources taken—and I know Shila is acutely aware of that—but that does not mean it shouldn't be discussed.

Finally, I am not sure what Shila meant about the choice model providing balance. I expect she meant balanced allocation of resources, not demographic balance. Certainly the choice system was not on track to achieve the latter. Neither, however, are base assignments, which are precisely the system of neighborhood schools that diversity advocates (like me) once sought to avoid. Only an affirmative commitment to limiting the number of low-achieving children in any one school, and to the transportation and nonmonetary costs associated with it, will achieve that. It is unclear to me that the Board is willing to pay that price; certainly they aren't talking about it in a very realistic way, as Bob pointed out.

And finally finally, neither a choice plan nor a base assignment plan will diversify every school or ensure that a diverse school actually spends its resources in a way that provides an effective education to low-performing children, so it should remain an objective to find ways to create and maintain high growth in both settings, and we certainly should not assume it will just happen in our low poverty, racially diverse settings.

what is our message?

I agree with everything you said Neil. But I disagree that demographic-based assignment does not send a message about the value of certain children. For 10 years we had a "healthy schools report" that defined healthy schools as those with low F&R. In reality we had high F&R schools such as Bugg and WFRMS that were showing tremendous growth across all achievement levels and in turn, many low F&R schools that were failing to get growth across all achievement levels. I object to the message we send about ED kids.

A choice plan - with the right algorithm - will allow us to balance based on need so that need does not outstrip resources in a school. I refer to this as a 'Robin Hood' system below, and it is not wrong to have this sort of system. In my opinion it is ok to seek to balance schools and use money to support the education of all children. I am just being honest about the intent of balance, certain groups have tried to make it noble or righteous, when in reality it is simple fiscal responsibility. Financially speaking, it is less expensive to educate proficient children and harder to educate those who are years behind. And there are more children who are behind in the NED cohort, i.e. there is greater need.

As you said, we can only accomplish balancing of need to a certain degree, and then from there we must understand how to run a school with greater need (i.e. Brentwood ES). We need to understand that shifting TDA to MOE is not an adequate solution for those schools, and they need more of both TDA and MOE.

We need to consider all sources of money - outside of PTA money - when making allotment decisions. After school programs bring in tremendous amounts of money to schools such as Pleasant Union ES that allow them to offer a lot of enrichment. Should their TDA be as great as it is? Or should a Title I school such as Baileywick, which can't have an afterschool program, receive more TDA? PTA money (real or perceived) should never enter into the conversation. These are the real questions and potential solutions to our resource problem - demographic-based assignment will not solve these problems.

Noble and Righteous

I don't know that demographically balanced schools are noble and righteous, but I do think they are desirable for reasons other than fiscal responsibility. They offer insight into the way others live, and the way the world is, to a degree that homogeneous schools do not.

Can you say more about how this after school program at Pleasant Union brings in so much money that is used for enrichment, and why Baileywick cannot have an after school program?

After school programs

A few schools have after school programs run by the Y and I imagine the Y pays rent to the school in those cases.

Many schools have before and/or after care programs run by the school staff. The school gets the funds. The funds can be used for anything as long as the students in before/after care receive some benefit, even if the majority of the benefit is outside of before/after care. For example, the funds could be used to purchase computers and Study Island, which can be used by all students in the school during the school day, as long as at some point during after care, the after care students use the computers and Study Island. Principal decides. It could be computers, laptops, smartboards, ipads, sports-type equipment as long as the after care students could/would use them during after care too.

If you look at the budget info from the Task Force, some schools are showing >$200K in before and after care (others are in the $50k or $100-$200k range). That's a lot of extra dollars and more than many schools are showing in Title I. Not all the schools are what would generally be thought of as "affluent" schools. After all dual working class and single parent families need somewhere for their kids to be after school too and wcpss is generally less expensive than the Y and many private after care programs.

What I find interesting is that some of the "affluent" schools are pulling in a lot in before/after care $. A family generally only pays for before/after care if both parents are working, but I keep hearing all those affluent moms are staying home spending all day volunteering at school and helping their kids with homework after school ;-)

Net Profit

As I recall, the Task Force data showed sources of income but did not show how the money was used. So in this context what I was trying to figure out was how much, if any, money generated by the two after school programs was used for something else, and whether the something else was educationally consequential. Sounds like we may not know, but I thought Shila might.

Sorry, Neil - here's some more information

Sorry, being familiar with before/after care, I didn't realize that someone who wasn't might not realize that $150k in revenue would generate a net profit. You are correct in that exact expense figures weren't provided. However, here is some additional information, which should give an indication.

For the programs run by wcpss (versus third-party), the rates are based on $2.75 per hour (however, you pay a set amount for before and/or after care per month regardless of how many hours your kids are actually there) and a school must have a minimum of 30 students in the program to operate one. For example, if the school starts at 9:15 and before care program starts at 7:00 a.m., the yearly fee per student is $881.25 (even though based on your needs and schedule, you might not drop your child off until 8:00); if school ends at 3:45 and after care ends at 6:00 p.m., the yearly fee is $1,046.25. Public schools are exempt from NC Childcare laws, but if they were subject the ratio for school age would be 1:25 (staff:children). 1:25 is about inline with what I've seen at a school. As an example, based on $150000 in revenue/180 schools days/4 hours of operation per day/$2.75 per hour per child gives you about 75 kids in the program, which can be covered with 3 staff. $2.75 per hour per child * 75 kids is $206/hour reveune. Per the wcpss job postings, before/after care positions are "extra duty" hourly pay (similar to coaching positions). Certified before/after care coordinator pay is $25/hr and non-certified is $16/hr. Certified before/after assistant pay is $22.50/hr and non-certified amount wasn't stated, but presumably less than the $16 for the coordinator level. So, even if the coordinator and both assistants are certified, you are looking at only $70/hour is labor costs. The programs take place on school property during times when the building would be "open" for staff anyway, so very low, if any, additional facility costs. Even being generous with miscellanous costs (say you buy some games, provide some paper and pencils during homework time, maybe a snack) those costs are not likely to be more than $75/hour (likely something much less). So, between labor and other costs you might get to $145/hour, which still leaves $61 (call it $60/hr). $60/hour profit * 4 hours per day * 180 days = $43,200. Even with 4 staff members, you'd still be looking at around $30k in profit.

Hopefully, that gives some more context.


I know that those pay rates are substantially higher than what the Y pays.  (Of course, the school district can't offer Y membership as a perq.)

Very interesting

Thanks for the details. I'd still like to see the actual expenses for some of these programs, though.

I suppose you could try an info request

Bottom line for me is that I know (personally) that some schools are earning additional funding from the programs, which allows them to purchase/provide additional educational resources (technology for example) school-wide. I actually think these programs are a win-win-win. They help the parents (lower cost than many non-wcpss programs*), help the school and system (additional outside funding), and help the students (there are benefits to the kids in having aftercare at their school).

The real question is what to do about the lack of additional resources for the schools that for whatever reasons do not have these programs. Are there other ways they are or could be getting additional financial resources so they can upgrade technology (for example) to be on par with the schools that do have the programs? I think ultimately the goal is to have some reasonable level of equity across the district in whole. 

It wouldn't make sense to create equity by shooting oneself in the foot and removing programs where they are benefitting by bringing additional outside resources into the system, so the question becomes how create to benefit where it is lacking from a relative perspective without breaking what is already working. (For example, running these programs does require extra effort on the school's part, so you don't want to hand school A the equivalent with no effort that school B has to get with effort because that also would be inequitable.)

*Bob - the Y may pay employees less, but has others costs (rent if held at a school or transportation if held at a Y for example). The Y charges more than wcpss (around $1,700/yr for after care alone and that's the member cost).

Sounds good...

I just think we need to use better data to measure the scope and nature of the inequities. Thus far they have looked only at accumulated balances and the income, neither of which are worthwhile indicators. It should not be hard to obtain the detailed expense side of the ledger.

Districtwide Charitable Fund

Is there a districtwide fund to which companies or individuals can donate contributions? 

Not sure about a district-wide fund

If you search wcpss.net there are some listings of donations, but they seem to be associated with specific schools or with a specific area or program through Central Office. I'm not sure a district-wide fund would be the most beneficial as then people might advocate that it be allocated to all schools, when what is really needed is some targeting of additional resources to schools that currently have relatively less in terms of available resources compared to what they need in order to provide comparable educational opportunity.

I do think it is helpful for Central Office to assist in linking up potential donors with where resources are needed and assisting schools in need of resources with guidance on how to access additional resources (knowledge of grant opportunities for example). I've gotten the impression that in many cases it is a direct action or connection of the school (a business or organization near a school goes directly to the school or someone on the school staff is good at finding and applying for grant opportunities).

I agree

Thanks for the information.  I agree about the necessity to allocate resources to the schools that have relatively greater needs.  My thinking is that, with a districtwide fund, some companies and individuals might be more willing to donate.  I suspect that you are right that many current donations depend on direct connections.  In my opinion that could easily lead to disproportionate donations not based on need.  Some schools probably have students whose parents have great connections while others don't.  Of course, this kind of fund would need some really responsible leaders to ensure that need rather than influence is the basis for allocating money.  Maybe they could be community members who are outside the system.

It's the reason why I always make my college donations undesignated rather than targeted toward specific programs.  I hope that the institution will use the money in areas that have the most current need.  (I know, for instance, that MBA programs typically get large corporate donations so I don't restrict my donations to the one at the school I attended.)

I don't know if you found anything, but I believe that some schools in more older, affluent areas have large endowments. 


Depend on what you mean by "large," but I know that Lacy does have an endowment.  The district's been trying to get control of it for years.

There was a report to the board within the last couple of years detailing various contributions -- there were some that were district-wide, but many of them were targeted to specific purposes at individual schools.  If you think about it, that's about what you expect -- somebody hears about a specific need, and fills that need.

And, yes, it does lead to disproportionate donations, not based on some centralized idea of "need."  I'm not sure that's a bad thing.  If I decide to donate, say, 100 new computers to my kids' school, I don't see how that makes any district student worse off.  It would, however, makes some of them better off.  Sure, there may be a different set of kids that the district wants to make better off instead of the set I chose, but it's my money.

At some point, the pre-'09 board briefly talked about trying to collect contributions centrally so the board (or, really, the administration) could direct them to its priorities, instead of to the priorities of the donors.  IIRC, they quickly realized that people would, instead, just stop donating.

Parent donations

I can see where parents who make donations would want to have them benefit a particular school.  That's why I wouldn't do away with allowing schools to have individual endowments.  (just like colleges allow restricted donations that benefit specific schools or programs because you are right that some people won't donate under other circumstances)  However, I would think that corporations or individuals who don't have children in school might want to donate to an undesignated fund. 

I don't know why this didn't work previously unless they planned to do away with the individual school endowments.  It would just be an alternative for those who feel more comfortable making an unspecified donation and allowing a knowledgeable group to determine where the money would provide the most benefit.  I think the key to making it work would be to have a well-respected group making the allocations and providing the public with information about the distribution of the funds, maybe with some publicity for the improvements purchased with the donations. 

I think ASC at my kids

I think ASC at my kids school (run in house) was 200 a month. (Ballpark). That was about 3.5 hours a day as the end of school day is 2:20

rather vague policy


but on one schools' website it indicates that their fees from before/after school care that funds are allocated to support technology in the classrooms.


The argument in your first paragraph would be much more convincing if the district were trying to establish diversity along multiple classifications.  It's a bit bizarre to say that a school is diverse when its students were generally all born in the same 3 hospitals, listen to approximately the same music, watch the same TV shows, have the same basic religion, speak the same language at home, and have lived within 20 miles of each other for their entire lives, just because the family income of some students falls below a specific line, and the family line of other students falls above it.  

I suggest students can get a lot more "insight into the way others live" with a good student exchange program and world cultures curriculum.


I don't agree with your last sentence, but we won't resolve that through argument. Regarding the second, I'm not sure that accurately characterizes any school I have called diverse, or that it is correct on its face, but again, we can't really resolve that through argument. Regarding the first, I am not sure why the district's policies would impact the correctness of a general statement about the value of diversity in schools or why promoting only one kind of diversity through policy would mean diversity isn't valuable. In any event, I understand that some people don't value it at all, or as much, or in the same way, but that doesn't mean (per Shila's suggestion) that there are no legitimate non-fiscal justifications for promoting it. It just means some people don't accept the other justifications.

Categorizing students by

Categorizing students by race or their parents' self-reported inccome is a weak and pointless standard for "diversity." As for "legitimate non-fiscal justifications," what are they? There is certainly no data to support the value of this odd version of diversity. In fact, all evidence in Wake County suggests that the efforts to manufacture diversity, actually harmed the very students it was intended tho help.



What exactly is the end goal?

Do people really mean "demographically balanced" or just non-homogeneous?

WCPSS is about 49% White, 25% Black, 15% Hispanic, 6% Asian, 5% Mixed-race and 33% FRL. Are people looking for each school to be about 49% White, 25% Black, 15% Hispanic, 6% Asian, 5% MR and 33% FRL or for each school to just not be 100% White or 100% NED? How much mix is enough mix? Is a school near RTP that is 45% White, 35% Asian, 10% Hispanic, 5% Black and 5% MR and 8% FRL diverse enough?

Are Whites living near RTP and Asians living near RTP culturally the same or different? Are all whites the same? What is "white" culture supposedly anyway - is it NASCAR culture, preppy culture, heavy metal culture, artsy culture? Do all whites live the same way? Same questions for other racial groups. Are all NED people the same and live the same way? How about all ED people? Many people keep trying to explain away schools where ED student performance is subpar on the basis that those are a "different kind" of ED, so if the "different kinds" of ED are mixed together are they seeing how the "other kind" live?

One place that I used to live demographically shows up as 85% White, 10% Hispanic and 5% others. Per the US Census defination White is anyone of European, Middle Eastern or North African descent. Many of the White families are immigrants from the Middle East. They speak a different language, eat different foods and have a different religion than those of European descent. I've had people say that where I used to live lacks diversity because there aren't many Blacks. Yet, Blacks in the US and those here of European decent speak the same language, largely are both Christian and eat the same foods. The main difference is experiences due to racial bias, not that absent that they would live their lives so differently.

So, what is the end goal to break-down stereotypes by viewing people as individuals or to perpetuate stereotypes by harping that those in each demographic group are so "different" from those in other demographic groups even though they have many similiarities, but are the same as others in their own demographic group when they actually are not?

This is the only place I've lived where people have tried to define diversity based on one aspect (race or income) and stereotypes. If you look at the demographic maps of Wake County there are large areas that are vastly diverse. Why does it seem that those that are among the biggest advocates for the value in "learning how others live" are those that chose to live in the less demographically mixed areas?


They offer insight into the way others live, and the way the world is, to a degree that homogeneous schools do not.

That is such an insulting statement to me. As if our children wouldn't be exposed to how other people live and "the way the world is" unless they are forcibly assigned to a school by some random set of 9 people. And, by all means, you better assign those poor black kids somewhere other than where their parents choose because their parents just don't understand. That's the mindset we're moving back to.

Evans used the word "homogeneous" to describe the Western Wake schools. Her hatred for us is just astounding.


Read more here: http://blogs.newsobserver.com/wakeed/wake-county-school-board-chairman-kevin-hill-not-expecting-massive-reassignment-under-new-stu#new#storylink=cpy

Race/income level doesn't define all student challenges

"... but I do think they (demographically balanced schools) are desirable for reasons other than fiscal responsibility. They offer insight into the way others live, and the way the world is, to a degree that homogeneous schools do not.

Thinking something and having it be so can be two entirely different things. During WCPSS's forced busing, diversity-at-all-costs years (which GSIW is directing Hill, Evans, and Kushner to return to) citizens repeatedly demanded that the value of "demographically balanced schools" be studied and quantified.  The response was always something akin to "trust us, it works... just go where we tell you to." However, available data suggests something different. It shows that ED students actually perform worse at Magnet schools (who pride themselves on being demographically balanced) than they do at traditional schools; plus, many racially identifiable schools outperform them all in ED student achievement.

It is not about which students go to which schools, it is about what happens at each school to address the needs of its' sudents. I will add that all kids face challenges and not all of them -- or even most of them -- fall under the categories of race and income level. Yet, some fringe factions in Wake County seem to insist that they do and that narrow-minded thinking gets in the way of finding effective solutions that will raise the academic performance of ALL students.

Also, there is no such thing as homogeneous schools in Wake County... or most places for that matter. 

yes, noble and righteous is the party line

Baileywick is across the street from the Finley YMCA, so it serves no purpose to have an afterschool program. Pleasant Union, Sycamore Creek and many other high income schools have afterschool because they are not close to the Y. And they bring in lots of money.

I think that your belief that demographic balancing brings about some sort of appreciation for culture/race is idealistic at best.  I am biracial and of a very multicultural family,  and I don't see skin color because my father's skin was very dark, it was a non-issue for me. My kids don't ever (appear) to notice skin color either, they blend socially where ever they are. My husband's family is very blue collar. The point of this is that we have no racial or social bias as a family because we can't. But my kids have been in Title I schools forever (i.e. real diversity), and the friends they chose are those who do what they do - swim on the same swim team, play on the same soccer team, take the same classes they do. Their Hispanic and African American friends are of the same social class as us because these activities are where they spend their time and make there connections. If we really care about valuing other races and cultures then we need to educate all children. We need to end socioeconomic segregation. We need to move more Hispanic and African American families into the middle and upper middle class. And in my opinion, promoting that ED children (the vast majority of whom are minorities) make a school unhealthy prevents us from educating children. It leads to stereotyping and tracking and every other nasty problem we have had for a decade.


I'm glad to hear your children are/were in Title 1 (real diversity, as you put it) schools, as since your children choose to socialize only with those of the same socio-economics and lifestyle/interests as they, it does seem you are happy that real diversity schools are exposing your children to others that are not of the same lifestyle/interests as you.  And, its encouraging you state we need to end socio-economic segregation, as does Hill.  How do you propose that should be accomplished by the school system?

I challenge you here because your posts come from both ends of the argument, (no segregation but keep children close to home) but never come completely together for a solution, except for a Robin Hood position.  Is that your ultimate solution?  So really, it comes down to funding for you, which is WCC decision totally, and WCPSS individually.  So you want the money moved away from the "rich" schools and to the "poor" schools vs the children balanced (ending socio-economic segregation). Or not?  

And you blame Hill for everything except global warming and the sea level rise.

my criticism of Kevin is not hatred of Kevin

it is just that - criticism of Kevin. And he freely, openly criticizes me and my opinions. We don't see eye to eye on much. You can't end socioeconomic segregation until you educate. And we were not educating all children. Education requires resources and we have equity problems with resources. These resource problems are based on our funding formula that relies too heavily on enrollment and not on need. And our allotments don't take into consideration all of the various sources of money that are available to schools.

If you want to make this personal feel free. I blog in my real name, and don't hide behind a cute alias. If you want to sit down and talk about the issues send me an email. I am honest about things. I am tired of hearing magnet school advocates espouse the role of diversity in their children's lives. Their kids are not hanging out in the homes of the ED kids, they are not playing sports together and working on school projects together. They walk by each other in the hallway. My children have friends of all backgrounds on the playground, but because of economic disparity they don't end up with close or real friendships with children of different backgrounds. The reality is that their friendships are based on what they do socially. When I brought my sons to the homework haven I was volunteering in they had a blast with the other boys in the afterschool program. They played bayblades and did origami and my kids behaved just as they would behave with any kid in our own neighborhood. What happens after childhood ends? I want the boys in that after school program to go to college, to have health insurance and own a house. I want them to sit next to my sons in their backyard after work, drink a beer and talk about their plans for the weekend. I want real diversity in their lives, not the crap we have now in Wake.

Pleasant Union and Sycamore Creek

Who runs the Pleasant Union and Sycamore Creek afterschool programs, who gets the money from them, and what is it used for? Do you know?


The YMCA runs Sycamore's program. I am not sure about Pleasant Union. Our school opted out of the YMCA program because they were getting very little money from it! The YMCA use to pay 15K a year to WCPSS for using the facility for the after school program. The school received 3K of that money and the other 12K went elsewhere. This is the reason many schools opted out of having the YMCA run their after school program and replaced it with an in house program! The school keeps all the funds from their own program!


This is what I was trying to get at. What's the net profit, i.e. what does the school get over and above what it pays someone to run the program, and what do they do with it? If there's a big revenue line and a big expense line too, it's not all that interesting.


The choice plan provides very clear information about the desirability of different schools which, presumably, has something to do with how appropriately funded they are.  That's one reason why Tata jumped in to add extra programs to schools that weren't being selected.

It's an inexact measure, but I think it's probably a better measure than anything else the district has tried.

I'm not sure I understand...

what you are saying, but:

If the thesis is that choice will allow people to avoid underfunded schools or force the system to adequately fund all schools, I respectfully disagree. This would be somewhat true if there were more capacity in the system and less priority were given to proximity, but with most halfway-desirable schools full to the brim, the current proximity emphasis of the priority system, and the rigorous enforcement of capacities, parents not proximate to desirable schools will not be able to voice their disapproval of their own proximate school effectively. Further, it is not clear that affluent parents (or any parents) would choose away from a school that served low-performing students poorly as measured by their academic growth. Indeed, the Republican thesis has for some time now insisted that affluent parents are perfectly willing to tolerate this condition in affluent schools, and there is some evidence to that effect.

This is not to say things would differ under a neighborhood schools plan. I am only saying there is no good reason to believe that the choice in this choice plan would lead ineluctably to additional funding for underfunded schools.


Broadly, my point is that the choice plan spins off a lot of data that the district and parents can use to make decisions.  I suggest that we now know a lot more about parental preference than we ever got out of that 2010 survey.  

If, for example, you didn't know anything about a particular school, and I told you that for every twelve students who wanted to get into the school's entry year, only one made it, you'd learn something about that school.  You'd see that it was in high demand, and you'd infer that there was a reason for that demand, probably that the school is high quality.  And, based on that number alone, you might wonder whether it would be an appropriate place for your kid.  (The school, incidentally, is Raleigh Charter.)  Information is a good thing, and the choice plan provides it in spades.

More narrowly, I think the numbers do communicate something about the quality of a school.  The school that was everybody's first pick is probably better than the school that was everybody's last pick.  I agree that it's inexact, and has problems (some of which you mention), but it's a lot more information than we had this time last year.  


I agree the choice plan provided some information about consumer preferences that was of value. If there was a school that was everyone's first pick, and another that was everyone's last, then it would obviously tell you something of value. In the real world of this plan, however, I do not recall many such cases. You simply had some schools that were underchosen, and if you assumed (without actually knowing it) that the potential choosers were roughly proportional in number to the school population, then you could further assume that underchosen meant undesirable. If the pools weren't proportional, however, that would be misleading. And even if they were proportional, it would be dangerous to weigh information choices made too heavily, however, because consumer choice should have been heavily influenced by the rules of the game as well as the available schools. Change the priority system (e.g. stop weighting siblings and proximity) and you might see significantly different choices.

Raleigh Charter is an interesting case. We know a lot about it, so it's hard to pretend we only know about its selectivity. I agree that selectivity typically implies quality, though it would be interesting to see Raleigh Charter's academic growth numbers and detailed EVAAS results, as opposed to its proficiency scores, particularly for the few kids who are not above grade level. This data might be available via a public records request, though I have never put their lawyer to the test.


I especially agree with your last paragraph.  I think that the allocation of resources to schools, even if it is based on need, doesn't guarantee that the resources will be used to effectively educate all children.  The same dynamic that results in some parents resisting the allocation of resources away from low-need schools to higher-need schools seems to operate within the schools to cause resistance to the allocation of resources to higher-need students. 

I have to add that I'm not sure that resources are tne only issue.  I understand that resources are needed, but I think we also need to make some fundamental changes to how we use the resources.  (I'm sort of a "measure twice, cut once" person.)  We seem to adopt programs without spending the time and thought to ensure that the programs are appropriate and effective and that the children who will benefit from the programs are the ones placed in them.  I'd rather expend some more resources on these issues first.  I think we would see better results.  I agree with you that our objective should be to "create and maintain high growth" and not just assume that it will happen.


Indeed, it seemed we were making progress by recognizing what you say, that some programs were inappropriate or ineffective and some otherwise effective programs did not serve the right kids. Unfortunately, as you probably know, the Board effectively shut down the EDSP Task Force and actually shut down the committee that was looking at ways to ensure that we implement policies and practices that result in the selection of effective programs and placement of the right kids in them. The theory was that the Board would take this up itself, but I am still waiting.

Potential negative impact

I may be biased since I went to most of the EDSP Task Force meetings, but I think shutting down the task force and the subcommittees has a tremendous potential to negatively affect progress on ensuring that all children receive a sound education.  The issues that were being raised really need to be aired in public in my opinion.  (E&R reports don't seem to have much impact even when they clearly indicate that there are problems.)   I am hopeful that the use of EVAAS to measure achievement growth will have some positive effects but unfortunately people seem to focus more on the general results than on the specifics of who is not achieving and how to improve their performance.



give me examples

of how we fund based on need. Real examples. MOE and TDA. Show me the data. Because the data I have from David Neter clearly says the opposite. As far as whether or not I FINALLY get funding, I have been part of that conversation for years and I understand it well. All too well. I am very happy to send you the emails. I do not think throwing more money at it will solve our problems. More money once our problems are solved will definitely help.

Show me you understand the big picture. Tell me about after school programs. Fund 6, where it comes from and how it can be used. Tell me how we fund ESL programs. Tell me where PTA money goes. Explain our funding formula and how it works.

Tell me which schools were under-enrolled. Tell me why they were under enrolled.

As far as the algorithm, I agree, median housing cost should have been in the algorithm. Was it not? If not, why not?

Can we still bus ED into NED - yes. We should. The concept of a Robin Hood school system is not wrong, the execution of it was fatally flawed.

Should we bus NED into struggling schools? No, we have proven it does not work.

Do I think Kevin gives a Rat's A#$ about ED kids, their academic success, their families? No, I do not. He has made that crystal clear for years. I was his BAC chair. I know his belief system.


Hill makes it easy

He's as flaccid as a goat's grape laying on the side of the highway, baking in triple digit heat.

As per someone's reporting, "Wake County will significantly revise the current "choice" plan"

So Hill is following in Martin and Evans' footsteps by stretching the truth? 

We have at least 3 board members who the public can't trust AT ALL because they fib out of both sides of their mouths.

You're going to need much more than the "Friends" and the Chamber to convince the public to approve the next bond, you're going to need Polygraph machines!

Read more here: http://blogs.newsobserver.com/wakeed/wakeup-wake-excited-that-wake-county-school-board-will-significantly-revise-student-assignmen#new#storylink=cpy 

"...fib? Try Hill, Evans,

"...fib? Try Hill, Evans, and Martin "lie their a$$es off."

As for the bond, it's DOA, and those three along with Kushner and Sutton are to blame. WCPSS was heading in a new and very positive direction under the direction of Tata and the new choice plan. Now, under the direction of GSIW and the NAACP, all that momemtum has been brought to a grinding halt and we are heading backwards.

OT: Fair Warning

If you've been through the N&O website and seen these polls, where you're asked a series of three questions, be forewarned: the company who does these is collecting all your answers and builing a profile on you.  Look at some of the questions that are asked: What's your age range, what's your political party, do you live in the suburbs or the city, etc... 

It's possible to opt out ( I did) -- go to civicscience.com, click on "Your History" at the bottom and then follow the instructions.

Personally, I'm a bit shocked with the slimy way the N&O is doing this -- the polls appear like they're coming straight from the newspaper, not from some sleazy third party.

Cleaning Out My Bookmarks...

Stumbled on this blog...



I can't believe this is still the biggest issue for these fools.  It must be like Groundhog Day (the movie) for all of you.  What a shame.

<<peace out>>

Happy for you...wish I could

Happy for you...wish I could follow.

Very much like ground hog day.

So, how's that work...

I don't see how he can accomplish what he wants without reassignments.  If all the kids in a neighborhood go to school X, and school X is full, then a new student coming into that neighborhood will have to go somewhere else.  Isn't that exactly what the realtors have their collective BVD's in a wad about?

What I don't understand is

What I don't understand is where Hill and others were with these criticisms and concerns last year. We knew that realtors would have a hard time explaining the schools to people. I looked back at some of the reports from the planning process and the only thing I can remember seeing Hill mention is the lack of diversity elements.

It is -- or should be --

It is -- or should be -- about neighborhoods schools, stability, serving individual students and academic achievement for ALL students. Hill does get this and is trying to rewrite history and the facts.  He thinks parents who look out for the best interest of their children are "selfish" and anti-social" and he wants to use our children as tools to further HIS vision of a socialist society.

Anyone who believes Hill when he claims he is not expecting massive reassignments with the new reassignment plan is a fool. Recent history shows otherwise. Also, when did this become a "plan?" Just a couple days ago it was a "directive" to tweak the choice existing plan. So, much for honestly and transparency.

It will be a plan when it is

It will be a plan when it is implemented, at which time it either will or won't cause massive reassignments.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.