WakeEd

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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Wake's ABCs results

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Wake took an academic hit but still fared better, on at least some measures, than the state on the new ABCs of Public Education results.

The number of Wake schools where at least 80 percent of students passed state exams and also met growth goals dropped from 69 to 30. But the lower total still accounted for 20 percent of Wake's schools, compared to 10 percent statewide.

A majority of Wake's schools, 58 percent, were listed as Schools of Progress, meaning between 60 and 80 percent of students passed state exams and also met growth goals.

Statewide, 39 percent were Schools of Progress.

Statewide, 33 percent of schools were Schools of Priority in which less than 60 percent of students passed state exams. It was only 14 percent in Wake. But Wake had 21 Schools of Priority, up from four the prior year.

For the first time in a long while, the school system also had low-performing schools, meaning less than half the students passed and the school didn't meet growth goals. Barwell Road Elementary had a passing rate of 40.6 percent and the East Wake School of Integrated Technology was at 43.1 percent.

Wake didn't do so well under No Child Left Behind, where 18 percent of schools met standards compared to 31 percent statewide.

But Wake can claim something that the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system can't tout.

Wake had four Honor Schools of Excellence, meaning at least 90 percent passed state exams and the school made high growth. Those schools are Davis Drive Elementary at 93.4 percent, Green Hope High at 92.5 percent, Highcroft Drive Elementary at 91.1 percent and Salem Middle at 92.3 percent.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro didn't have a single School of Excellence. But none of Chapel Hill's non-alternative schools had passing rates below 70 percent.

There were four Honor Schools of Excellence among Wake's charter schools. Those were Exploris Midle at 91.6 percent, Magellan Charter at 97.7 percent, Raleigh Charter High at 97.2 percent and Quest Academy at 98.7 percent.

Click here for school-by-school results across the state.

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My thought on Highcroft,

My thought on Highcroft, Davis Drive, Green Hope and the other very low F&R schools is this: we don't have enough resources to waste trying to raise their F&R by busing kids in from downtown. There are kids being bused 18 miles this year to Green Hope. Assinine.

If those schools were located near large pockets of low income areas then I could see making a huge deal over their low F&R rates. But if we've got to bus the kids in from long distances I say we've got bigger fish to fry, like the schools that are over 50% F&R. Some of them are located close to schools that are less than half that percentage yet nothing is done to help them.

As for Highcroft, Davis Drive, etc. having very high scores, certainly some of it is because they have a very low F&R percentage. But I think that WCPSS and their backers like to paint those areas as all super wealthy elitists. I looked up housing prices for nodes assigned to Davis Drive and I was very surprised. While they are still not 'cheap' compared to the average home price for the entire county, they are quite affordable compared to other areas, like far North Raleigh or Northwestern ITB.

I think that the education level of the parents has more to do with it than anything else. I would assume that a lot of people who live in far Western Wake county are employed by the tech companies in RTP and I would also assume that most of those people are very well educated. Most likely they are teaching their kids the value of an education.

Also, that part of the county seems to be the most culturally diverse in all of Wake. Many of those parents came here to the US to go to school and a good education is not necessarily a given for all children in some of their home countries. They see the opportunties available here and they aren't going to squander them or let their kids squander them. I know that is a bit of a generalization, but I do think it plays a role in the success of Western Wake schools.

WCPSS and many county leaders are still stuck in a 1970s mindset that anybody who lives out in the 'county' is trying to get away from minorities or poor people. It seems that they are so worried that some elitists/bigots might get away with not having to 'mix' that they go to extremes to make sure it doesn't happen. They are losing sight of the bigger picture when they do that. I'm sure there are people out there who are like that but again, we've got bigger fish to fry.

WCPSS has NO EVIDENCE that busing the low income kids long distances improves their academic performance. I have been told point blank by more than one staff member that WCPSS is only concerned with the aggregate--with the schools as a whole, not the F&R students or non F&R students as a group. They have got to stop being so narrowly focused on F&R percentages and come up with a solution that will actually raise achievement.

Any one else find it

Any one else find it interesting that these results came out After the election?

Also, of course its stupid to ship the F&R kids all around the county. That policy absolutely insures that these kid do not get the resources or attention that they need. Davis Drive might be a great school for kids with really active parents, who came to kindergarten reading Harry Potter and ready to start algebra III. However, F&R, in general, require different resources, different approaches to teaching and perhaps more dedicated teachers as mentioned below. How can busing these kids all over be an effective strategy to serve their needs? Well... its not and I believe WCPSS knows it is not the best policy for these kids. I believe WCPSS thinks its the best policy for their own needs, the need for artificial, non-failing schools.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20081107/us_time/shouldkidsbeabletograduateafter10thgrade

Hui I can't find the new

Hui
I can't find the new standered for passing the test. Do you know what percentage a child has to get right to get a 3 ?

Those 1, 2, 3, 3*, 4

Those 1, 2, 3, 3*, 4 "indicators" are not to be equated with the A, B, C, D, F grading system.

 

No one 'Fails" they just don't perform up to grade level (1 and 2) .  That does not mean they are "failing". THey need extra help to rise to the middle... a "3".  

 A vast majority of children are rated a "3" .  This could translate into a D, C, B or A... that's the range.

On the old test you could

On the old test you could get a 3 if you got only 43% correct. What is the new % correct standard to recieve a 3? Is it still 43% correct or have they raised the bar ? I thought you could not post anonymously any more?

 

Anonymous posting is ending

Anonymous posting is ending Monday. I'm not sure what the reading standard is for each grade level but it went from about 50 percent in third grade to 68 percent now.

ThankYou for the

ThankYou for the information. 

What separates these schools ???

November 6, 2008 – Four Wake County Public School System schools were recognized as Honor Schools of Excellence, according to the 2007-08 state ABCs of Public Education announced today.
Davis Drive Elementary, Highcroft Elementary, Salem Middle and Green Hope High Named Honor Schools of Excellence
__------------------------------------------------------------------------

gee,

What in the world do these schools have that differ from other schools in this system?

Anyone care to break down the demographics ?

I happen to know teachers at

I happen to know teachers at high performing schools and low performing schools. The teachers at the low performing schools are actually more dedicated and harder working. Do not think that the higher performing schools have anything different except for Davis Drives standers for who gets tutoring. The teachers at the higher performing schools I know would never accept a job at the high F&R schools. They do not want the extra work. The teachers at the High F&R schools I know are more dedicated teachers; they go beyond the call of duty. They spend more time coming up with ways to help their kids, they spend more of their own money on supplies, and they are TRUE TEACHERS.  The problem is not the high F&R population but the BOEs way of handling the problem. Instead of giving these students extra resources they farm these kids out to other schools. To teachers who chose to work in high performing schools so they could just teach not go beyond that.  Bussing these kids around will never solve the problem it only muddies up the scores.   By the way Green Hope elementary use to be a school of Excellence then they were made a MYR and kids from schools with higher F&R  were bused in.  This year’s scores for GHE include this new population. If bussing F&R students improves their education then why did GHE’s scores go down? They have almost the same staff as before the same resources if this school was so magical that sending kids there improves their scores then why did the scores go down?

Just look at F&R and you'll have your answer.

These four schools have historically stayed very low free and reduced lunch.  In 2007 Davis Drive had 9.8; Highcroft 4.7; Salem Middle 5.3; and Green Hope 5.6.  Just look at the demographics for the rest of the system, it will boggle your mind.  There are many schools in the 60's and 70's, and a few with very low f&r.  The powers that be aren't doing a very good job with their social engineering experiment when they can't even attempt to even out these numbers and spread them throughout the school system.  It is a definate system of have's and have nots, even in the same basic areas. 

Davis Drive has a unique

Davis Drive has a unique way of deciding who gets tutoring for the EOGs and who doesn’t.  At Davis Drive you can get a 3 on the practice eog but still receive tutoring. The reason for this is Davis Drive picks who gets tutoring by who got a70% or below on the pre test. Most other schools only offer tutoring if you fail the pre test based off of the states standard. The state standard was if you got 43% correct you passed.  So do not assume Davis did so well because it has rich parents.  It has a lot of esl also .  What got Davis such a high score is offering tutoring to Kids who at other schools would not receive tutoring.

My kids contributed

My child contributed to those stellar test scores at Davis Drive Elementary and was already reassigned right after 2007-8. I wonder, does anyone know: Can we refuse to have our children take these standardized tests? If all the wealthy parents took a stand against being used as "tools" in the social engineering, would it all fall apart? What are parents rights with regard to this testing? Would the children fail if they did not or could not take the test? If the the brighter children didn't take the tests, that sure would lower the averages, and perhaps they wouldnt be as likely to destroy the school population by reassigning.

Yes! Excellent idea!  My

Yes! Excellent idea!  My children also contribute to outstanding test scores by scoring 4's ! (Not even 3s)!

 

I would love to decline to have them take the EOG's.  I have already told my youngest (since I've been through the BS with my older children already) to do their best, but not to stress because they are meaningless tests. It's all to "score" WCPSS and not them personally. 

Absentee Parent

The fact that you are asking these questions leads me to believe you:

  • are not active in your child's education, classroom or PTA

you do not read the info that is provided to you by the school , teacher or WCPSS

 

I am very active in the

I am very active in the classroom.  Please don't insult me when I am merely asking a question.    I will refrain from posting here if that is not permitted.   I just wondered if anyone had *not* taken EOGs.   Busy parents work under a lot of assumptions about policies and I wondered if this was one of those cases.

I have read the info on testing and accountability on wcpss website and also the student handbook.   It does not explicityly say that the tests are mandatory.   It merely says tests are not the only factors in determining retention or promotion. 

I am sick and tired of some of my kids on traditional and some in MYR.  I worked my you-know-what off at DDE tutoring students to help them pass EOGs.  

Don't stress your children

Don't stress your children out over "passing" the EOG's.  If your children are falling behind in classroom work, then worry.  To spend your energy and your children's "mental health" over these tests that only benefit WCPSS patting themselves on the back is not worth it.

 

If my child comes home with a 2 or  1.. they will let them retest anyway.  Who cares any more ?  And, they DO NOT WANT RETENTION in WCPSS.... no  no no!  They will advance children even if they do poorly on the EOG's, but are keeping up with classroom work.  Oh, retention is a huge huge huge no no. 

Mr. Hui, Thank you for the

Mr. Hui,

Thank you for the link to the scores. It WCPSS going to publish a summary of reading score performance by school ?

I don't know. But you might

I don't know. But you might want to check back on the blog tomorrow.

Glimpse of National Comparisons...

Reposting to this entry:
The following quote from the WCPSS website tells far more than that the tests were made more challenging.......

"As a result of the new proficiency standards, the state’s standards more closely align with proficiency standards of the National Assessment of Educational Progress."

While the WCPSS statement labors to compare the results as positive when compared to other NC urban districts, this statement reveals why the test was updated and what it tells us all.

As predicted

Wakefield ES is a great example of what MYR and diversity busing does to a good school. And what do the children bused get? Lower F&R rates? (Not in all tracks) Better grades? (No, actually worse) Title I NCLB Act protection as they had before? (No, school is not Title I). Less crowding? (Can you say 21 modular units?). What does the school system get? (A place to shove targeted low performing F&R nodes from Title I schools to escape penalties - Yes performance by node is tracked and considered) What do Taxpayers Get? (Shafted) What do base parents get? (Shafted) IS EVERYBODY HAPPY? Well done WCPSS !

Mr. Hui -- When will DPI

Mr. Hui -- When will DPI publish the reading scores by LEA - by school - outside of ABCs?

You can do it yourself.

You can do it yourself. Click here and then pick the year you want to find.

Is anyone really shocked???

And now that we have grandpa with the CC's we should all plan to move!
Just leave the keys on the counter, get your stuff and go!

I've never seen an area rank so high in every listing known to man, YET, have some of the DUMBEST people in charge of education and their local government!!

JUST a bunch of DA's!

Fire up some more School Buses! That'll fix the numbers!!!

Time to invoke the Burns-Dulaney Gambit: Bus more kids around to drown out the bad numbers...Enron-style accounting is alive, well and thriving at the WCPSS. People move to Wake County for the weather, not the IQ or integrity of its school board.And with the changes in County Commissioners, we long-suffering citizens will all re-learn (the hard way) that "Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely"

Sayonara Sanity!!!..."Out of her depth Gill"; "Headless Chicken"; "Millstone" and "Goatheap" are now squarely in charge.

Time to hold a Wake for education in Wake County.

Only really four more

Only really four more schools to reassign and fire up those buses for ....

"Wake had four Honor Schools of Excellence, meaning at least 90 percent passed state exams and the school made high growth. Those schools are Davis Drive Elementary at 93.4 percent, Green Hope High at 92.5 percent, Highcroft Drive Elementary at 91.1 percent and Salem Middle at 92.3 percent."

 

Question Mr. Hui

When will we get our own kids scores? Will they be mailed? Just curious if you knew.

Wake is saying the results

Wake is saying the results for individual kids will be mailed to parents within the next week.

Thanks!

:)

Bob - I am sitting here

Bob - I am sitting here thinking the same thing! My children once attended "schools of excellence" and everyone was so proud and a big banner flew in the front. But, for years now it's been declining. Now they too are down to "schools of progress" (and I don't understand but "high growth" and yet, one of my children goes to a school that is under enrolled. So, how does it still have a high growth designation?... and next year there will be no "high growth" as building has come to a stand still and the section of town we are in, all the subdivisions are built out and new schools are being built where the new (not growing) subdivisions are to come.)

I guess you are right Bob, the "gap" will be closed when all students, with their pride and egos in tact, have "met in the middle" at fabulous schools of "progress".

Growth under the ABCs refers

Growth under the ABCs refers to academic performance, not student enrollment. The state mathemtically determines what the aveage score for a school should be and awards teacher bonuses depending on whether they meet or exceed that target. Only using the math exams this year in elementary and middle schools for determining bonuses helped inflate the number of teachers who received them, leading to the 30 percent cut in funding.

In other words... make sure

  • In other words... make sure the teachers get there bonuses even if they are told to "teach to the middle"... it's not their fault they are being made to conform to mediocrity.

Got it.

Congratulations to the School Board!

Why, it was only a few years ago that Wakefield Elementary was considered a "School of Excellence." Now, thanks to the district's constant shuffling of students and calendars, Wakefield is all the way up to being a "School of Progress."

That's wonderful! Eventually, maybe all the schools in the district will be Schools of Progress. Maybe then, the district will be able to rest on its laurels as finally closing the achievement gap.

But, now it's fair!

Since our country is now socialist, everything must be fair. 

It wasn't fair that Wakefield was a School of Excellence.  In true liberal fashion, instead of bringing lesser performing schools up, the social engineers at the School Board brought ALL schools down.  

That's the way liberals roll. 

 

 

As a person you would

As a person you would consider a Liberal, I resent that remark.   I truly believe the bussing should stop  and the BOE should give greater funding to schools with higher F&R #s . Those schools should have lower classroom size , more specialists, and extra chances at education outside of class time.  So stop blaming Liberals for this mess. ITS this BOE and their plan. A plan I have not seen in any major city ever.  What I described should happen is what usually does happen with high F$&R population schools.  This BOE is a special breed all to itself.

OK, I'll qualify

It's not that I dislike liberals, it's extreme liberal policies I dislike. In fact, most liberals are caring people.  However, emotions trump facts and reality with most of them.  I would happily support a Democrat that based his decisions on facts and reality; not ideology and lust for power. I also don't mind trying new things, only when they are looked at later (unbiased)  for the results they were supposed to bring. Some liberal policies have actually been good for the country. Civil Rights for one. It's when these policies are taken to the extreme by fanatics that I oppose. It is those extreme views that hurt even the people they were designed to help.

Busing had it's place when it was started, I admit. However, it is time we evaluate what it doing today and look at alternatives. Some liberals actually get it (after a while, I see you do). I would support MA's idea of smaller class sizes in high F&R schools. As far as Nebraska, it's population is nowhere near as diverse as NC.

Also Angela is correct about Southern and Northern liberals. I have lived near and worked with both.

VOR Could you explain

VOR

Could you explain what do you mean by "after a while, I see you do" ?

Sure

I was talking a typical liberal around here. You, I see, got understand the falicy ...even if you were never swayed to the belief that eco-diversity busing is the backbone of our school system.

And AngelaW,

I agree extreme on either side is bad, I just think that sometimes the view is that the center-right is extreme... which is sooo wrong. Try to look at how tolerant the "party of tolerance" is....that's all. 

extreme policies on EITHER

extreme policies on EITHER end, right or left, or simply CRAZY are abhorrent. 

Hi VSheehan,  You're

Hi VSheehan,

 You're right on the money. I agree that the bussing should stop, and that the BOE should focus their time/money on bringing up the neighborhood schools in high F&R areas. 

Reading another post up there, re: the teachers at high F&R schools reminds me of something else.  What a shame for the struggling kids who may start kindergarten at one school and finish 5th grade having gone to 3 schools.  The stability of having one school, and finding a student aide, or special ed teacher who could guide you through your elementary years can't be calculated.  The teachers miss out as well, if they've worked hard with a student, only to have that kid moved away before any progress is made.

 I still think it's liberalism that is causing this.  Liberals are obsessed with making things fair, and as we all can see from the Wake County scores just released, it isn't possible.  

 

you are rigth Vsheehan, in

you are rigth Vsheehan, in that like "democrats" in the south, 'liberals" are a different breed than those up North.....it is inexplicable to those who have not ever been out of the south, but truly truly, there IS a different between southern Democrats/Liberals and Northern Dems/Liberals. of which I am NEITHER, BTW, registered Ind.
oh and this is no better/no worse, just different....(well worse for the WCPSS and that is so right, there is no other school systems that operate in such a way)

Oh by the way in MA land of

Oh by the way in MA land of the liberals they do not buss F&R kids around. Instead they give the lower preforming schools more extras to help those kids pass. That has been going on for a long time The same with Fairfax VA. There the schools with high F&R become title ones and get class sizes of one teacher to 15 students. More specialsts ect. Nebraska a red state has the highest funding for its educational system then any blue state and they do not bus the F&R kids around.

.

.

Correct Comaradette Fiesta Mom

May we all live in mediocracy. Except if you are is the MORE equal areas like ITB.

I've been told drink the Kool-Aid and be happy.

One Word --- NUTS!

Misery loves company?

Misery loves company?

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.
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