Wake Schools moving back to the future

Reading the tea leaves between the lines in today's big story on the Wake County School Board Election.

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RALEIGH -- God's glorious promise that white school children should never have to sit next to "those nigras" came a step closer to reality yesterday as the North Carolina Republican Party mopped the floor with Democratic opponents, sweeping three districts the Wake County School Board election. Seen by anyone with half a brain as a referendum on a return to school segregation, the election showed that white privilege is alive and well in our state's capitol.

"We'll be focused on how to keep the nigras in their own crappy neighborhoods," said Debbie Pickle, who posted an overwhelming win in District 7, North Raleigh and Morrisville."

"I'm thoroughly disappointed," said Callie Sprite of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African American Children. "I just guess what they say about Negroes is true. Too lazy and uninformed to get out and vote."

Looking forward to her service on the board, Pickle said changes in board policy won't be made hastily but will be based on evaluating the data on what works as opposed to what makes people feel good.

"Every community deserves to have good schools," Pickle said. "But that's just not gonna happen. We simply don't have enough money to make everybody happy. And if the nigras come out on the short end of the stick, well the people have spoken."

Retired firefighter Jen Crow outpolled her Cary opponent, by a 3-2 margin in District 9.

"What I think really came across to voters was that citizens long for the good old days when coloreds knew their place. Citizens want a voice. Citizens don't like integration," Crow said.

Challengers painted the board and administration as arrogant and distant from the concerns of students and families. They cited the "wacky Wednesday" provision that allows teachers extra planning time this year, but leaves many parents wondering how to deal with students who are released early every Wednesday.

"Teachers should plan on their own damn time," said Crow. "Parents have more important things to do than deal with their children."

The race also took on a pronounced partisan frenzy, despite the officially nonpartisan nature of the race. Democrats largely supported the current board, while the county Republican Party lined up behind the challengers.

"Republicans are still pissed off that we put a black in the White House," said a hooded spokesperson for the anti-school John Schlock Foundation. "That's why our non-partisan partisan organization jumped into this race with both feet. We're taking America back."

Asked about the significance of the results, local pundits agreed. Carter Sparrow, longtime adviser to one of North Carolina's most legendary segregationists, Jesse Helms, says the prognosis is good for a return to the good old days.

"Jesse would be happy," said Sparrow. "Hate and fear are powerful motivators, and this election shows exactly what happens when scared, angry white people pull together."

"I agree," said Jerry Pierce, Sparrow's left-leaning consulting partner. "The segregationist backlash is just beginning. I predict Democrats are going to get their asses kicked in 2010."

Comments

May even be required!

You're either with us or against us, right?

TEA!!!!!111

For everyone!

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

It's not about race

It's about my friends whose kid has been reassigned 4 times in 5 years.

It's about their neighbors who have one kid on a traditional calendar and one on a year round. Excluding holidays, they have two weeks in which both kids have the day off.

It's about sending kids home early every Wednesday.

It certainly wasn't about backing by Rs or Ds.

You would do well to examine why folks were so pissed at the school board and its policies. Ignoring and trivializing your opposition is a sure way to miss what they are saying.

I understand that there are many issues

and it appears the current school board made more than a few stupid calls.

But don't kid yourself on the race card. Because whatever the many consequences of a neighborhood schools policy, one of those consequences will almost certainly be de facto segregation.

James

PS These people are not "my" opposition. I'm just an observer.

That's a valid point

...but it's not what you expressed above.

The school board could have taken some smart steps when trying to push year rounds or reassignments, they choose to ignore parents instead. This is the result.

When you piss folks off and ignore them, change will happen and it will be change you can control.

Most of the folks that voted for change in Wake County don't care about race, they care about a stable, safe and working educational system for their kid. You may argue that looking out for your own is short sighted, but what parent doesn't put their kid first? You can play race games, or you can realize the outgoing school board is the one that created this environment in which parents felt this change was necessary.

Not to sidetrack, but it's like Republicans ranting about Obama...well if Bush had screwed things up so bad, Obama wouldn't be doing what he is now.

Fair enough

I don't disagree with anything you said, including the comment that most folks don't care about race. Maybe they should? That's the big question, isn't it?

It's always tricky writing satire, and it's definitely not my strongest suit. The original N&O story featured the race issue very prominently, and that's the angle I chose to focus on. You're more than welcome to write your own analysis of what happened ... I'll even front-page it!

James



PS I also agree with your comment about parents. My own daughter was not succeeding in public schools and we had the good fortune of being able to move her into a very small private school where she could get one-on-one attention. I can imagine someone somewhere judging the move as racially motivated, even though I know it wasn't.

I don't think most of the

I don't think most of the people who have problems with Wake's diversity policy have a problem with diversity. They are unhappy with the districts and long commutes necessry to help create the diversity.

That said, while they have some legitimate complaints and hardships, they are being quite selfish in thinking only about themselves and disregarding the needs of the larger community. Because most of them know or should know that going back to "neighborhood schools" will lead to de facto desegregation, it is inexcusible and wrong. They are wrong in their indifference to anything other than their own self-interest, but I don't think their intent is resegregation even if that will be the result.

Is it "less wrong?" Or is wrong-wrong? Perhaps Whoopie Goldberg would say "I don't think it is racism-racism."

The long commute argument pure BS

Who is trying to build a school within a 10 minute drive to every RURAL child? Not one damn person.

I was sent halfway across my rural county for school, as were most of my classmates, and our parents lived through it.

We all know what this is, and James nailed it.

"Parents have more important things to do than deal with their children."

That's the root of this problem.

 

Tremendous amount of support for neighborhood schools here

in Forsyth County among African American parents. The thinking is that times have changed; the laws are now in place to ensure equal school funding and we'd like to educate our own kids in our own neighborhoods, thanks.

I've had to literally ream my brain out to get it around this concept. I grew up in integrated schools, believing that integration was the penultimate achievement of liberal progressive reform. And it was, right? Why would black folks want to undo that?

It's simple really. Young African American parents don't think of the education of their own children as the cause celebre of white liberalism. Education is one of the many portals through which the conservative movement will snatch up minority voters over the next twenty years. As sure as I live and breathe, I can see it happening right here in Winston-Salem, and it's gonna decimate the Democratic Party we'll inhabit for the rest of our lives if we don't rethink our integrated society on a fundamental level.

What are equality and fair practices in 2009-10? Is it simply a matter of protecting "one man, one vote" and the integrity of our districts so that minorities are guaranteed seats on the School Board? Do we need to put more effort into making sure our neighborhoods are more diverse by variegating our housing stock through more aggressive zoning?

Heck if I know; but I sure am going to miss black people if we don't figure it out.

It's not simple, for sure

And it's not all about funding. It's also about the supply of good teachers, without which neighborhood schools will inevitably become separate and not equal.

Legislating diversity in housing stock through zoning when we can't even get agreement about diversity in publicly funded schools? I'll have whatever you're smokin', Frank.

:)

The root problem

I registered solely because I think that out of all the comments on this issue, the most poignant one is to be found here:

I don't think most of the people who have problems with Wake's diversity policy have a problem with diversity. They are unhappy with the districts and long commutes necessry to help create the diversity.

Great comment SPLib. I have opposed the WCPSS diversity policy based on my experience as a teacher in WCPSS and a parent of kids in the system, yet am a big proponent of diversity in my personal life. I am an immigrant. So is my neighbor.

I think beyond the personal impacts you list, what made this change inevitable is that there is ZERO evidence that the diversity policy has actually made a positive difference in academic achievement. People are willing to pay the price (long commutes, instability, lack of community, etc) if they are getting a return. But this election shows that they have come to the conclusion that they are paying the price and getting nothing in return. This election was an expression of that frustration.

As I said, I registered here solely because of that comment. Much is being said about re-segregation, racism, and such, but I really don't believe that is the case here. There are those who have those motives, but they were never able to win an election. The reason for the change is, in my opinion, based entirely on the lack of results, not those dark factors. The diversity policy of WCPSS failed to deliver, but that doesn't mean that Wake County residents don't value diversity.

Thanks, Rich

Great comments. Would love to hear more about life on the front lines, so I hope you won't disappear as quickly as you arrived.

Do you have thoughts about what could/should be done? Do you think all black neighborhood schools and all white suburban would be a good alternative to the current policy?

Thanks again for delurking. Welcome.

What should be done

Apologies for spelling and grammar. I am short on time and trying to say as much as possible since I won't have time to follow up.

My opinion, and the real rub against the outgoing BOE, is that whatever is done must be done with parental support. Things like magnet programs are a good idea. Things like mandatory year round conversions are a bad idea. It should be obvious, but this is PUBLIC education. At the end of the day, public votes will rule. This last election is in, my opinion, a result of too much stick and not enough carrot from the WCPSS leadership.

First, I think the idea that there will be all black schools has some merit. There are still pockets of Raleigh where there is virtually no integration. However, all white schools really won't exist, except for in the affluent 'old wealth' areas of Raleigh. The suburbs of Wake County, while not showing a mirror of the nation's total diversity are far from homogeneous.

My assignment node is listed as having 5% or less F&R in the WCPSS database. So we are an affluent area by their criteria. Yet, as I said, I am an immigrant, my neighbor is a Hispanic immigrant, the person who lived in that house before was an Eastern European immigrant, the only child in the same Kindergarten class as my son from my neighborhood is Black. The family at the end of our street is Asian.

I understand that there is a difference between economic diversity and ethnic/racial diversity. However, the number of times that the race issue has been brought up (as you just did) makes me think that many do not. Another reason for the election results we saw, I think, is because most of the newer suburban voters live in areas that are much more ethnically diverse than areas of similar economic status in the older areas of the county.

The problem is, the administration has been locked into thinking about the whole county as the same as Raleigh. It isn't. Give me a true neighborhood school and it will be far from "all white" even though I am white and the economic status proxy for race used by WCPSS would tell you that it should be.

What should be done, IMO, is programs like more at four. We must get the foundation solid before anything that comes after can be expected to stand. We know the risk indicators; they have been identified by the diversity policy. The problem is, and the SAS report released recently speaks to this strongly, is that we need to raise achievement instead of lowering expectations. Busing kids out of an area just says that we don't think they can do it without being around those who are 'better' than they are.

That is another rub against the diversity policy. Expectations are important. We know that lower income kids don't have the same level of support and expectations from their parents. The diversity policy identified this as a reason to send those kids to schools with a different population that would have higher expectations. The problem is, once at those schools, EVERYONE - other students, teachers, parents, admin - knows who those kids are and so those same low expectations are waiting for them. Instead of dealing with low expectations, they simply formalized them as a policy.

Final point, the other end of school career needs attention too. First step is the foundation as I said. But there has to be vo-tech and non-college prep options in high school. Too many kids drop out because they see no point in high school because all it is doing is preparing them to go to college. Well, they don't want to school in the first place, so make them go to school for the purpose of being able to go to more school is asinine. I firmly believe that if we build a solid foundation before school starts and provide a solid reason and exit strategy for the last years, the middle will mostly take care of itself.

There will still be challenges for sure, but the idea that those challenges disappear because you spread them out around the county is one I have never understood. There is no evidence that it works. The voters realized this and they have spoken.

Thanks.

Much to think through.

Catching up with the Queen City

Wake County Schools, having been cited as an outstanding school district because of its assignment policies, has now decided to catch up with Charlotte. In the 1980s, Charlotte had a national reputation for making desegregation work because of its assignment policies. It took the big gun of the GOP Ronald Reagan in one speech delivered in Charlotte to turn that accomplishment around in less than a decade.

It seems that there are more important school issues than academic achievement for everyone -- vacations, for example, and friends, and convenience.

Guess holding white folks's little precious hostage for adequate school funding throughout a school district wasn't exactly the way to get desegregated neighborhoods either.

The direction seems to be reverse. All over North Carolina. As self-destructive as what California has done to itself.

50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

CMS

I have never understood the vitriol people in Wake launch towards CMS.

It seems that there are more important school issues than academic achievement for everyone

To me that is issue number one, so let us focus on that. Here are the latest NC report cards.

EOC A B
All 70.10% 77.10%
Male 70.40% 77.80%
Female 69.80% 76.50%
White 86.50% 89.00%
Black 55.20% 53.20%
Hispanic 60.70% 61.50%
American Indian 62.10% 73.90%
Asian/P.Island 81.70% 89.10%
Multi-Racial 74.70% 79.30%
E.D. 55.30% 52.40%
N.E.D. 78.80% 83.10%
L.E.P. 52.30% 49.60%

EOG A B
All 50.50% 61.00%
Male 48.10% 58.90%
Female 53.00% 63.30%
White 77.00% 78.70%
Black 32.50% 33.40%
Hispanic 36.80% 35.10%
American Indian 40.50% 58.80%
Asian/P.Island 64.70% 80.10%
Multi-Racial 55.30% 61.40%
E.D. 31.10% 31.30%
N.E.D. 70.30% 74.50%
L.E.P. 21.50% 22.70%

Apologies for the poor formatting. Hopefully you can see that. Which is WCPSS and which is CMS? A or B? When it comes to achievement for all, is there really a difference? Sure, column B is better overall, but when you look down at the lower achievement groups, there is virtually no difference.

As I said earlier, the problem for WCPSS is that there are three camps. One that is always for diversity no matter what, one that is always against it and the middle that decides based on the results of the policy if it is worth the effort. For those in the always support diversity camp, the results just aren't there.
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Oh, and A is CMS, B is WCPSS. If you add historical data and trends for each, the news is even worse for those of us in Wake who truly care about education for all. Those most in need here are slipping further and further behind. As someone who is a progressive when it comes to education, that the party that should have my vote solidly is so far off-base on this issue is really disturbing to me. How can progressives be backing a system that hides the problems of minorities and has a track record of widening the achievement gap between the haves and have-nots? I don't get it.

Numbers

Numbers, courtesy of Chris Fitzsimon at NC Policy Watch:

139,599—number of students in Wake County schools in the first month of 2009-2010 school year

128,072—number of students in Wake County Schools in the first month of 2006-2007 school year

79.71—percent of Wake County students in 2008-2009 who attend a school within 5 miles of their home

79.57—percent of Wake County students in 2006-2007 who attended a school within 5 miles of their home

107,970 number of Wake County students who attend specific school by assignment

30,150 number of Wake County students who attend school by choice

86.6—percent of Wake County students who attend school within 5 miles of their home due to school assignment

55—percent of Wake County students who attend school within 5 miles of their home due to choice of school

8,117—amount in dollars of spending per student in Wake County in 2007-2008 school year

8,595—amount in dollars of spending per student in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in 2007-2008 school year

35—amount in millions of dollars that budget of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools exceeded budget of Wake County Schools last year

71.7—percent of students statewide who graduate from high school as reported in 2009 AYP results

78.4—percent of students in Wake County schools who graduate as reported in 2009 AYP results

66.1—percent of students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools who graduate as reported in 2009 AYP results

63.4—percent of African-American students in Wake County Schools who graduate

55.5— percent of African-American students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools who graduate.

54.2—percent of students in Wake County Schools who receive free or reduced lunch who graduate.

52.0— percent of students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools who receive free or reduced lunch who graduate

100—number of points the average score on the SAT in 2009 in Wake County was higher than the average score in Charlotte-Mecklenburg

5,935—amount by which student enrollment in Wake County Schools exceeded enrollment in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

17—percent that spending on busing by Charlotte Mecklenburg exceeded spending on busing by Wake County Schools in 2008-2009 school year.

Numbers in detail

139,599—number of students in Wake County schools in the first month of 2009-2010 school year

128,072—number of students in Wake County Schools in the first month of 2006-2007 school year

For all the crowing about growth, that works out to be about 24 kids per schools per year. That is far from the crisis it was portrayed to be. Growth has been WCPSS's favorite mask for hiding its slipping academic performance. More time and effort is spent on growth than academics. This is by choice, in my view, because with growth they can point the finger at others, but with academics, they only have themselves to blame.

54.2—percent of students in Wake County Schools who receive free or reduced lunch who graduate.

52.0— percent of students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools who receive free or reduced lunch who graduate

Right there is why those who support the diversity policy dogmatically lost. Here in Wake County, we hear nothing but how it isn't about race, but about income. And that the WCPSS diversity policy has won all these awards, is recognized for averting a massive gulf in achievement based on income, yet when we look, we find that if you are E.D., no matter if you are in WCPSS or CMS it is just about 50-50 whether you graduate.

Let me be clear - that is unacceptable in BOTH cases. The reason the election turned out like it did is, in my opinion, because the policy didn't deliver the promised results. To be blunt, it hasn't delivered the results that we were told it had. At the end of the day, most people, particularly in local elections, vote pragmatically.

Policy works - vote for it.

Policy fails - vote against it.

Growth

That's 9% growth in 3 years, requiring about a dozen new schools (or 2 dozen if you want truly neighborhood schools). In the 10 prior years Wake added over 40,000 students and is still building schools for that backlog. When new schools are built, and old schools renovated, students need to be reassigned. Growth has slowed in the last 2 years but it is still the highest in NC. Enrollment in CMS has now declined and CMS spends more per student for the results shown above.

Why continue?

I am not sure how you get a dozen schools, unless you think it is all elementary level that is needed. Which it isn't.

Also, you are putting out the same lie that the voters saw through - the reassignment is caused by growth. When the number of kids reassigned is larger than the growth, this simply cannot be true. Sure, if you are doing it wrong, then that might be the case, but in a system that works to minimize disruption, then it won't be.

Also, what about year round? The 20+ converted schools? That was supposed to add 33% capacity per unit, according to WCPSS. That is half the capacity they needed. Of course, we find that those converted schools are actually only teaching about 33 more students than before they were converted.

You all can bury your heads in the sand if you want, but the election made it clear that the voters of Wake County won't. The policies of the WCPSS over the last 8 to 10 years have failed to deliver what they promised. And while it is still only a small number voting, the turnout was higher than in the last election for these districts. If I had just lost, I wouldn't be talking about how those that stayed home support me, I'd be worried about why those who chose to come out in greater numbers don't.

I was hoping that this election would serve as a wake-up call to Democrats since I believe that their interest in education is fundamentally based on better principles than the opposition. Guess I was wrong.

Seats

When a seat is opened up in a new school, the reassignment of a student has a domino effect. The vacant seat in the other school requires a reassignment, and so on.

The capacity figures in Wake are misleading because the extensive use of perimeter modular classrooms has put some schools way beyond their core capacity. Overall countywide demand for year-round seats actually exceeds capacity. Some people really like year-round schools.

Moving furniture around or eliminating art and music rooms would not have added 40,000 seats to a 90,000 system.

As for the size of schools, Wake's targets are about 900/1600/2200 for ES/MS/HS. These are large and sites are few and remote. Building schools of this size (some of which are on large combined ES/MS campuses) guarantees a lot of bus transportation because the State requires it for any student more than 1.5 miles from a school.

A 1,600 student middle school is a powder keg. In terms of improving graduation rates, the ideal size for a high school is 500. These days that is addressed by attempting schools within schools. Career oriented courses require more space and equipment than traditional classrooms. Teachers beg for more break-out spaces for individual and group study and tutoring.

Again, the same old lines

When a seat is opened up in a new school, the reassignment of a student has a domino effect. The vacant seat in the other school requires a reassignment, and so on.

Wrong. Absolutely, entirely, completely and utterly wrong. We know 3+ years ahead of time where a school will open. We have a system that (as you mentioned) has mobile capacity greater than entire school districts. Yet instead of using that mobile capacity as a temporary, local solution while the new permanent capacity is brought online, the system moves kids out of those mobile units into the new school then fills them back up with kids from another area! Why make the kids move when the capacity can? This is mismanagement plain and simple. It shows a complete lack of planning and forethought. The mobile capacity should be used to minimize reassignment instead it has become a crutch for poor planning.

Overall countywide demand for year-round seats actually exceeds capacity. Some people really like year-round schools.

I am one of them. Yet WCPSS ended the voluntary year round system which allowed those who wanted that calendar to get it. Now, they have far more year round capacity, but have seen almost no reduction in the number of people who are denied seats in them. In other words, once again, mismanagement. People are willing to help create more capacity, but the system is turning them away.

As for the size of schools, Wake's targets are about 900/1600/2200 for ES/MS/HS. These are large and sites are few and remote. Building schools of this size (some of which are on large combined ES/MS campuses) guarantees a lot of bus transportation because the State requires it for any student more than 1.5 miles from a school.

A 1,600 student middle school is a powder keg. In terms of improving graduation rates, the ideal size for a high school is 500. These days that is addressed by attempting schools within schools. Career oriented courses require more space and equipment than traditional classrooms. Teachers beg for more break-out spaces for individual and group study and tutoring.

I couldn't agree with you more, but none of that will happen until public confidence in the school system is returned. Right now, very few in Wake think that the system is worthy of their support. Based on track record, it is hard to fault them for that conclusion. Who is going to support a call for smaller schools when the last program didn't work as promised?

You need to look at the data

You may think what has happened is wrong but don't tell me I'm wrong simply because I'm telling you what has happened

And I am telling you what has actually happened. Lack of planning and forethought. The factors you list are indeed salient, but that doesn't mean they could not have been mitigated by better planning.

I could literally bore you to tears with all the detailed data I have. I can give you the entire reassignment database if you want. I can give you the breakdown of school-by-school reassignment that shows that there was no planning or forethought beyond one year. I have worked on this issue in more detail than most people who aren't employed by the school system. So unless you are on the inside or one of about a dozen people in this county, most of whom I know, you don't have the complete view of what has happened. You only have what has been officially released. There is so much more to this. I say this not to make myself seem better, but because I have found that most people just cannot fathom how much more there is to what goes one than they know. When I first started on this, it was shocking to me.

The easiest way I can demonstrate to you what I mean is by telling you what wasn't there. You know how WCPSS has a three year plan now? I was one of the team of three parents that came up with that idea, the underlying structure of the cluster concept as a way to forestall the growing call for neighborhood schools (and now I am going to pat myself on the back), took it to Supt. Chuck D at growth management and worked on how we could provide some stability while still dealing with growth and diversity. When he started feeding me the data files (that was my role on the team) for proof of concept outputs there was no field in the database for FUTURE ASSIGNMENT. None. I asked where that was kept. It wasn't. In other words, no future planning. It was entirely year-by-year. A node that could be logically tied to a future school (as in next door) wasn't in anyway. They could be moved next year only to be moved again when the school opens. This has happened a lot.

The same thing was true for capacity. In fact, there was no tie between the capacity and assignment databases. It was impossible to tie the movement of modulars to the movement of students. Two years ago, WCPSS had the capacity of more than entire new elementary school sitting unused on various sites. Not designated for repair, not in use and because the ability to do so doesn't exist, not waiting for a pre-determined future use. If that isn't mismanagement, I don't know what is.

You can sit here and defend the policies all you want if you agree with them. Just know that you are in a small and decreasing minority if you do that. Also know that what you think you know and what you have been told is a very, very small part of what has actually happened. I certainly will not claim to know everything, but I have worked long and hard on this issue. There is a huge gulf between what one would assume based on basic common sense would happen and what actually does. It is nothing like the wonderfully orchestrated system they have claimed for so long.

And just so I am 100% clear on this, the other factors you mentioned are important. They should not be ignored. But even with full and even favorable to WCPSS consideration of those factors, the failure of the school system in this regard is still absolutely inexcusable. They may have been dealt a tough hand, but they played it about as poorly as one can.

I am very glad I am not one

I am very glad I am not one of your students. Your arrogance borders on breathtaking. And as someone who's been there and done that, you might consider asking this question every now and then.

Just a thought.

A good question

What if I'm wrong? Wouldn't be the first time. The problem is, I used to think just like Mr. Flynn does. Then I found out I was wrong. Because I asked that very question. I went to school, studied to be a teacher and learned all about the impact of socioeconomic standing on outcomes. I came to Wake to teach thinking that they had found the answer. I was wrong. Very wrong.

And no worries, I no longer teach.

And to Mr. Flynn

We don't live in an absolute world so I'll say that you are 99% wrong in making this a personal thing about you and me and about numbers on a page.

I never said anything about it being an absolute world. In fact, I have repeatedly and consistently used terms such as 'in my opinion' when talking about the subject. However, you made the following statement.

When a seat is opened up in a new school, the reassignment of a student has a domino effect. The vacant seat in the other school requires a reassignment, and so on.

That is FACTUALLY incorrect. If you cannot take it when someone points out your errors, don't call it an attack. That is the way it has been done, but this isn't a history lesson.

It's about students who need a fair shake.

52% White
26% African American
12% Latino
6% Asian
4% Other

The ethnicity of the student has nothing to do with their need for a fair shake. You are just putting out the same rhetoric that lost the election on Tuesday, has the support of barely half of Democrats, under 40% of African-Americans and only a quarter of independents. Now, if you want to say that you have it right and they all have it wrong go right ahead, but then I'd have to tell James that I am not the one who is arrogant here.

I posted here because I saw an encouraging post that lead me to believe that perhaps the Democrats in the area had realized that what they had been backing is losing. For me, someone who values education more than nearly anything else, the idea of Republican control is not one I am particularly happy about. However, it is becoming pretty clear that SPLib was the exception. The response after have nothing but a retreat back to and defense of the same policies that have failed.

So since you gave me a question to answer, then here is one for you. I posted it before, but no one was willing to touch it.

Would you support a program that

  • moves poorer and most non-white kids away from their homes and communities, making it even harder for parents who have the fewest resources to be involved in their child's education
  • tells rich and mostly white kids that they will almost always get to go to their local school, but if they are willing to sully themselves by mixing with the poor, colored masses, the school system will provide special, expensive programs for them as an incentive to do so
  • accepts virtually no poor or non-white kids into those special programs since they are in the schools where there are 'enough of those kids already' and getting those poor and mostly non-white kids out was the goal in the first place
  • has an underlying message that too many poor and likely non-white kids in one school will cause it to fail
  • that contends that poor and likely non-white kids just need proper exposure to wealthier, mostly white kids in order to do better in school

if the Republican Party had come up with it? I doubt it. So unless you put party over children, why do you support it now? What I described is the WCPSS diversity policy.

Not worthy

You are an important person. You know everything. You even know what is inside my little head. Why would I waste the time of such an important person telling him what he already knows? Even if I agree or disagree it is of little consequence because you alone can tell me what I am really thinking, really doing.

So which is it?

I used to think just like Mr. Flynn does. Then I found out I was wrong

You have gone past annoying and are headed into our category of intolerably obnoxious.

More of the same

Yup, more of the same. I am obnoxious so that gets you out of dealing with your factual errors.

Here is the deal. Very specific so you cannot try to take it out of context. I too used to think that the domino effect was a necessary outgrowth of new schools opening. Makes sense on the surface. But then I found the numbers and quickly realized that many kids were being sent to new schools from existing ones that were under capacity. And that some of the schools that were over capacity weren't even in the reassignment plan. So those schools that had no need to be part of the chain of dominoes were involved and those that logically should have been in the chain weren't. Then I found out that there was no provision for looking at mobile capacity within reassignment. Then later, that there wasn't even a way to assign a node to a school more than one year out.

I am sure you will dismiss this as you have everything else since it challenges what you believe. So I will advise instead that you go see for yourself. You can get the data if you really want to. You will see what I am talking about quite clearly. It is not consistent with what they tell you or what you have stated here. Not an opinion either. Factually. The domino effect is not what causes the reassignments to be a) larger than the new capacity brought on line or b) larger than total growth.

There you go again

Telling me what I believe.  Why don't you stick with what you believe and I'll tell you what I believe, what I think and what I might be defending or supporting.

I am telling you that it is a fact that when one student is moved out to fill one seat in a new school and another is moved in to fill the vacant seat it creates two reassignments.

You may dispute the need for the second reassignment but you can't change the fact that two students were reassigned yet you feel free to say

Wrong. Absolutely, entirely, completely and utterly wrong.

Neighborhood nodes are reassigned and the number of students can be estimated but will not be known until class begins.  Even during the year students come and go, subdivisions are completed and people move in. Some flexibility has to be built in to deal with growth throughout the year.

Mathematically there may be enough capacity but the history of the world is replete with the contradictions of abundance and scarcity.  There are more reasons for reassignment than growth but growth is directly responsible for many reassignments. I really don't know how you get students into new schools without reassigning them.

There are also variations on where a school is being renovated but its physical location is temporarily in a remote swing space, such as an existing modular complex or vacant school. There may be no technical "reassignment" but there is temporary physical "reassignment" Some new schools are filled in phases, one grade per year, while the rest of the school is used as swing space.

Modulars are expensive to move around and set up, especially the mega-modulars that Wake has pioneered and the site work associated with them. They have reduced the need for reassignment but can't replace it. They are just not as mobile as people think. Predicting the location of schools is not so easy any more. Many recent Wake schools were substantially designed before the site was finalized. The time from acquisition to completion can be 18 months. The new High School under construction near Rolesville is one such school. It's really hard to locate a high school because few people actually want one in their neighborhood. Construction has been delayed by rock, a cemetary and now opposition from residents.

Also, it's not just students that are being moved, but teachers and resources needed to teach them. I believe there is more to reassignment than either growth or capacity.  There should be more transparency about those reasons.

Again, thanks for the history lesson and WCPSS PR

I am telling you that it is a fact that when one student is moved out to fill one seat in a new school and another is moved in to fill the vacant seat it creates two reassignments.

And I am telling you that it does not need to be this way and in many cases this actually isn't the case. At my kids' school they put in a modular to fill it with students mostly from outside the area from schools that weren't overcrowded. There are schools in my area that are overcrowded and new schools coming on line in that are which would have been a better use for the modulars. Instead, they kept those schools overcrowded, filled a modular unit with students mostly from schools not significantly overcapacity and did nothing to reduce reassignment in the future when the new school opens.

I understand that this isn't always the case and that all you are saying is what the system has said. I am not telling you what you believe. I am telling you the truth that opened my eyes when I too thought that the domino effect was why the reassignment numbers were so high. All you have to do to prove this too yourself is find one of the reassignment databases and try to make a line of dominoes with nodes. According to the domino theory it should be.

  • School A opens
  • Node 1 goes from School B to School A
  • Node 2 goes from School C to School B to back fill
  • And maybe one or two more of those chains until there isn't a need to remove kids from a crowded environment

First, as I pointed out, Node 2 wouldn't have to move if mobile capacity was used more intelligently. Regardless of the implications of moving trailers, it can be done and since we are talking about a three or four year build process (from identification of need to first day of class, not just physical brick and mortar build) it isn't like I am talking about an annual trailer migration like the caribou in Canada. But targeted modular capacity tied to the creation of permanent capacity.

Also, it's not just students that are being moved, but teachers and resources needed to teach them.

Part of the reason I quit teaching was because there was a mass exodus from the school I was working in when the principal took the job at a new school opening. I will absolutely defend WCPSS on this one, however. There is no easy solution. You cannot open a new school with all new staff. You cannot hope to retain teachers if you don't allow them to move within your system. You cannot discourage teachers and principals from forming solid working relationships that create this kind of loyalty. There is no 'good' answer.

WCPSS, WEP and their other

WCPSS, WEP and their other alter-egos have consistently said that less than 1% of reassignments are due to diversity.

Perhaps you should ask yourself this question: If the diversity busing policy only affects 1% of the population, how could it possibly have a significant impact on our school system, and why are people claiming that our system will be heavily damaged if the 1% goes away?

Simple

Because there is a big difference between total assignment for diversity and that portion of the re-assignment.

That's what I hoped you'd

That's what I hoped you'd say. Now, can you tell me how many base assignments are made based on socio-economic diversity?

If you know the answer

Don't bother asking me the question. If you don't know the answer, find out, come back and tell us. Otherwise find another chess partner.

I do know the answer, you

I do know the answer, you obviously don't. I'd stipulate that until you take the time to find out the answer like our group has, then you are in no position to offer an informed opinion of what will happen if we return to neighborhood schools.

I answered a question

I answered a question in good faith and you responded by being a wiseass.

Reassignment is based on multiple factors including achievement and F&R associated with diversity. I happen to believe your 1% number is wrong.

James, You kicked me off your

James,

You kicked me off your web site because my posts were deemed to be personal attacks. Since returning, I have been nothing but polite and been sure to steer clear of anything resembling a personal attack.

Mr. Flynn has made personal attacks on Rich and now me. Do you find this to be acceptable behavior?

No Joe

You're playing games instead of having a dialog. Rich wants to tell me what I think, believe and defend, then criticize me based on his assumptions of me. I'm sitting in bed all day with a stomach virus and an iPhone. I'm a little crabby and I'm not going downstairs with cramps to fire up my computer just to give you the secret Joe code.

The anti-diversity crowd has claimed up to half of reassignment is for diversity (wakeschoolfacts.org) and having no effect. Now you want to tell us that it's only 1% and of little consequence. The consequence is not for the spread out percentage, whatever you claim it to be today. The consequence is for the schools in poor neighborhoods where F&R rates will be concentrated. Teachers will bail and PTAs will not be able to pull on the resources of parents from Hayes Barton, Wakefield or Lochmere.

If you've got someting to say come out and say it but don't play games where you're not going to engage without the "secret word". This is about students, not you or me.

I'm not seeing the arrogance or the personal attacks

I'll go back and reread, but I don't see arrogance in restating what appear to be facts and I haven't found personal attacks on Greg...just Apex Rich willing to continue arguing his point.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Personal attacks don't work

We don't live in an absolute world so I'll say that you are 99% wrong in making this a personal thing about you and me and about numbers on a page. It's about students who need a fair shake.

52% White
26% African American
12% Latino
  6% Asian
  4% Other

Fitzsimon weighs in with more numbers

http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/cms/2009/10/07/the-misguided-three-percent-solution/

Approximately 18,000 of almost 600,000 citizens voted to push Wake County back into the dark ages. But it's not their fault. They did what the Republican Party wanted them to do. The fault lies with the silent majority who couldn't be bothered to vote at all.

It'll be interesting to watch all the NIMBY newbies struggle with overcrowded schools, new pressures to raise taxes, and an ever-widening achievement gap.

Your analysis is less than complete

A majority of those voting in most districts up for election yesterday spoke.

All Wake County school board districts weren't up yesterday. And one of those districts is likely headed to a runoff.

This take acknowledges the difference of which districts were up yesterday.

 

No disagreement on the point

No disagreement on the point made in the article, each district has unique issues and different demographics. But the point still stands, the majority of the constituents did not want busing.

Integration

The majority of Wake residents did not want integration in the 60s and 70s either. It took action by the State Legislature.

This is not integration

If you truly believe that the situation today parallels the changed needed to undo the legal system of segregation, then you are going to be backing a losing side for a long time to come. As I said previously, Wake County is no longer just Raleigh, and most of the areas outside Raleigh (and even some in the city limits) look nothing like that old construct.

I live in an integrated neighborhood. A neighborhood school would be an integrated school. The housing patterns in my area and those of most of those who voted yesterday were not formed during the time of Jim Crow. The old thinking does not apply.

Are there still parts of Raleigh and the rest of Wake County that show the shadows of the past? Sure. Do we need to address them? Absolutely. Should the school board set a countywide policy based on those select areas? The voters and common sense say no.

Are there still parts of

Are there still parts of Raleigh and the rest of Wake County that show the shadows of the past? Sure. Do we need to address them? Absolutely. Should the school board set a countywide policy based on those select areas? The voters and common sense say no.

How?

This all reminds me of people who say the federal government shouldn't get involved in teh gay business ... just let the states figure it out. Sometimes solutions work better at a micro-level, sometimes they don't. Hell, maybe segregated city schools are the right way to go.

I predict never-ending court challenges. You're on the trail to separate-but-equal, which as everyone knows, is never equal.

Separate but equal

With the current funding structure, separate but equal in the old way cannot happen. In fact, because of the affluence of surrounding areas and the way in which funding is computed, the poorer areas of Wake County are in fact monetarily penalized for the wealth of the surrounding areas.

As to how we address them, we stop looking at healthy schools and start looking at the children. I cringe every time someone in the admin says 'healthy schools'. All I can think is they sound like corporate CEOs. "The company is doing great. Stock price is up. Dividends are up. Profits are up." Truth is, they just sold 50% of the company, laid off 90% of the workers, bankrupted the pension and outsourced everything to third world nations with no worker rights protections.

While that is really vague, I hope you understand the concept I am conveying. School level analysis is useless. It is a convenient cover for children not learning. Why do you think businesses in Wake love the diversity policy? They get to claim "no bad schools" but don't actually have to contribute to the hard work needed to make sure that the at-risk kids actually learn.

While I don't think it is likely that segregated schools are the answer, we do need to keep an open mind. WCPSS did a study on ESL kids and achievement. They found conclusively that ESL children in schools with a LARGER ESL population did better than those in a small one. 5% of kids who cannot speak English are difficult to justify spending resources on. Hit 15% and you have a strong case. Yet the staff of WCPSS recommended to the board to include school ESL percentage as one that needed to be reduced by the diversity policy. Appearance over performance.

As I said previously, what we need to do is provide the solid foundation (more at four etc) and a reason to graduate (vo-tech, work study etc) because that is where most of the gap lies in my opinion. Kids from more affluent and usually higher educated parents get read to more, taught colors and counting etc before school starts. Those who have to catch up to that level are at a distinct disadvantage. Then, come high school, we provide no reason to stay in school for someone who doesn't want to go to college. Get them a diploma and a job skill and I think the attitude towards graduation will do a 180° turn.

Also look at the SAS report just released and how there is an amazing disparity in Algebra 1 enrollment. That needs to end. The district should have a middle school math team that goes between schools with the lowest Algebra enrollments and works with students and teachers to fix it. Specialists trained in that sort of intervention.

The local Democratic support for the diversity has long baffled me. Since I am here, I will ask a question I have long wanted to ask of Democrats. Would you support a program that

  • moves poorer and most non-white kids away from their homes and communities, making it even harder for parents who have the fewest resources to be involved in their child's education
  • tells rich and mostly white kids that they will almost always get to go to their local school, but if they are willing to sully themselves by mixing with the poor, colored masses, the school system will provide special, expensive programs for them as an incentive to do so
  • accepts virtually no poor or non-white kids into those special programs since they are in the schools where there are 'enough of those kids already' and getting those poor and mostly non-white kids out was the goal in the first place
  • has an underlying message that too many poor and likely non-white kids in one school will cause it to fail
  • that contends that poor and likely non-white kids just need proper exposure to wealthier, mostly white kids in order to do better in school

if the Republican Party had come up with it? I doubt it. So unless you put party over children, why do you support it now? What I described is the WCPSS diversity policy.

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