Sunday, June 22, 2014

D before E

Have you ever wondered if diversity really trumps education in Wake County? I mean, honestly... you can read my posts from the past two years and listen to my opinion but I'm sure you've thought: 

"Yeah, yeah. You're just political and hate this School Board" or 

"My kids are fine. Diversity is a good thing (as long as we don't get reassigned)." or 

(in a whisper...) "That woman is crazy."

Well, I feel your pain. This School Board has not made it easy. In the past 3 years, they have made many damaging decisions (like going through 4 superintendents in 2 years) and many non-decisions (uh, after 3 years and whole lotta talking, still no assignment plan?).

But, are they really so focused on creating diversity in our schools that the educational needs of our students run a far second?

Here's some clarity. 

Last week, the N&O had an article about the WCPSS School Board ending a successful and effective program that was running at 5 low-income schools in Wake County.  While Mr. Literal, aka School Board Jim Martin, tried to berate the N&O and claim that the Board never canceled this program, the reality is the funding has ended and this program, one that has helped thousands of low-income children, is over. Don't let Mr. Martin's patronizing twist on the truth make you believe otherwise. 

In the end, the program was ended because this Board doesn't like helping all sorts of poor kids together in one school. In the Board's opinion, it's wrong for poor families to choose to attend school together and then have the school system provide extra resources to help their children. The success of that program isn't what's important to them. The diversity of that school is important. Diversity over education.

But, do you care? After all, not my children.

So, let's talk about something that you might care about. Something that really speaks to the Board's one and only concern: diversity.

At their last work session (the meeting before the official Board meeting), there was a discussion about the placement of the new schools that will be built from the 2013 bond money. You know, the bond you voted for last year because "it's for the children".

WCPSS staff has been working to identify areas to build schools around the county in order to best serve the growing population of Wake County. To make it easy, I'll recap that discussion for those of you who live in SW Wake. 

Here's what your unsympathetic and magnet-focused School Board member Susan Evans had to say:

"We've been having various other conversations about student assignment and the magnet program and I think this is probably a good time for us to put it out there on the table. We have to be forward thinking about all of that stuff and I don't know what the decent answers are but, I've said this before and I'll say it again."

Here it comes, people...

"While I understand that the density of new neighborhoods is strong along that Western corridor and will be strong along the most Southern corridor, so that looks like that's our immediate need, I have a concern from a long-term perspective that, in 20 years when those neighborhoods have aged up and we've got a bazillion schools around the perimeter of the county, is that going to serve us well? We need to think globally about the positioning of schools with long-term in mind and build more towards the center of [the county]."

Globally? Uh, ok. So, even though we have been recognized as the fastest growing area of the county...  And, even though you have been told by Susan Evans that you matter and she will work for your family and your children...  And, even though you honestly believed that your support of the 2013 school bond would result in new schools in your crowded neighborhood...  Even though there is an "immediate need" (her words, not mine) for schools in our district, we're not going to get them.

As quoted in the N&O, "It’s easier to assign children to schools in the central areas of the county to balance population and diversity than to send them to schools farther away."

Let me say that in plain English. 

Schools will be built closer to Raleigh so diversity will be easier to achieve. And your kids are the next pawns in that system.

So, the joke's on you. Do you care now?


 

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/06/21/3954206/wake-county-leaders-debate-where.html?sp=/99/102/110/112/#storylink=cpy

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Suburban Imbeciles

I just watched the WCPSS Strategic Plan meeting...aka #wakevision.

(If you want to waste 2 hours of your time, you can watch it here.)

This meeting was held at Memorial Hall on May 30th to kickoff the development "of a five-year strategic plan that will guide the school system moving forward." (BTW, this meeting cost you at least $2,422.85.) (And...the last five year strategic plan was done just two years ago. But, whatever.)

The speaker hired by WCPSS, some guy who calls himself a futurist, was actually okay.  Engaging, sounded pretty knowledgeable, had some interesting ideas.
A little nutty but tolerable, I guess. In a nutshell, his message was that we need to be teaching for our kids' future, and not from our own past. And how important this is - now more than ever - because the world is changing at a faster rate than it ever has. 

Good message. But, considering this crowd and that School Board members and Supt. Merrill were in the room, it probably floated over their heads and right out the door.

But, the absolute best part of this meeting (and well worth watching at 1:51:55) was when one parent, Becky, stood up to ask a question. Little ol' Becky was pretty confident in her question...as if she already knew the answer. Here's what she said:

"I am the parent of two students at Martin Middle School. One of the stronger points of the Wake County Public School System has been the long-time commitment to having diverse schools. What do you say to parents, and I think this is part of the visioning process, guys - who are so adamant that the worst thing that can happen to their kid is that they could be reassigned to a different school the next year?"

Good grief. 

Could Becky possibly be any more condescending while gnashing her teeth?

Uh, yes, she could. And she was:

"I'm sorry - but if my child is going to have 5 to 10 different careers, God forbid that they should have to go to 4 or 5 elementary schools. I mean, it seems like preparation for living to me."

OMG. 4 or 5 elementary schools?! 

Becky is either the worst kind of parent or she represents the epitome of a smug, patronizing, and arrogant magnet parent who thinks us "suburban" parents are idiots. 

Maybe that choice is one and the same. :)

And Becky didn't stop there:


"We don't close our schools because the population shifts; we shift the kids around. And it has worked really well - except that parents get so irate because their children, in spite of the fact that they are all digitally connected, that they are losing that connection."

Fortunately, the futurist stopped Becky from babbling and making herself look even more foolish. His response, however, was brilliant. 

He said:

"I will say that if all the schools in the district are equal quality, there shouldn't be a problem. So, that's the first thing. If the school system can stand up and say "You're gonna get the same education", that's a true statement."

And we all know WCPSS isn't about educational equality. If it was, Becky and her buddies would be very upset over losing their magnet goodies and sharing them with the rest of us imbeciles in the suburbs.

And then the futurist said something incredible:


"The other thing is... the word 'diversity'... Diversity is a loaded, social, emotional word of about 50 years standing that, if you want diversity, you have to let go of the legacy thinking of what the word diversity means and create what is diversity in this school district in 2014. Whatever that is... face that diversity, rather than some formulaic thing. But, the first thing is to make all schools good. Then, it doesn't matter."

So, was it worth the $2300 for the venue and god-knows-how-much for Mr. Futurist to tell the irate parents of Wake County what we already know?  

For those last two minutes, yes. Yes, it was.

Do you think Becky, her magnet friends, and the WCPSS School Board actually listened to those comments? 

Not in a million years. 

Understanding this simple concept would require parents like Becky to change. Parents like Becky have it too good in the magnet system. Parents like Becky have absolutely no understanding of the effect of reassignment on a child - not to mention 4 or 5 of them. Parents like Becky may understand that the reassignment of our children allows her magnet children to remain safe, secure, and untouched at their school. Parents like Becky are ignorant and offensive. Sadly, there are plenty of them in Wake County.

Even worse, they are also on our School Board.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Repackaging Tata's vision

What we are witnessing today on the Wake County School Board is politics at its best.

In 2009, the School Board removed quotas for diversity in the WCPSS assignment policy. After all, there was decades of data that showed the busing scheme in Wake County - that is, using the assignment of poor children to fill quotas at each school - did not work. It did not improve academic outcomes.

However, as a result of that simple change, the liberals went wild. 

They packed the Board meetings, protested anywhere they could, chanted and sang, encouraged students to get arrested, and proudly crossed the security barriers to physically take over the School Board seats. C'mon, we all remember it. Overly-dramatic candlelight vigils. Yelling, singing, and praying during Board meetings. Years of hateful statements, speeches, and name-calling.

Fast forward to this past week...

New Superintendent Merrill and WCPSS staff presented a new academic formula to the School Board. This formula could be used to better identify the needs of struggling schools - how to place resources properly - rather than simply using diversity busing to address educational problems. Sadly, it does include the ability to reassign students to "improve" performance. But, it's no longer the be-all and end-all as this Board and their liberal friends so desired.

This new formula is divided into 5 areas - yet "diversity" is no longer the most important factor. In fact, "demographics" (which it is named under this formula) is similarly weighted to 3 of the other 5 factors.

And, shockingly, the left remains silent. No outrage. Silence. Crickets.

Let's not forget... the end result of all that hubbub from the liberals was the buyout of the contract of a very effective and very successful superintendent. With the support of the 2009 Board, Tata managed to change the conversation in Wake County. Not an easy feat.

So, I can only believe that either Merrill is treading on very thin ice with this Board by basically dismissing diversity busing as a solution in education. Or this School Board is filled with a bunch of liars and hypocrites.

In a nutshell...

A vision and leadership from a superintendent hired by a Republican-majority board?
Bad, bad, bad.

The same vision from a superintendent hired by a Democratic-majority board?
Hmmm... seems OK.

Now, don't get me wrong. This isn't set in stone. The Board has to approve this new formula that puts little emphasis on diversity busing. And, in the long shot that they will vote in favor of it, I wonder if the outrage will return.
 
I'm not betting on it.





Monday, December 23, 2013

The Year of the Snake(s)

As a new year approaches, I thought it would be good to reflect on all the great things our School Board has done to improve education in Wake County.

But... I couldn't come up with any. 

Instead, here's a recap of the woeful 2013 highlights:


  • After an expensive and completely unnecessary dog and pony show, they hired a "veteran administrator" - aka Board lapdog - who used to work at WCPSS back in the "good ol' days". You know, the days Kevin Hill and Co. have been dragging us back to.   (BTW, where is the new superintendent? Has anyone heard anything worthwhile from him yet?)

  • After moving back to base assignments, the School Board voted to cap 17 schools for this school year. Yes, 17. A new list of capped schools for 2014-15 will be released next month. (Hint, hint: Reassignments are coming as well.)
 
  • This video was released and no one at WCPSS cared. 
 
"...since joining the Board, I have not maintained my affiliations with GSIW"? Liar.
  • WCPSS Board members attended  walk in/walk out events - again, sponsored by the extreme left-leaning political group, Public Schools First NC. Let's not forget the whopper from School Board member Susan Evans' mouth in 2012:
"...I am neither actively involved in their [GSIW] activities, nor am I given any advance notice of the content or distribution of their press releases." (Another liar.)
  • School Board members Susan Evans and Jim Martin tag-teamed to verbally assault and threaten Sen. Neal Hunt in the Legislative building. Classy.


  • And the cherry on top? The School Board shamelessly ousted Keith Sutton as Chairman (the only one on this Board with some common sense, imo) - even though it is customary to allow two one-year terms as Chair. Some people are mad. Some people are really mad. Plain and simple, these Board members exploited Sutton -- and then dumped him. A brazen slap in the face to Mr. Sutton and his supporters.

Sadly, 2014 isn't looking to pan out very well either. 

And, to think - just two short years ago, I was optimistic.




Sunday, October 6, 2013

Did she really say that?

What does Zora Felton have to say? 

Here are some of the most ridiculous quotes from her campaign:


When speaking at the League of Womens Voters (GSIW) forum about busing:

"People are bused -- but that's a mode of transportation." 
"Busing is a mode of transportation."

 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When speaking about ways to address student discipline:

"I have a little philosophy. I think that children around the age of 12 need to either work in a factory or the farm."

  -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In her Indy Weekly questionnaire, Zora clearly supports assignments based on how much money you make - and the reassignment of your children if "imbalance" occurs at your school - or another school, or another school, or another school...

"I support policies that lead to diverse student populations in terms of family income."
 


"While sometimes a (low-income) percentage can be arbitrary, nonetheless, it is good to be vigilant in making sure that adjustments are made when the school's ability to help every child becomes overwhelming"

 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

When asked about her support for year-round schools:

"Folks, it's just not that much fun to find something to do in August...or July. OK? It's hot." 

(I'm surprised she didn't just throw out the insulting "It's so much cheaper to travel during track out.")

 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

But - here's my favorite from Zora... and the one that should give you pause...

"I wish I had enough name recognition and enough money to run for the Legislature. Ok? But, I don't."

Clearly, Zora has bigger ideas for her political career. 
And the School Board is just a stepping-stone to her aspirations for higher office.

We need commitment. Not a GSIW-backed politician wannabe.

Vote for Prickett on October 8th.




 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Rat in the Hat

 
Look at me! Look at me! Look at me now!
It is fun to have fun but you have to know how.


Very fitting for Bill Fletcher. Full of trickery and lies.
(Yes, that's his goofy picture on the left.)

Back in 1993, when Fletcher first ran for School Board, he ran as a critic of diversity busing. Like any sane person, he was against the reassignment of children over and over again simply to meet a diversity quota.

Well, that was his first (and probably most damaging) trick on the citizens of Wake County. Once in office, Fletcher's true intent became very clear. He voted in favor of EVERY SINGLE REASSIGNMENT PLAN from 1993 to 2005. Twelve years of deeply-entrenched diversity busing plans - and Fletcher voted for every one of them.

Is it any wonder that Fletcher came in 3rd place the last time he ran in 2005?  Yup, didn't even make it into a runoff. The citizens of Cary were sick and tired of him, his lies, and being yanked around and ignored by a system that Fletcher happily created. (Then, like a knife in the back, the current majority appointed him back to the School Board this year.)

So, why does Fletcher think he can fool us again? Well, you can thank his cousin, Jim Goodmon. Goodmon is a mouthpiece in Wake County (He is the CEO of Capital Broadcasting) and has the media at his fingertips. He is active with Great Schools in Wake and has very deep pockets. There is no way that Fletcher will vote against anything his cousin wants. Goodmon has funded and continues to fund all the 'pro-diversity' candidates because, well, busing the poor out of Raleigh makes Jim happy. And Fletcher will use his cousin's influence and money to continue to lie and hope you don't remember the truth.

Another little tidbit about Fletcher. He used to sit as a member of the Board for Big Brothers Big Sisters - the place John Tedesco used to work. Fletcher, as this article implies, was instrumental in pushing Tedesco out of his job. Of course, Fletcher won't tell you the truth about that - but it certainly explains why Tedesco voted for a member of GSIW rather than Fletcher when filling this School Board seat. 

And this mess is so big
And so deep and so tall,
We cannot pick it up
There is no way at all!

Yup, pretty much sums up what Fletcher will do to this county and our children.

Vote for Caggia on October 8th.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Thousand Words




Hi. My name is Susan Evans - School Board member for District 8. I'm the one on the right. I'm with my fellow Board member, Christine Kushner. She's the one on the left. 

Who is that in the middle, you ask? That's one of the leaders from Great Schools in Wake (GSIW), Adrienne Lumpkin. This picture of us was taken at the last Moral Monday protest. If you have Facebook, you can see some of my other friends and GSIW members here.

You might remember that Christine and I were accused of being involved with GSIW after taking our Board seats. You see, being actively involved with such a political group would be against the WCPSS Code of Ethics. So, Christine and I just denied everything. Denied, denied, denied. But, c'mon, did you really believe us? ;)

Not only do we work closely with their leaders, we love going to their organized protests and bad mouthing people who don't agree with us. We wear stickers and hold protest signs during the day - and then pretend we're listening to all sides when we sit in our Board seats at night. It's so much fun!

So, to date, we've checked off the following on our GSIW to-do list:

1. We ended the Choice Plan. Too many of our magnet friends were upset. I don't really understand why the suburbs are so angry. Whatever.

2. We fired Supt. Tata. Honestly, the guy is smart. Had to go. Buh-bye.

3. We hired a new superintendent. He's an old school guy . Our previous Board chair, Kevin Hill, really likes to live in the past. You know, like 30 years ago. This Merrill guy will fit right in.

4. Our latest accomplishment was getting approval to go back to using F&R data to assign students. What? You don't remember the Board discussing that in public? LOL. That's because we didn't. Of course, Adrienne knew all about it. 

It really amazes me how easy it's been to keep up this guise. I guess it helps that the media is on our side. 

Anyway, I hope you like the picture.