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.





 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Downhill

Think what you may - but Kevin Hill really is a smart guy. Evil and a complete jerk...but smart.

Sure, we caught him scheduling and attending secret meetings. And, we all now know that he has been secretly collaborating his School Board business with members of Great Schools in Wake. And he had the audacity to call parents "selfish and anti-social" in response to a parent's question. But, honestly, so what? He still sits in that Board chair - arrogantly and unaffected. Spouting lies and expecting us to believe them.

Hill was Chairman back in 2012 when he led the charge to fire Supt. Tony Tata.  Hill came up with numerous unsubstantiated excuses when Tata was let go without cause. But, we all know Hill's a liar and Tata's firing was the most partisan move in WCPSS.

My last public information request - the one which has numerous emails from Hill BCC'd to members of GSIW - also contained an interesting email from Hill to Tata.



In this email, Hill thanks Tata for "your letter" and then proceeds to seemingly clarify his opinions on Tata's military background. This email strongly suggests that Hill criticized Tata's military background and service to our country. So much so that Tata felt it necessary to write a letter to Hill. Could Tata's years of service to our country be the reason he was fired?

I asked for a copy of that letter from WCPSS. I was told: "Mr. Hill did not keep a copy".

That's it. Plain and simple -- he doesn't have it. No concern that this is a public document and falls with the General Assembly's definition of "public record". No concern for the contents of this letter and the possible exposure of why Tata was really fired by Hill, Sutton, Evans, Martin and Kushner

All Hill had to do was say "I don't have it" and we're all supposed to move along. 

Like I said, smart guy. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blind stupidity

I just received some emails from a public information request. If you didn't know, you can ask for emails sent by Board members as they are all public record. The problem, however, is that it takes months to receive them and, by then, the issue you are trying to address has faded away or changed altogether.

This last request, however, was well worth the wait.

The first 2 emails in my request were from Kevin Hill - dated Dec. 2011 - just before he was elected as Board chair while Margiotta was still in office as Chairman of the Board.

What was shocking about these emails is that they are not only blindcopied to Susan Evans, Christine Kushner and Jim Martin (who had been elected but had not taken office yet - and were active members/leaders in GSIW) but the BCC also includes Yevonne Brannon - the de facto leader of Great Schools in Wake (GSIW). 

Now, why would the leaders of GSIW be secretly copied in any email to other Board members and the superintendent?

We all knew that the new majority quietly and illegally collaborated behind the scenes - counting their votes for a new chair and new vice-chair upon their swearing-in back in 2011. What we couldn't confirm was that that leaders of GSIW have been intimately and inappropriately involved in these decisions all along.


Now remember... the Wake County Taxpayer's Association (WCTA) accused Hill and the Board majority of being directed and heavily influenced by GSIW in their complaint to AdvancED. WCPSS's response flatly denied this.

And yet we now have evidence (see emails to the left) that Hill has been purposefully yet secretly copying in leaders of GSIW in emails sent to Board Members and to then-Supt. Tata.

Further, many of the emails Hill sent over the past few years are BCC'd to his own personal email. Hmmm..? It seems, at some point, Hill smartened up and chose to forward the information to GSIW from his private email rather than a capturable blind copy. Where did he send them from there? That information was not provided in my request but I'm sure I could guess correctly.

So, what have we learned here?
1. Hill is a liar.
2. GSIW are liars.
3. GSIW is actively involved in decisions affecting your family - and that should be of great concern to you.
4. The only thing wrong in the WCTA complaint to AdvancED is that they didn't implicate Kevin Hill as yet another GSIW collaborator.
5. If Hill is BCC'ing emails to GSIW, Evans, Kushner & Martin are too.
6. All decisions from the Democrats on this School Board - including the firing of Supt. Tata - have been political. The liberals of Wake County say when and these Board members jump at the chance to please.

7. You should write the Board with your concerns.


GSIW is now attacking the General Assembly and bills S325 and S236 - which would change School Board elections and oversight for school construction. But, don't be fooled. They don't care how these bills affect education. They are throwing their predictable tantrums and making noise because, with the Republicans in control, they are slowly losing their stranglehold on Wake County.



**As a side note, none of my other public information requests have ever shown BCCs. But, after receiving many email requests that contained threads of emails that did not have any WCPSS email attached, I wondered if BCCs were involved. Lo and behold, if you specifically ask for BCCs, they will be revealed.