Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy Holidays! You don't matter.

WCPSS just responded in writing to a complaint filed with AdvancED - the organization that accredits our high schools. In the original complaint, the Wake County Taxpayers' Association asserted that the liberal group Great Schools in Wake (GSIW) is basically pulling the strings on the School Board. Considering 3 of our current Board members are members of GSIW, it's not really a hard puzzle to put together.

GSIW wanted to end the choice plan. Done.  
GSIW wanted to go back to base assignments. Done.
GSIW hated Tata and wanted him fired. Done.
GSIW wants diversity quotas in assignment. Coming in the 2014-15 assignment plan. 

Not surprisingly, WCPSS claims in their response that the Choice plan was not dropped due to "extreme influence" from GSIW but due to the "...many complaints they received from constituents...". That's quite an ironic statement since the overwhelming majority of people who spoke out against the Choice plan wanted MORE choice and better defined neighborhood schools. Instead, the Dems on the school board voted to end choice and move backwards for a "do over" of past assignment plans. 

So, did the Democrats on the School Board really vote to drop the Choice plan because people complained? C'mon. Parents complained for years under the old assignment plan about reassignment, lack of stability, odious options and mandatory year-round to no avail. Maybe it's who you are - not what you're complaining about. Or maybe the Democrats on the School Board don't give a damn about what parents want - just what they (and GSIW) want.

Take, for instance, a reply from Kevin Hill - who was the Board Chair that led the charge to fire Supt. Tata without cause. In an email reply to a constituent in regards to Tata's firing, Hill said:

"My main and overarching concern is the institutional culture of the WCPSS.. I have 30+ years being part of that culture and I cannot let it erode further."

Protecting the institutional culture of WCPSS? I thought Hill was elected to serve the people of Wake County -- to listen to the people; to represent the people - not the school system.

Add this to Hill's email in which he calls parents selfish and arrogant, and it's very clear that you don't matter - you never did and you never will. Hill's head is buried in 30+ years of a culture that treats parents like the enemy and our children as pawns in a science experiment gone wrong. And he is making policy decisions to protect that culture - with complete disregard for what parents want. That makes GSIW very, very happy.

But let's not stop there.  

Back in April 2012, Jim Martin sent an email to all Board members discussing the parent survey about the Choice plan. (Yes, there was supposed to be a survey.) Once again, in true fashion, Kevin Hill replied - but only to Martin:

To: James Martin/Superintendent/WCPSS@Staff
From: Kevin Hill/Superintendent/WCPSS
Date: 04/30/2012 03:08PM

Subject: Re: Assignment Plan Survey


I do not believe we need to survey parents at this time . . . . We can talk.

Kevin L. Hill, Chairman
Wake County Board of Education
District 3
Vmail: 919.850.8867
Fax: 919.841.4377 
"We can talk" for Kevin Hill is code for "Quit sending me stuff in writing. Let's just deal with this privately." Martin concurred and Hill sent back this warning in his reply:

From: "Kevin Hill" <>
To: "James Martin" <>
Date: 5/1/2012 8:36:47 AM
Subject: Re: Assignment Plan Survey

At this point, I believe the oft repeated phrase "Just say no," would be appropriate. We will waste money and the 95% (?) who did not participate will say they love the plan. The survey would simply become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Kevin L. Hill, Chairman
Wake County Board of Education
District 3
Vmail: 919.850.8867
Fax: 919.841.4377

The Board Chair was so convinced that parents would say "they love the plan" that he refused to survey them. That's right. He refused to ask parents of Wake County about the Choice plan because he already knew the answer - and he didn't like it.

Now, go back to the beginning of this post - where the Board majority tries to convince the public that the Choice plan was dropped due to complaints from parents and GSIW has no influence on their decision. It's getting harder to believe, isn't it?

Bottom line - the Democrats on the School Board believe your opinion about choice, stability and the school assignment for your child is irrelevant

But, you've already learned that. I hope.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

You reap what you sow.

Lies?  Check.
Name-calling?  Check.
Threats?  Check.

And now you can add assault to the list.

Sadly, I'm talking about our School Board.

At last week's public hearing, School Board rep Susan Evans thought she had been deputized to be in charge. After the meeting had finished, parents hung around, very dismayed by the lack of response to their concerns, and began yelling out questions.

School Board rep Keith Sutton - who was running the meeting because our real Chair, Kevin Hill, apparently couldn't be bothered to attend - chose to answer these questions, sorta. Using the microphone from the stage, he deferred and deflected -- rather than act like a normal person and walk down to speak with parents personally. After all, the formal hearing was over.

(On a side note, Chair Hill doesn't like parents - at all - and believes our demands are selfish so maybe it's best he wasn't there. Read this blog post for a little insight to his hatred.)

Anyway -- Sutton did nothing to control the situation or to appease the masses and, as such, Susan Evans saw her opportunity

As Evans doesn't have an ounce of compassion nor any understanding of the very personal emotion of watching your children get forcibly reassigned (Evans' children had long-term stable assignments in the magnet system), she chose to argue with the parents in the crowd and explain how wrong they were. She placed the blame of their impending reassignment on staff and the student assignment team - even though this directive from the Board - which Evans supported - is the only reason parents are facing reassignment.

During this back and forth, as he certainly can't be outdone, Jim Martin chimed in with some mindless "I promise to listen" drivel. Surprisingly, he didn't mention he has a PhD.

School Board rep Deborah Prickett then took her turn with the microphone - asking parents about their level of content with the old Choice Plan. As the families in the audience were facing reassignment as a direct result of the Democrat's decision to abandon the Choice Plan, it was a very fair and appropriate question. 

Not according to Susan Evans.

Evans proceeded to manhandle Prickett, wrestled the microphone out of her hand mid-sentence, and declared:

"This is not appropriate. This is not the purpose of the meeting."

I'm pretty sure it was very appropriate and very relevant to the meeting. Those parents in the audience took time to express their concerns about the education of their children and the impact of reassignment on their family yet Evans didn't think talking about it was appropriate?

Evans - who protested arm in arm with the NAACP and GSIW prior to her election - obviously has different definitions of what is appropriate - depending on who you are.

Evans can be seen in this video disrupting a public School Board meeting in 2010. (Watch for the green shirt/black sweater.) She is clapping in the background after her friends crossed School Board security lines, resulting in their arrests.

That sort of behavior is apparently appropriate in the Book of Ethics by Susan Evans. But not speaking to parents at a public hearing?

Now, it's one thing to urge on your friends in their acts of civil disobedience but it is something completely different when you physically put your hands on someone. (Sounds like a Kindergarten speech.)

You would hope this would be common sense to an adult. Apparently not. 

Not only did Evans display childish and bullying behavior in her physical attack on Deborah Prickett, she managed to violate Board Policy about Harassment/Bullying. 

But, does anyone care? What does Supt. Gainey have to say about the Board's behavior? What about Chair Hill? Will he continue to ignore the abhorrent behavior or will complaints be filed against Evans?

Evans' actions have clearly created a very hostile work environment for her fellow Board members. (What's next? A punch in the gut? Keith Sutton - possibly our next Board Chair - has already threatened to kick everyone's asses.) Evans, however, has also managed to create a fear among her constituents about being in disagreement while in her presence - an obviously dangerous combination.

So, do we, as parents and taxpayers, just continue to sit back and watch? If we continue to ignore the actions and decisions of this School Board, we will reap what we sow. 

You and your family just might be next.