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. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Your future is your past

Have you seen your future?

WCPSS has posted the recommendations for the "bridge" plan for 2013-14. And it provides some very good insight into what is coming down the pike with the BIG reassignment plan in 2014-15. 

If you didn't know already, the new Board majority voted to move back to base assignments - which caused great disruption and upheaval to our children and families for the past decade - rather than continue with the Choice Plan, which promoted proximity and promised stability. And, yes, nodes are back too.

In a quick reading, here are some things we all should be concerned about:

1. Anyone can choose to move back to their base assignment based on their 2011 node assignment. Or can they? In the proposal, it states: "Students participating in the Base Declaration will have a guaranteed seat at their base school for the new school year."

Sounds great! But, wait...there's more. 

 "Unless the school becomes fully capped based on numbers requesting to return to their base school." Huh? That's a guarantee? Some will get their base assignment; some will not. How is that any different than not receiving your first choice, which the anti-Tata's so whined about as a problem with the choice plan?

2. This proposal includes a stay-where-you-start policy. The Dem majority on the Board have touted the implementation of this sort of policy in their push back to base assignments. In his editorial rant, Kevin Hill referred to this new policy as a way to provide stability. Well, what he didn't say is that this Board's version of stability will not, in most cases, come with bus transportation. Read it and weep.

3. Those who participated in the Choice Plan last year are now being told that their promised feeder patterns "...will be honored, to the extent possible." Doesn't sound promising, does it? And, once again, your choice to maintain that feeder pattern may not come with transportation.

Keep in mind -- this is just the beginning. This proposal mostly addresses the opening of a few new schools. Next year, the Board will address what they have coined as "hot spots" across the county - and more than likely use the same guidelines as listed in this proposal.

No bus, no choice, no stability, and no recourse. Welcome back to 2008.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

What goes around, comes around

Back in January of this year, I wrote a blog post about the AdvancED complaint filed by the NAACP. (Read it first - if you haven't already. It will help with the history.)

While I stand by my claim that their complaint was ridiculous, I had to chuckle when I read that the Wake County Taxpayers Association (WCTA) has filed a complaint against the new Board majority. Now, I don't find it funny as it relates to our school system (although, accreditation is just a public perception thing, if you ask me), but it is extremely ironic. Or is this Karma?

The Democrats of Wake County - namely Great Schools in Wake - have taught others how to fight dirty and now their tactics are being used against them.

But, the WCTA complaint against the new Board is no joke. Unlike the NAACP, WCTA has their facts (and act) together. Each complaint listed is supported by documentation - whether a media article or a WCPSS document or email. They lay out a concise trail of breadcrumbs for AdvancEd on some serious issues of "...poor governance, inept and irresponsible leadership and lack of transparency and direction", as the complaint states. And this is before the 5-4 partisan vote to fire Supt. Tata!

So, where is the outrage over this? After the NAACP filed their complaint, Yevonne Brannon and her GSIW fringe group were shouting from the rooftops. In October 2010, Brannon and Patty Williams issued the following statement:

“By acting with impunity in moving forward with a massive student reassignment plan,
the Board majority has caused the public to lose confidence in and question their ability
to govern responsibly. Even citizens who voted for majority members are saying, ‘This is not what I voted for.’”

Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Here's what Brannon said in January 2011:

“This majority repeatedly claims to care about the wellbeing of students, yet, when the going gets tough, they put their own self-interests ahead of those of our children. Once again, they are rushing to judgment without regard for how their decisions will impact the reputation of our award-winning school system.”

Wow. Are Brannon's words coming back to haunt her?

After witnessing the haphazard leadership and partisan actions and decisions of this Board majority, her statement is quite prophetic. And yet GSIW remains silent. And we're to believe that it's not about politics? Yeah, right.

In the last monitoring report from AdvancED, the only praise given was to Superintendent Tata. The AdvancED team acknowledged Tata's leadership and commitment:

"...but the Board has begun moving in the right direction with the Superintendent being a stabilizing force."

"A common theme during interviews was the significance of the Superintendents’ influence on the direction of the system in providing governance and leadership focused on student learning and system effectiveness. Described as a “calmer” Board, stakeholders attributed this change unequivocally to the Superintendent’s leadership."

So, how is it that the only person in WCPSS leadership who was recognized by AdvancED - a firm that is "dedicated to advancing excellence in education"- was summarily fired? 

The Board was scheduled to submit a progress report to AdvancED by November 1st even prior to the new WCTA complaint. Now, they have the onus of responding to the new complaint as well. 

Considering Supt. Tata was fired without cause with a 5-4 vote, you must wonder if AdvancED will believe the continued lie from the Board majority - that his firing was not political and not personal?

Let's hope not.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Power, Corruption & Lies

C'mon... Do we really believe that Board members Susan Evans, Christine Kushner & Jim Martin aren't secretly involved with the partisan and very hateful group, Great Schools in Wake? You'd be foolish to believe otherwise. 

Back in May, I wrote this blog post. Members of GSIW were somehow completely aware of what was going to happen during the Board meeting in June the following month. How?  Because they were orchestrating it thru their members - Evans, Kushner & Martin. 

GSIW "suggested" in their email for a push to create a directive for a new student assignment plan. Voila!...the Board majority had a new directive prepared and ready to approve for the June meeting. Coincidence? I think not. 

(BTW -- here's a photo of GSIW and their "diverse" group. Notice in the article that Board member Susan Evans is referred to as a "coalition leader" - even though she continues to deny involvement with this group. Evans also placed a GSIW leader to chair her Board Advisory Committee. Does she really think we're that stupid or is she just that arrogant?)

The WakeEd blog had a post recently about Yevonne Brannon, the leader of GSIW, containing another email sent to her group. Her email blathers on and on with praise for her friends/members on the School Board yet berates Supt. Tata at every opportunity. Since then, this small group of crazy women (honestly, have you heard them before?) have organized their comments at every School Board meeting to bash and blame Tata.

So, is it really surprising to anyone that Chair Hill and Vice-Chair Sutton have now scheduled a closed session meeting to discuss "personnel matters" on Monday? 

Are they firing Tata? 

Yevonne and her GSIW biddies have ordered it -- therefore, Evans, Kushner & Martin must make it so. That's how the School Board rolls these days.

Add to this all the push-pull of student assignment (which GSIW is intimately involved with too) and you, as a parent in Wake County, are losing every chance of being heard. 

Your School Board is being controlled by a small fringe group who don't have to follow rules or ethics policies. They just make a demand -- and the Democrats on the Board respond.

The days of parents being recognized in WCPSS are slowly slipping away. Choice is being shown the door and stability will soon be a memory. To put a nail in the coffin, Board member Susan Evans, has already stated:
"...we have the opportunity through assignment to assign kids wherever we feel like is in their best interests."
Apparently, that's what GSIW wants -- because that's certainly not what the parents of Wake County have been fighting for over the years.

Read more here:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Out of focus

Let me start out by saying that I believe assignment - and how students are assigned - should have nothing to do with achievement. For decades, the solution to addressing student achievement in WCPSS was always to fall back on student assignment. If a school wasn't performing, students were moved to other schools to make the school "healthy" once again. That solution didn't actually do anything positive to the education of those who were moved - you simply can't make a child smarter or perform better just by reassigning them. But, it made some people feel good. Really good. It was a cheap, feel-good way to perpetuate the awards for diversity and the perception of "no bad schools". It also, however, created much unnecessary instability, did nothing to improve achievement and ticked off many parents royally.

WCPSS was on its way to untangling assignment from achievement with the new Choice Assignment Plan. All parents were given choice - with a mix of proximity, calendar, and magnets. All families were promised stability at every school level and a predictable future as their children aged up. Plain and simple - this plan provided what parents wanted for their children and families -- and had little to do with raising achievement.

As a result of this new focus, Supt. Tata and his staff have worked to understand the educational needs of different schools and students and have implemented academic solutions to address achievement -- and we are now seeing very successful results. Just last week, the NC Department of Public Instruction released performance data for Wake County schools -- and the results are incredible. There have been gains across the district - at many schools and subgroups. (You can look up your school here.)

So, rather than fret over the demographics of a school and how to create and maintain a utopian mixture of students, it's obvious that our focus should remain on how each school population could be served better academically. We've seen the success - and it could be only the beginning.

Instead, however, the School Board has thumbed their noses at parents and chose to direct staff to link assignment with achievement once again. They didn't even wait to see how many more successes could be achieved. The new Choice Assignment Plan has been nixed (without even getting a chance) and we're moving back to "healthy" schools, set aside seats for certain types of student, limited choice and quotas for every school.

Back to a system that believes assignment and "diversity" will magically increase achievement. In reality, it will only serve to make the Democratic Board members feel good about themselves. After all, that's all it's done in the past.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

And now for something really scary...

As I talked about in my last post, the WCPSS Board majority is raising the dead.

Yes, the horrors of nodes, multi-year reassignment plans and assignment quotas are on the verge of a unwanted return.

And that's not even the scary part.

A parent from Kevin Hill's district wrote to him with concerns about changing the new Choice Assignment plan. In his reply, Mr. Hill stated: 

"I agree with the following: 'Parent choice' proceeds from the belief that the purpose of education is to provide individual students with an education. In fact, educating the individual is but a means to the true end of education, which is to create a viable social order to which individuals contribute and by which they are sustained. 'Family choice' is, therefore, basically selfish and anti-social in that it focuses on the 'wants' of a single family rather than the 'needs' of society."

Say WHAT?!

Kevin Hill, the chairman of the Wake County Board of EDUCATION, does not believe that the purpose of education is to provide individual students with an education?!

Hill believes your children should be used "to create a viable social order"?


Yeah, read that again...and again...until it really sinks in. 

It's hard to believe Hill actually admits that he doesn't think education is about educating at all. But, after years of pretending otherwise, he did. 

So, the jig's up.

It is now clear that this new Board majority isn't out to help you or your children. So, you can quit emailing them about not getting your 1st choice, or not liking your feeder pattern, or your disgust over their sneaky midnight vote to revive the old assignment plan. It does not matter.

What matters to them is what part you and your children will play in their socially-engineered agenda.  To them, you, your family and your children are just pieces of their societal puzzle.

And we should be very scared.

Read more here:

Friday, June 22, 2012

Were you even awake?

Well, Wake County, here's what you elected.

The School Board waited until 12:53 A.M. (yes, A.M.) to rush through a vote -- without public input -- that will drastically alter the new choice assignment plan. 

You know, the plan that our superintendent and staff have worked on for the past 2 years, the plan where everyone has already made their choices for next year, the plan that gave our families choice and our children stability, the plan that hasn't even been fully implemented yet. 

And guess what? They have directed staff to go back to a multi-year, node-driven assignment plan that incorporates socioeconomic and academic achievement goals. 

Gosh, that sounds awfully familiar. 

During the meeting on Tuesday (and into Wednesday) and just before voting on the directive that will probably reassign your child, School Board member Susan Evans felt it was important to remind everyone who she is and what she thinks of us -- in her usual arrogant and condescending fashion.

"While I acknowledge that, first of all, the Raleigh Chamber and the Wake Ed Partnership are valuable partners in our community, and I respect the input of all citizens, at these board meetings on the blogs, wherever they choose to give their input, I just wanted to remind Ms. Prickett and the board that we are the elected officials charged with making these important decisions on behalf of the school system."

In other words, everyone can go pound sand.

Wake Education Partnership called this vote a "...late-night, partisan debate..." with the "...abscence of a collaborative approach."

The Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce also issued a statement to the School Board warning them -- and reminding them of the past: 

"Based on our research we believe that an address based approach advocated in the directive will require mandatory assignment to fill schools." "With a sizeable majority of parents satisfied with the current choice plan we anticipate a change will create disruption among a new group of stakeholders."

Disruption is putting it mildly.

Read more here:

Read more here:

So, where do we stand now? That's a good question. Some are claiming this was merely a directive; others are calling this the creation of a new plan for 2013-14. Regardless of what this turns out to be (and, let's be honest -- this really is a return to the days of yearly reassignments), you should be awake and be concerned.

This is just another step in the wrong direction.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

That's what friends are for

Now wait just a minute.

Board member Jim Martin said what?

Martin said the provost of N.C. State asked him to help out.

For May 29th's policy committee meeting, Martin, the chair of that committee, added an agenda item to discuss "Student Assignment for Extended Family Professional Leave". And then, at the meeting, proceeded to talk about how to create a policy specifically to serve his colleagues at NCSU.

Is this really a pressing issue? Well, for Mr. Martin, a professor at NCSU, it is. After all, this is his employer we're talking about.

I questioned Mr. Martin about the unethical nature of creating a policy to serve his friends and co-workers at the request of his boss. His response, in a nutshell, was..."The Provost is not my boss."

Martin goes on to say in his email..."You must realize that NCSU is one of the large employers of Wake County. It is for that reason that we should pay attention to matters impacting that employer. Careful attention should be paid to policies that impact any of the County's major employers."

He isn't concerned with, as he called them during the committee meeting.."the lowest common denominator". In Martin-speak, that would be those people who aren't as fortunate to have professional opportunities but have to leave the system for a short period for other reasons.

According to Mr. Hui on the WakeED blog.."[Martin contends]...that it's not equitable to say that because famlies of transient students have less resources than professionals that it's a reason not to go ahead with a leave policy."

So, let's boil it down....

Martin isn't concerned about you and me. He isn't concerned about those with less opportunities and less resources. He only wants to serve those he works with, those that attend his son's school and those who are just like him.

So, how do you feel about that? If you work for a major employer...let's say...NSCU, for example... Mr. Martin will pay careful attention to you and your children. He'll work to create policies to help you to ensure you're happy.

If you don't, well, you know...

You're an afterthought. After MYR and years of reassignment, it's an attitude those of us in Apex are familiar with.

It appears that attitude is making a comeback.