The future of Wake County schools?

A report from the Charlotte Observer finds high-poverty schools are less likely to have teachers who have earned National Board Certification, an intensive process that takes about two years to complete and requires that teachers prove they have effective classroom skills. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools tries to entice teachers to their “highest-need schools” with financial incentives and good working conditions, but so far these efforts have had mixed results.

One sentence in the article jumped out at me: “Five elementary schools, with a total of 3,740 students and poverty levels ranging from 56 percent to 94 percent, have no certified teachers.”

94 percent of students in poverty?! In one school?!

I guess that’s the direction we’re heading in Wake County. The new “Gang of Five” running the Wake Co. Board of Education has already voted – in the sneakiest fashion possible – to end mandatory year-round schools, an important tool used to increase economic diversity in schools.

So you have to wonder, do the Gang of Five have a plan for ensuring that the new high-poverty schools they’re working to create will have the high-quality teachers and additional resources they will need? No, of course not. Those schools and the kids who will attend them, it would appear, are not their concern.


  1. James

    January 11, 2010 at 8:40 am

    I sure hope the left in Wake County is lawyerin’ up to challenge the school board’s actions. Sometimes good old-fashioned litigation is the only way to enforce the law and compel fairness.

    This is one of those many times I wish I were an attorney.

  2. Diane Morris

    January 11, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Fear not, James. The NAACP is already on it. Rev. Barber, pres of the NC NAACP, said at a rally on Sunday that the organization will go to court to prevent resegregation.

  3. Joe Ciulla

    January 11, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    In a 2006 N&O survey completed around the time the bond was passed, 52% of African American respondents said they did not want YR schools. After the previous board forged ahead with MYR, the majority of the opt outs (thanks to WakeCARES) were ED and AA. PPP’s October poll showed that a majority of AA parents do not want their child bused for diversity reasons. And, consider that many of the YR schools are well outside the beltline.

    Interesting how so many people are fighting to ensure that WCPSS will jam the YR schedule down the throats of AA/ED families who do not want it.

  4. gregflynn

    January 11, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    The WRAL/N&O the poll of 600 likely voters in October 2006 was about support or opposition to the bond and the reasons for those positions.

    It was not about overall support for YR schools so I don’t know where that 52% number comes from unless a crosstab is taken out of context. There is no record of such a claim from the period even among MYR opponents.

    In that poll only 35% of respondents supported the bond while 54% of respondents opposed the bond, mostly because they didn’t want increased taxes to pay for it. 53% overall said to convert as many schools as possible to to avoid paying taxes. 26% opposed the bond because they opposed MYR. 47% of voters with children said they would accept MYR to avoid taxes.

    The margin of error for the poll was +/-4% while the election result was actually 53% support for the bond, 47% opposed.

  5. gregflynn

    January 11, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    PPP’s October poll did not show that a majority of AA parents did not want their child bused for divesity reasons. “46% of African Americans were opposed to it [diversity policy] with only 39% supportive. 46% is not a majority.

  6. Joe Ciulla

    January 11, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Guess it depends how you look at the data. In the private sector where I come from, a “neutral” response is considered as “not in favor.”

    And then there are all those opt-outs.

    Greg, please don’t assume that I fit into the stereotype that has been created depicting neighborhood schools supporters as out to “protect” their own kids. My kids are in High School and will be unaffected by any major policy changes the board makes. Also, please don’t apply the stereotype that because I support neighborhood schools I must be a devout Republican. I am (proudly) Unaffiliated, and have worked on several local Democratic campaigns, and some Republican ones too. This is my home and I just want a better school system for ALL.

    I have talked to a lot of people from all walks of life about YR calendars. When YR schools were voluntary/application, they were filled with white and asian non-ED children (look at older data for Morrisville and Turner Creek). WCPSS’s solution was to make these schools Mandatory, and bus minority/ED kids long distances to attend them. Many of those families opted out. So the MYR model seems to inherently conflict with the objective of diversity.

    I’ve looked at the performance data and the YR calendar schools do not have a measurable effect on academic achievement for any subgroup.

  7. Joe Ciulla

    January 11, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    BTW, I’ve also looked at the performance data for magnets. In most cases, minority and ED students do worse in these schools than they do in non-magnets.

  8. gregflynn

    January 11, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    There was a set of poll questions in May 2006 about support for Mandatory and/or Year Round

    I don’t have the crosstabs but this is the overall:

    32% Mandatory for all
    11% Mandatory for some
    28% Optional for all
    22% Opposed to Year-Round
    7% Not sure

    Louise “Save Our Summers” Lee took to combining 28% “Optional for all” with 22% “Opposed to Year-Round” to come up with a misleading metric “Either opposed to YR schools altogether or thought that they should be optional only”. Apparently using the crosstabs the demographic results are the following.

    50% All
    52% Black
    52% Latino
    49% White

    That is not total opposition to Year-Round. Without access to the crosstabs I’d say that no more than 25% of African Americans are opposed to Year-Round.

  9. Joe Ciulla

    January 12, 2010 at 10:21 am

    I still think the survey data shows a lack of support for Mandatory YR, moreso amonth minorities. It would be interesting to see if we get better information from the survey currently being conducted by WCPSS — the responses are by student ID number so they should be able to slice the data any way they want.

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