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Ratty (and empty) pink backpacks

Be sure to check out this morning’s edition of At the schoolhouse door from Chris Hill at the NC Justice Center’s Education and Law Project in which he uses the recent scandal surrounding a Wake County school board member as a starting point to discuss an even more troubling education scandal.

“While the story about Goldman is salacious, nothing is more scandalous than what North Carolina students face after its last rounds of state budget cuts.” 

Click here to read the entire post..

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More incremental progress on the Wake school board (and a troubling harbinger)

Notwithstanding the scandal swirling around a couple of its board members, it appears that the Wake County school board made some incremental and welcome progress last night in its ongoing effort to bring a reasoned, balanced and sustainable approach to the ultra-challenging subject of school assignments. The board took action to return to an adjusted version of its 2011-12 assignment plan in order to minimize the amount of disruption that will occur for students, families and schools as it works toward a comprehensive plan for the 2014-15 school year.

Good for the board.

Meanwhile, however, at least one school board member continued to publicly champion the flawed and divisive approach advanced by the right-wing majority ousted in the 2011 election.  Read more

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Education advocates explain why Tata was always a bad fit

In case you missed them, a couple of local education policy experts had some insightful takes on the departure of fired Wake schools chief, Anthony Tata in recent days. 

First, Chris Hill, Director of the Education and Law Project at the North Carolina Justice Center explained how Tata represents a problematic trend in modern education in the most recent edition of his project’s newsletter At the Schoolhouse Door. 

“The troubling thing about Gen. Tata is that his background was not in education Read more

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Tata hubbub should not impact school funding

WRAL.com reported last evening that the controversy swirling around the dismissal of former Wake schools superintendent Anthony Tata might somehow have an impact on school funding.

The story quoted conservative Wake County Commissioner Paul Coble as indicating that the move could interfere with the commissioners approving a needed bond referendum for next year. Coble called the dismissal “a slap in the face.”

Let’s hope Coble isn’t truly serious. While high emotions during such a tumultuous week are perhaps understandable, the notion that conservative county commissioners would punish students and teachers for years to come over a personnel disagreement is, by any fair assessment, outrageous.

As the story also noted, the Wake schools continue to grow at a rapid pace with thousands of children joining the system every year. Let’s hope that adults of all political persuasions put the events of the last few days aside when making decisions about how to handle such a critical challenge. And let’s also hope that Tata, who has supported a new bond, does the honorable thing and counsels Coble and his conservative friends to calm down.

 

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Memo to Wake Board: No more imperial CEO’s please

It’s hard to know what’s more offensive: The fact that the old Wake School Board agreed to pay former Superintendent Anthony Tata $250,000 per year in the first place or the fact that the man accepted that much money and is now apparently accepting a severance payment of the same amount.

One of the biggest scams in modern America is, what Nobel Prize-winning economist Dr. Paul Krugman accurately describes as, “the rise of the imperial CEO.” Over the last few decades, Americans have been snookered into believing that supposedly brilliant chief executives are somehow worth the princely sums they demand and receive.

This  is, in a word, baloney. Read more