The bullying Wake County school board majority

The good folks at the Great Schools in Wake Coalition just issued this press release:

Contacts: Yevonne Brannon/Patty Williams FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tel: 919-244-6243/919-696-8059 Email: [email protected]

IS THE BOARD OF EDUCATION ALLOWING BULLYING?

Board Committee Ignores Parents Asking for Stability in Student Assignment

Raleigh, NC—December 1, 2010—In spite of overwhelming parent input calling stability in student assignment the number one priority, Wake County School Board member John Tedesco allowed three community representatives to propose the reassignment of upwards of 6,000 students next year.

The three representatives —appointed by Tedesco, Chair Ron Margiotta, and member Deborah Prickett—came armed with a lengthy list of reassignments, mainly affecting families living in Southeast Raleigh, under the guise of moving students on the basis of their proximity to a school. At least one member’s recommendations would actually move students from East Garner Middle School, their closest school, going against the assignment criteria of stability and proximity approved by the Board majority as part of the new Policy 6200 in May 2010.

‘Bullying involves an imbalance of power or strength, and that’s just what continues to happen in Wake County’s student assignment,’ said Yevonne Brannon, Chair, Great Schools in Wake Coalition. ‘Low-income children, those whose families have little sway or influence over this Board, are losing out, and in this case, being reassigned without any parent input.’

Other parent priorities voiced at four November community engagement meetings to help plan for the final year of a three year assignment plan included: avoiding the creation of high poverty schools; ensuring schools are not severely under-enrolled; creating feeder patterns for student stability; and reducing reassignments to encourage stability in student assignment. Assignment stability also was a major campaign plank of the four Board of Education members elected in 2009, including Mr. Tedesco, Ms. Prickett, and members Debra Goldman and Chris Malone.

‘The Board majority continues to operate under a mantra of ‘divide, demonize, and demoralize,” said Brannon. ‘The three-year assignment plan was implemented to provide greater stability in assignment and allow the Board of Education to focus on improving student achievement. Instead, they are politicizing student assignment at the expense of the children they were elected to serve. We need a Board that will unite our citizens, focus on student needs and parental input—and not simply bully the community with misbegotten ideas that serve a political agenda.’

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