Congressman Brad Miller, who stepped aside last week for David Price, is in the thick of the speculation about replacing Bev Perdue on the Democratic ticket.
Today, Miller said he's undecided about running in the primary for governor. But:
“I had not given the first thought to running for governor before Thursday. Shortly after Governor Perdue’s announcement, I began receiving unsolicited encouragement to run.
I have worked on national issues for the last nine years, but I spent eight years in the legislature and I care a lot about state issues.
In addition to the calls and e-mails I’ve received without asking, I’ve made a few calls to people who have supported me in the past. I am encouraged that if I do decide to run, I would begin with a credible base and would be able to put together a campaign quickly.”
So, reading my mail and after a couple of conversations while I was moving around today:
Lt. Walter Dalton is in the race for the Democratic nomination for governor. Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx is looking it over. Erskine Bowles is making calls, testing the waters. A progressive group is pushing hard for Brad Miller, who didn't rule it out this morning. (And why would he — rule it out, I mean?) State Treasurer Janet Cowell issued a statement that she plans for run for re-election as treasurer and won't be in the gubernatorial field.
Heard that former State Rep. Cal Cunningham is looking at another run for Lit. Gov. He lost a primary for U.S. Senatre in 2010 to Elaine Marshall. [Corrected to put Cunningham in the correct prior primary campaign instead of the one my faulty memory had him in.] I expect we'll see a lot of people looking at the Lt. Gov. race — Deborah Ross, Jennifer Weiss, Grier Martin, other redistricted into legislative seats with each other and/or to Republican-heavy districts they can't win. Should be wide open.
If you're thinking of running for governor, my advice: Announce first, figure out how later. The cell towers are burning up.
This is from Walter Dalton an hour ago:
“I believe that our future economy and better jobs depend on our historic commitment to education. After all, education is in North Carolina’s DNA — it's what sets us apart and it's what will determine our future. However, you can’t make progress if you are pointed in the wrong direction. Pat McCrory and the Republican leadership are facing the wrong way by cutting teachers, reducing scholarships and abandoning economic development. They are doing lasting damage to our state. I’ve dedicated my career to improving education at all levels and making North Carolina a great place to do business.
“Today, I'm announcing that I am running for Governor. Lucille and I love this state and we understand tough political races. I am the only candidate who has run and won statewide and I look forward to waging an aggressive campaign. Elections are about choices. As a state we must decide the direction in which we will turn. With this campaign, I choose to look ahead to a brighter future. I choose progress. I choose a future where public education is the foundation of our economy.”
[Update: Might as well throw in PPP's analysis of possible other Democratic candidates. Standing here listening to WRAL go through the list, they missed Erskine Bowles — he's rich and raising money is going to be a problem for anyone who has to start today from square one. And Bowles is only a two-time loser in NC, maybe the third time's the charm. I'll copy it below Perdue's statement.]
Here is Perdue's statement:
Like the rest of the nation, North Carolina has been facing difficult economic times — demanding many difficult decisions. I have had to make painful budget cuts in important areas of government. But I believe I have approached this challenge in a way that is consistent with my values and the values that have made our state a wonderful place to live and raise a family. I have spent my tenure in office - and, in fact, my adult lifetime - fighting for things that I care deeply about. And as anyone who knows me will tell you, I do not back down from tough fights.
The thing I care about most right now is making sure that our schools and schoolchildren do not continue to be the victims of shortsighted legislative actions and severe budget cuts inflicted by a legislative majority with the wrong priorities. Therefore, I am announcing today that I have decided not to seek re-election. I hope this decision will open the door to an honest and bipartisan effort to help our schools.
To those of you who have supported me throughout my years of public service, I will always be grateful for the confidence you have placed in me. In my remaining months in office, I look forward to continuing to fight for the priorities we share, by putting North Carolinians back to work and investing in our children's future. To my children and grandchildren, and especially to my husband Bob, thank you for always being there for me - especially as I've weighed this difficult decision.
Thank you all, and God bless North Carolina.
From Tom Jensen at Public Policy Polling, an analysis of the options:
The biggest lesson of Bev Perdue's single term as Governor might be the importance of making a good first impression. The final time we found Perdue with a positive approval rating was in April of 2009 at 41/40, only 3 months after she took office. By July, after a disastrous legislative session where she appeared weak and indecisive, her approval rating was 25% with 55% of voters disapproving of her. She doomed her chances at reelection in those three months between April and July of 2009. She's been one of the most unpopular Governors in the country ever since then.
Perdue tried too hard to please all sides during that critical early period of her tenure and as a result just antagonized everybody. That July 2009 poll found that even Democrats disapproved of her, 38/40, and her numbers with independents (20/58) and Republicans (9/73) were abysmal.
Perdue became a better Governor after that and by the end of 2011 her net approval rating had improved 19 points from the summer of 2009 to a 37/48 spread. Her strong efforts in fighting Republican attempts to cut funding to education caused significant upticks in her support from Democrats (58/28) and independents (35/45). But it was too little too late.
Perdue trailed Pat McCrory by increasing margins of 9, 10, and 11 points over the last three months of our polling. Her chances at reelection were close to nil, and the party's chances at keeping the Governor's office are better without her than they were with her.
Make no mistake though- this is not a toss up race. Pat McCrory will start out as the favorite pretty much no matter who ends up running on the Democratic side. McCrory is an unusually strong candidate- our last statewide poll found 40% of voters holding a favorable opinion of him to 24% with a negative one, very solid numbers in a state that doesn't much like any of its politicians right now.
McCrory has nearly a 2:1 favorability ratio with independents at 37/19, and an unusual amount of crossover popularity with 26% of Democrats seeing him favorably to 37% with a negative opinions. Those numbers will decline as he comes under attack in a statewide campaign, and he's made a significant political error by tying himself closely to a Legislative that has a 16% approval rating. But he starts out extremely formidable.
In October we did a poll testing potential alternative candidates to Perdue:
-Erskine Bowles tied Pat McCrory at 42%. It's important to remember that even though Bowles lost in a 2004 Senate bid, he outran the Kerry/Edwards ticket by 7 points. The political landscape in North Carolina has a changed a lot since 2004 and if you outrun the national ticket by 7 points this year in the state, you win.
-Attorney General Roy Cooper trailed Pat McCrory only 42-39.
-Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton trailed McCrory 46-32.
-State Representative Bill Faison trailed McCrory 45-30.
Those folks all polled better or about as well as Perdue is now. Democrats' chances of holding on are still less than 50%...but they're better than they were with Perdue. We'll have fresh polling soon looking at the Governor's race in the post-Perdue landscape.
This analysis is also available on our website:
[Update: I'm updating this as I post it. The news about Bev Perdue has folks asking Brad Miller about a possible gubernatorial run, and I read that he hasn't ruled it out. In our conversation yesterday, the subject of governor never came up — I would say Brad hadn't heard anything about Perdue; if that's not the case, I'd put my money on him in a poker game.]
Brad Miller is my congressman. I should add, he's also my kind of congressman — the kind who gets his hands dirty in the scuffle over complicated issues, in Miller's case Wall Street and banking issues, and takes the consumer/citizen side even though the big-money interests are warning him that it's not the smart thing to do. So I'm happy with Brad representing me in Washington. Unfortunately, that's not going to be the case after 2012.
Thanks to the Republican redistricting, my part of Raleigh will be represented next year by a Republican, either Paul Coble or George Holding. A Republican, Renee Ellmers, already represents a different (small) part of Raleigh. The redistricting should help Ellmers be re-elected. Thus, the Triangle — Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill — will have two Republicans in Congress next year thanks to GOP map-drawing. (Which is how these things work. When Democrats drew the districts a decade ago, the result was three seats all held by Democrats until Ellmers ousted Bob Etheridge in the 2010 elections.)
Still, the Republicans left us — I say us as in we citizens of the Triangle — with one Democratic seat. It's the new 4th District into which both Miller and Rep. David Price were packed. Until yesterday, when Brad told some of us that he wouldn't be running for re-election (he asked that we not report it until this morning), it looked like Miller and Price would be squaring off in a Democratic primary to see which of them the voters — the Democratic voters — preferred.
I was looking forward to that contest. I was looking forward to Miller and Price describing for us why each would think he'd make the better representative of our interests in Washington. Not that I'd have an actual vote, since I don't live in the new 4th, but if I'd had one, I think I probably would've voted for Miller. But not necessarily. As I say, I looked forward to the debate.
In fact, when Brad's office called to say he wanted to talk about his re-election plans, I assumed he would be running and I jotted down some questions — would he agree to a series of debates? how about a spending limit? how about both sides agreeing to mutual disarmament on negative ads and instead running a campaign we all could be proud of, regardless who won?
Ah, but now it won't happen.
Brad, when he called, conceded that he'd be the underdog in a race against Price, who's been around a lot longer and is better known in the parts of the Triangle (mainly Durham and Orange counties) ceded to a Democrat by the Republican map-makers. He said he struggled with whether to run anyway, but finally didn't look forward to it with any "joy," and without joy, a campaign is just drudgery.
What was also clear to me — reading between the lines — is that the Democratic "establishment," meaning Democrats with the money that Miller and Price would've needed to run their respective campaigns, had made it clear to Brad that, hey, nothing against you (except for that rebellious streak), but we're for David. And we don't want to pay for two primary campaigns.
Then there was Brad's disappointment that, while he was telling the world that he wanted to run but also had the greatest respect for Price and it was a tough decision, etcetera, etcetera, Price acted like the 4th District was "his" district and he was running for re-election regardless ... and — per a leaked poll — he, Price would win against Miller, and Miller should know it.
Miller, in other words, was treating the race like it belonged to the voters to decide which of the two should be their representative. Price was treating the race like it belonged to him. Or so Brad perceived it.
I don't know if that's fair to Price. I did want to hear from David why he thought he'd make a better congressman for us given the situation that exists in Washington. Given, that is, that the Democrats are the minority party in the House and will probably continue to be the minority party for as many years as the 71-year old Price could reasonably expect to be there. Given that the new 4th District is rock-solid Democrat and should produce — or should it? that's really the question — a fighting progressive Democrat with no need to worry about appealing to some fictional political "center" or gee, let's triangulate, let's look for a "Third Way."
And if it produces a fighting progressive, what should that member fight for when it comes to the major issues of our time: corporate and financial globalization, "free" trade agreements, the outsourcing of American jobs to cheaper labor markets around the world, and the dominant role of Big Money in American politics? (The dominant role of Big Money in the World._
A Miller-Price debate could've focused attention on the critical problem for America, which is that the Republicans can't address these issues, for obvious ideological reasons; and the Democrats, who are torn between their desire to stand with the people and their dependance on Wall Street and corporate cash for campaigns, won't.
And we only have two political parties, so unless the Democrats get their s—- together, we're screwed.
Miller, as he tried to keep his options open over the past year, said that if he ran against Price, he hoped the campaign would be about "the soul of the Democratic Party" and how to restore its populism without committing political suicide.
In September, 2008, he told me yesterday, he had to turn to Wikipedia for a working definition of credit default swaps. He was an attentive, hard-working member of the House Financial Services Committee. Even so, he'd never heard the term ... until, that is, trillions of dollars of unsecured credit default swaps and other so-called "collateralized debt obligations" pedaled by Wall Street that turned out to be un-collateralized "toxic assets" damn near sank the U.S. and world economies.
He knew then, if he didn't already know, that the bankers who testified before his House committee weren't a great source of information about banking, nor were the Wall Streeters who ran the Treasury Department for George W. Bush and, since 2009, for Barack Obama.
Since 2008, Miller has emerged as one of the leading progressive voices on these issues in the House. With Rep. Barney Frank's retirement, Miller stood to be THE leading progressive voice. That was his case for wanting to be re-elected. Deep down, he thought it was Price who should be thinking about stepping aside. But Price wasn't thinking that at all.
The question is floating around out there whether Price and Miller made a deal where David would serve one more term and then step down and let Miller run for the seat. (
I would hope not. If Price only plans to run one more time, he absolutely should've stepped aside in favor of the 58-year old Miller, who certainly has more "upside.")
Anyway, It's not true, Miller told me. There is no deal. In fact, Miller said it's unlikely that he'll ever run for Congress again, because even if Price did step aside in two or four years, Miller — if elected — would return to the House as a freshman, with his committee assignments uncertain and no seniority.
And meanwhile, the debate over banking and global capitalism — the issues he cares about — would've moved on without him.
So instead, Miller said, he'll look for ways to be an advocate for citizens' interests from the outside, working with (for?) progressive groups, maybe doing some TV commentary and punditry: Untethered to the grind of congressional duty, Brad could soon be to the progressive side what Newt or Pat Buchanan's been to the conservatives. No, that's a low blow. Nobody should wanna be like Newt.
But there is an opening in the mainstream media for a Democrat who actually knows something about banking issues and stands with the people nonetheless. Somebody not named Robert Rubin, in other words.
Congressman Brad Miller issued a statement this morning in the form of an explanation to supporters: He won't run against Rep. David Price in the new 4th Congressional District. The two Democrats are packed into the 4th as the result of the redistricting plan enacted by the Republican-led General Assembly. Here's Miller's statement; I spoke with him yesterday on background and will add a thought or two to this later this morning:
Because your support has been so important to me, I wanted you to hear from me that I will not seek another term in Congress.
Serving in Congress has been a remarkable opportunity. Thank you.
I knew Republicans in the legislature would dismantle the district that I have represented for the last decade, and they did. The thirteenth district was split six ways. I also knew that they would create one packed Democratic district in the Triangle, so that all the surrounding districts would be Republican, and they did. I knew that both David Price and I would both reside in that district, and we do. And I knew that the district would include the neighborhoods that we have each looked to for our support, and it does.
The new fourth district includes 33 percent of the old fourth and 31 percent of the old thirteenth, the largest piece of my old district.
I told David within a week of the election last year that with Republicans in control of redistricting, we would almost certainly be drawn into the same district. And to be honest, since David has broadly hinted to me and others that he would only serve one more term, I believed that he would retire a term earlier than he intended in the circumstances. That obviously has not happened. David has made it very clear that he intends to run again. I have two choices: run in a primary with David, or not seek another term.
Because David has represented Wake County and I have represented none of Orange or Durham, I would be the underdog in a primary with David. I have begun campaigns in the past as the underdog, and campaigned with great energy, enthusiasm and joy.
There would be no joy in this campaign.
I have spoken to many friends who have supported both David and me in the past. Some would support me and some would support David. But none wanted to see a primary between us.
Although David and I have generally been friends and allies in the past, there are important differences between us. In fact, I think those differences are over what we now understand to be defining issues in American politics. We need debates over those issues in the Democratic Party, including in primaries.
But most of David’s and my mutual supporters shrugged off those differences at the time, if they even knew about them, and quickly forgave whichever one of us with whom they disagreed.
I do not have an agreement with David to step aside now and run in two years when he retires, as has been widely rumored, nor have I tried to strike any deal. The reality is that if I sat out a term and returned to Congress, I would be starting over for most purposes. I would have no assurance of my committee assignments and even if I won assignment to the same committees, I would lose all seniority. Just as important, the debate on the issues that I care about, and on which I am now a leader, would move on. No, I could not simply pick up where I left off.
Also, redistricting in North Carolina has left very few opportunities for talented younger Democrats, of whom there are many in this district. In two years, maybe it should be someone else’s turn.
Finally, voters might not feel bound by a deal between politicians over who gets a congressional seat.
I am proud of the work I’ve done in Congress. What has happened in our economy in the last few years has offended most Americans’ sense of justice, including mine. The financial crisis was not caused by a “perfect storm” of unforeseeable events. The financial crisis was the result of blameworthy conduct, what Franklin Roosevelt called “heedless greed.” The people who were responsible for the crisis, and for the painful recession that followed, have suffered very little. The people who have suffered the most, who have lost their jobs and their homes, were almost entirely blameless.
In the face of the financial crisis, and all that we have learned since then, I have been determined to do all within my power to reform our economy so that we never suffer another financial crisis, and to hold those responsible for the crisis accountable.
There have been some real accomplishments. The predatory mortgage legislation that I first introduced in 2004 was included in the financial reform legislation signed by President Obama in 2010, as was the creation of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
I have introduced other legislation that has yet to become law, and will not this year under a Republican Congress, but that has changed the debate on financial reform. I introduced legislation to allow the judicial modification of mortgages in bankruptcy, to break up the biggest banks, to end some of the conflicts of interest by the biggest banks, to make it easier for consumers to change banks, to provide tough legal requirements for how banks “service” mortgages, and on and on. Those issues will not go away and will be the beginning of a reform agenda for the future.
And I remain hopeful that legislation I introduced to compensate the victims of the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune, The Janey Ensminger Act, will become law this year.
I will continue those fights for the next eleven months, and I hope beyond.
Again, thank you for the chance to serve our nation in Congress.
John Tedesco, Wake school board member, just issued a statement about his possible candidacy for state Schools Superintendent, Republican nomination division. The statement: JT will announce next Thursday — Jan. 26 — whether he's announcing his candidacy. Happy as always to help with his publicity:
Governor Bev Perdue kicked off the 2012 budget debate today — and (unofficially) kicked off her 2012 re-electon campaign — with a call for increased school funding. Specifically, she wants 3/4ths of that temporary 1-cent sales tax for education back temporarily.
(Which, by the way, would yield a tidy $863 million in extra revenues next year, according to the N.C. Budget & Tax Center's Alexandra Sirota.)
The N.C. Council of Churches approves. Here's the council's "Raleigh Report" fresh off the tubes, suggesting that you let the governor and your legislators know where you stand —
Raleigh Report Network—
Governor Perdue earlier today called on the General Assembly to restore three-quarters of a cent of sales tax which the General Assembly allowed to expire last year and to use the money to reduce cuts to education.
In her statement, the Governor noted that “The North Carolina Association of School Administrators pointed out recently that North Carolina has fallen to 49th in the nation in per-pupil funding. The legislature’s budget has hurt education at all levels — from pre-k all the way through higher education — and has led to higher class sizes and the loss of thousands of teacher and teaching assistant positions. And their budget forces even more teacher layoffs next year — we must act to prevent these additional cuts.”
The Covenant with North Carolina’s Children, of which the NC Council of Churches was a founding member, pointed out that “nearly 1,800 educators lost their jobs as a result of last year’s budget. Additionally, funding cuts to NC Pre-K (formerly known as More at Four) have resulted in the loss of over 6,300 pre-kindergarten slots for children.” Students in the state’s universities and community colleges are facing larger classes, fewer course options, higher tuitions, and the prospect of it taking more than four years to complete required courses for their degree.
The North Carolina Council of Churches has long supported a fair tax structure that raises funding necessary for the state to provide crucial services. Nothing the state does is more important for social justice that providing a sound basic education for the state’s children and young people, regardless of their ability to pay, regardless of where they live, and regardless of their varying abilities and disabilities.
We opposed the elimination of this emergency sales tax last year (and also the elimination of the emergency income tax surcharge on the state’s wealthiest citizens, which the Governor is not proposing to add back). The sales tax will be in the Governor’s budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, and we will join with others in advocating for its passage.
For now, you can take two actions:
1) E-mail the Governor and thank her for taking this courageous step to restore needed funding for education. It won’t take you long to do it, and she needs to hear from people of faith who support public education. By phone: 919-733-4240. By e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2) E-mail your state senator and state representative to call on them to support the restoration of the emergency sales tax increase. People across the state have now had a chance to see what the cuts in funding mean to education. We need not to let our students endure even one more school year of larger classes, fewer instructional personnel, and inaccessible programs.
To find contact information for your legislators while they are not in session, go to the General Assembly website, www.ncleg.net, and click on “House” and “Senate”.
It's January 17 and the new student assignment plan — Superintendent Tony Tata's version of controlled-choice — starts today still missing a strong diversity component. In fact, the plan is unchanged from what it was in October, when it was adopted by the old Republican school board majority, which passed it after lopping off the diversity element that Tata floated but didn't actually propose.
Nor is this a new problem. From the get-go two years ago, it's been understood that a controlled-choice plan won't work unless the four "pillars" of stability, proximity, choice and diversity (as measured by achievement) are equally strong. If any of the pillars are weak, controlled-choice guru Michael Alves told us, the plan won't be fair to low-income neighborhoods and kids.
In the plan going forward, the diversity pillar is weak to the point of collapse.
You'll recall that Kevin Hill and Keith Sutton, then in the minority, voted against the Tata plan in October because it lacked a sufficient diversity standard.
Now, after toppling the Republicans in the fall elections, Hill and Sutton are the board chair and vice chair, respectively, installed by a 5-4 pro-diversity majority.
And yet, the new majority — Hill, Sutton, and the three newly elected members, Susan Evans, Christine Kushner and Jim Martin — has taken no action to strengthen the plan since assuming office seven weeks ago.
Looking over my notes from the two work sessions held by the school board on Jan. 3 and Jan. 10, I'm struck by the lack of cohesion among the five pro-diversity members. They're clearly not on the same page. But that's not the problem so much as it is the fact that they don't seem to be making much of an effort to get on the same page — i.e., to reach a consensus among themselves about how to move diversity forward.
The five majority members appear to be split between two different diversity approaches. (More on this below.)
OK, but if they all continue to insist that they get their way, nothing will happen — because there's only five of them, and the four Republicans won't give them a vote for anything.
So, to repeat, the majority must come together.
Complicating things is the Open Meetings Law, which bars the five of them from meeting privately to thrash out a common position. To meet together, the five — because they are a majority — must hold a public session. Or else, one of them must be the leader and engage in shuttle diplomacy with the others.
At their public sessions on Jan. 3 and Jan. 10, the five demonstrated little ability to control their own agenda, allowing the Republican members, especially Debra Goldman, to filibuster them to distraction with all manner of issues other than diversity.
Which is not to blame Ms. Goldman.
Now, the majority is under the gun. The first round of the assignment plan goes from Jan. 17 to Feb. 24. Pro-diversity changes must be made before Feb. 24, or they'll come too late to matter, at least for the 2012-13 school year.
The board has a work session scheduled next Tuesday — time TBA — and two in February on Feb. 7 and Feb. 21. But the Feb. 7 regular meeting is the only official session on tap between now and the end of round-one assignment choices on Feb. 24. That's not to say the board couldn't schedule additional meetings. It is to say that the majority needs to get itself in gear.
The issue the new majority has thus far not resolved is what to do about the "structurally displaced" kids (Tata's term) from low-income neighborhoods in Southeast Raleigh. They're displaced by the fact that half or more of the seats in SE Raleigh's magnet schools are reserved for magnet students coming from other, more affluent places. To maintain diverse student bodies in the magnets, therefore, about half of SE Raleigh's kids go to school elsewhere in the county — and by doing so, they may augment diversity in their "elsewhere" schools.
Which begs the question, where exactly is "elsewhere" for the displaced students?
If they end up in the same handful of so-called rim schools, the schools closest to Southeast Raleigh that aren't magnets, the result will be a disproportionate number of low-income students in those schools; then, if the history of other school systems with "good" and "bad" schools is any guide, the rim schools will be deemed "bad" (i.e., high-poverty) schools — and the downward spiral of abandonment via controlled-choice will be underway.
The issue centers on 750-800 Southeast Raleigh kindergarten students who must be displaced. That's because:
1) Under the Tata plan, all other students are "grandfathered" in their current schools or in designated feeder-pattern schools unless they want to change; kindergarteners, though, don't have a current school;
2) Under the plan, kindergarten is the nearest thing to destiny. Once in kindergarten, a student is assured of never being reassigned to a different elementary school and also assured that, from their elementary school, they'll go to a designated middle school and high school unless they apply — via controlled-choice — to go somewhere else. (Or, at least, that's the promise of the Tata plan. Whether it will hold together over the years is a very good question.)
To avoid having all 800 Southeast Raleigh kindergarteners land in the same handful of rim schools, two different approaches have been offered:
1) The straightforward one is to establish set-aside seats in other, so-called Regional Choice schools that aren't close to Southeast Raleigh and do have high achievement levels. This is Tata's plan, and it seems to be the approach Hill and Sutton favor.
2) The less direct method is to change the priority ranking system under the choice plan so the displaced Southeast Raleigh students have a better chance of being accepted into a Regional Choice or other desirable school when they apply. Kushner, Evans and possibly Martin seem to be headed this way.
About the latter option:
Under the choice plan as it stands — the Republican plan, in other words — if a school has more applicants than seats available, first preference goes to grandfathered students, second to siblings of current students, and third to students who live closest to the school. Displaced Southeast Raleigh kids are at the bottom of the barrel.
In public comment at the Jan. 10 meeting, Sanderson High School parent Anne Sherron, a diversity proponent, suggested thinking of displaced students the same way you'd want an airline to think about you, the displaced passenger. If you were bumped off one flight because it was overbooked, Sherron said, you'd certainly expect to be given top priority on the next flight — not put at the bottom of the list and bumped again.
It's only fair, Sherron said, that the displaced ("bumped") students go to the top of the list of applicants for scarce seats in good schools.
Tata, though, recommended the set-aside approach, mainly because — as his assignment task force chief James Overman said — designating a specific number of seats (say, up to 15 percent of available seats) in each of several schools would preclude the possibility that a lot of displaced kids would apply and get into the same one or two schools. With preference and with no controls, Overman said, low-income students could overwhelm a school.
it seemed to me the two approaches could be married — with displaced students getting top priority up to a 15 percent limit. The combination wouldn't differ much from a 15 percent set-aside approach, but it could read differently to a potential applicant to be given priority in an assignment system ... rather than handed a set-aside seat.
Whatever the actual difference, Republican board member John Tedesco is taking every opportunity to call any set-aside approach a "quota system," a racially loaded term well-known in the South. Interestingly, majority member Jim Martin says he agrees with Tedesco that set-asides are too "quota-like." But what Martin would do instead is unclear. (And to adopt anything else would require that the majority tangle with Tata, a formidable task unless they're united.)
On Jan. 10, the board scheduled four hours for its work session, with most of it supposed to be devoted to the assignment plan. But a good half of the four-hour window was eaten up instead by Debra Goldman, who belabored the subject of a private meeting the three new members (and Hill) had with consultant Alves as part of their orientation; questioned whether the majority should be in touch with each by email; objected to having the chair and vice chair meet in "leadership meetings" with the chair and vice chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners; and just generally went on about tangential issues. If she was trying to gum them up, she succeeded beautifully.
Finally, when the student assignment plan did come around on the agenda, much of the remaining time went by in a fruitless discussion of whether the Jan. 17 start date could or should be pushed back. Result: It wasn't.
The clock was ticking toward zero before diversity — which unbelievably came last on the list of student assignment topics for discussion — was even addressed. Which meant, of course, that the topic was rushed and disjointed.
Kushner had suggested the previous week that displaced kids be moved ahead of proximate kids in the choice priority system. This prompted objections from Goldman and Tedesco about kids not getting into their nearby neighborhood school. So Evans, as a compromise, proposed putting the displaced students and the proximate students on an equal footing, with a lottery to decide if there weren't enough seats for both.
Evans also lamented that this issue wasn't taken up with some urgency as soon as the board majority was seated in December. Check-mark for that.
Martin started spitballing ideas about giving extra resources to schools for successfully recruiting displaced students, which he said could be a "win-win" approach but which won no response at all from anybody.
Hill and Sutton, at the head of the table, listened passively, offering nothing.
And then they were all out of time, with the 5:30 regular meeting due to begin in a few minutesl leaving Hill to announce the obvious: The Tata plan would go ahead unchanged, and the board would "monitor and evaluate" its progress beginning Jan. 17.
Before the Jan. 10 meeting, I wrote that the majority should allow the assignment plan to go ahead as scheduled. Great Schools in Wake, a progressive coalition, was calling for delay, but I disagreed, saying it made no sense for the new board to pick a fight with Tata as their first order of business.
I wrote this, however, assuming that the new majority would act that day to adopt one or the other of the two competing pro-diversity approaches, or a blend of the two. It simply didn't occur to me that they would instead kick the diversity can down the road. But watch out when you assume, because it makes ... well, you know.
After the Jan. 10 work session ended and as the regular meeting began, Kushner told some of us informally, and then repeated for the record when the meeting started, that diversity can be addressed as the plan goes forward and parents start to make choices for their kids.
That's the case up to Feb. 24, certainly. Parents' choices begin today, but no seats will be assigned until the end of round one. And, yes, it may help the board majority to see, as the process unfolds, which schools are in high demand and which are not ... and which parents are eagerly engaged in this process, and which are not ... and whether Southeast Raleigh are engaged or not.
There's a fear that many low-income parents won't be engage at all, and that unless there are set-aside seats for their kids in desirable schools, the end result of the choice process will be that affluent, tech-savvy parents get their top choices for their kids ... while poor parents don't actually make a choice, leaving their kids with whatever's left over.
Leftover schools = high-poverty schools = a result the whole election was intended to avoid.
RT “@thinkprogress: "God never intended one group of people to live in superfluous inordinate wealth, while others live in abject deadening poverty." — MLK Jr.”
Think Progress is tweeting MLK today. One good thought after another.
... Durham, N.C.
San Francisco is 3rd, my old home town of Trenton, NJ is 7th, and Raleigh checks in at a not-too-shabby 18th, just behind Orlando, FL and San Diego and ahead of Riverside, CA and Tampa.
It's all right here in the Daily Beast. (And who could argue with the DB?)