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Thursday, June 16, 2011

John Tedesco has a job ... he's an education reformer

Posted By on Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 12:14 PM

Worried that John Tedesco of Wake County school board fame (or infame, as the case may be) was out of work? Fear not — he has new a gig fronting for the North Carolina Center for Education Reform. (Correction: The Center for Education Reform is a different animal — my mistake for linking to it when it popped up in a quick google.) Here's the link to the apparently brand-new N.C. Center for Education Reform. Conservative donors, attendez-vous: The North Carolina Center for Education Reform (NCCER) is proud to announce the selection of our new President and CEO, Mr. John...

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Friday, June 10, 2011

In Tata we trust? Thoughts on a Friday re: Blue vs. Green

Posted By on Fri, Jun 10, 2011 at 2:36 PM

I wrote a column in this week's Indy about the challenges to public education in Wake County and North Carolina. At The News & Observer, one of their blogger-reporters picked it up, characterizing it as "firing shots" at the Blue plan for student assignment in Wake. Whereupon I heard from several people who asked, "I thought you were for the Blue plan?" The short answer is, I am. So far, anyway. I fired no "shots" at the Blue plan. I did raise questions about it because it's clear to me, as I said in the column, that the Blue...

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Next week: 9 public hearings set on Blue & Green options for Wake schools

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Johnny Carson used to want your cards and letters. Tony Tata wants your emails or your comments in person re: his Blue Plan and his Green Plan for making student assignments in Wake starting with the 2012-13 school year. I wrote earlier about the Blue v. the Green (not to be confused with the Blue v. Gray, which was covered here). Now the schedule is set for the nine public hearings — all next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at a HS hopefully near you. All the meetings start at 6 p.m. The schedule: Tuesday, May 31: at Enloe High,...

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Blue vs. Green: Which school assignment plan will better protect Wake County values?

Posted By on Mon, May 23, 2011 at 4:10 PM

Strap on your skates, public participators: Wake Schools Superintendent Tony Tata put a competing pair of school assignment plans on the table today along with a schedule that would see him recommending one or the other to the school board in about three weeks. In other words, time to do your reading — and put your thinking cap on. Tata has his staff hustling to schedule nine public meetings next week — nine feedback sessions — probably on just two nights, Tuesday and Thursday. The idea is to hold a meeting in a high school in every school board...

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cary Mayor Weinbrecht kicks off re-election effort Sunday

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Mayor Harold WeinbrechtKept taxes low? Check. Man of the people? Check. Preserved character and charm? Check. (Character and charm of Cary, that is — not bragging on self.) Anyway, long press release short, Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht is indeed running for a second term, and he'll give an official start to his campaign Sunday afternoon, 2-4, at Davis Drive Park. Weinbrecht, a popular Democrat, has a formidable Republican opponent in Michelle Muir, about whom we blogged previously. We ran Ms. Muir's announcement verbatim. Weinbrecht's gets the same treatment below. By the way, @MKMuir has a twitter account; I'm not finding...

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Monday, May 2, 2011

(Update): Wake Commissioner Stan Norwalk is resigning

Posted By on Mon, May 2, 2011 at 6:37 PM

[Update: 5/2 — According to the N&O, Wake Commissioner Stan Norwalk just announced that today's meeting of the Board of Commissioners will be his last. Re-reading this post from five weeks ago, the only other update is that Cary Town Councilor Erv Portman is on the list of those "mentioned" as a possible replacement for Norwalk. Two prominent Democrats mentioned Portman to me privately on Saturday at the Jefferson-Jackson breakfast in Cary hosted by the Democratic Women of Wake.] What follows is from the 4/23 post: Wake Commissioner Stan Norwalk, the one forceful progressive voice remaining on the Republican-majority...

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Tata on student assignment, budget: Stay "between the ditches"

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Our Tata cover in JanuaryFriday mornings at 9, Tony Tata briefs the press about the Wake County school system in a format much like, I imagine, a military press briefing from his olden days in the Army. Topics this morning included Tata's progress toward a new student assignment plan and his assessment of the damage in store for the schools if the House Republicans' budget should prevail in the General Assembly. Discussing student assignment, Tata let loose with an old military metaphor — he's trying to position his plan "between the ditches." In the middle of the road, in other...

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tea Party for Two: Losurdo follows in Tedesco's footsteps

Posted By on Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 5:55 PM

How many Tea Party members does it take to screw up the Wake school board? Just jokin' with ya, Papa Ron. But seriously, last year it was Johnny Tedesco on the TP circuit. This year, school board hopeful Heather Losurdo took the stage to declare that the Wake school system is keeping kids from reaching their full potential by, uh — well, she didn't say how, but I know she didn't mean that it's because they go to school with "those" kids. "Picture you, upon my knee/Just tea for two, and two for tea." Still, I can't argue with Losurdo's...

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NC Appeals Court raps knuckles of Wake school board majority

Posted By on Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 4:56 PM

Photo by Art HowardMarch 23, 2010: No admission to the school board without a ticket At the tumultuous March 23, 2010 meeting when the "new" Wake school board majority voted to strike diversity from Policy 6200, the student assignment policy, did the board violate the Open Meetings Act? Yes, it did. But a three-judge panel of the N.C. Court of Appeals today ruled unanimously that, while the act was violated, there's no need for the school board to reconsider the actions it took that day. The full ruling can be read here. It upholds Superior Court Judge Bill Pittman's decision...

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

(Updated) Wake GOP fields a school board candidate against Kevin Hill

Posted By on Thu, Apr 14, 2011 at 8:42 PM

from the Losurdo campaign{Update: Video of last night's meeting is below.] It's Heather Losurdo, erstwhile head of the newly potent Northern Wake Republican Club. She's ready to take on Kevin Hill, whose District 3 seat on the Wake school board is considered the one most vulnerable to a GOP challenger — of the four seats not currently controlled by the Republicans. (The other members who aren't Republicans: Anne McLaurin, Carolyn Morrison and Keith Sutton.) And if Hill's seat is vulnerable now, wait until GOP lawyer Kieran Shanahan's done redrawing all the districts. Who "likes" Losurdo? Well, Ron Margiotta does, and...

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Wake busing statistics in the N&O: Remember the three kinds of lies?

Posted By on Fri, Apr 1, 2011 at 7:41 PM

That was one strange banner headline on the front page of the N&O today: "Data hint how far may tell how well bused students do." (I see they've changed the headline online.) The odd phraseology is perhaps due to the fact that the "data" discussed in the story under it, as the headline writer certainly recognized, is presented as meaning one thing about the Wake schools diversity policy when it plainly means something else entirely. The headline writer could hardly have chosen the most suitable title: "What a crock of sh-t this story is." So instead, he or she...

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

In Cary, a Republican jumps into the mayor's race

Posted By on Thu, Mar 24, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Michelle MuirMichelle Muir has a campaign website and a Twitter (@MKMuir) account. She's a registered Republican with a excellent voting history, according to county election board records. From Muir: Cary deserves a visionary leader and ambassador who will drive job creation, promote solid planning locally and regionally, keep tax rates low, and ensure citizens are not only heard, but responded to. Citizens have a right to expect someone with the time and talent to provide real solutions so that we can all be sure that tomorrow is going to be better than today. There is important work to be done...

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wake schools retain accreditation for now, but the report is blistering

Posted By on Wed, Mar 16, 2011 at 2:42 PM

Whew, the AdvancED team didn't think much of the "governance" provided — since Dec. 2009 — by the Wake school board majority. The full report is 15 pages and well worth reading. It is absolutely blistering, especially regarding Chairman Ron Margiotta and his sidekick John Tedesco, on the subject of how the board majority abused the student assignment process. It concludes: “Since December 1, 2009 the actions and decisions of the Wake County Board of Education have resulted in creating a climate of uncertainty, suspicion, and mistrust throughout the community. It is critical that the Board of Education and the...

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Go, go & maybe someday: Durham, Orange and Wake on 1/2-cent tax for transit

Posted By on Tue, Mar 8, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Word on the prospects for a 1/2-cent sales tax for transit in the Triangle after the Regional Transportation Alliance breakfast meeting this morning: * Durham and Orange counties are looking seriously at asking voters this fall to approve a different sales tax increase — the 1/4-cent tax hike authorized by the legislature to support schools or other needs. * Durham and Orange may wind up asking voters to approve a package — the 1/4-cent tax for schools and the 1/2-cent tax for transit. This, according to Michael Page, chair of the Durham County Board of Commissioners and Bernadette Pelissier,...

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Turning up the NC HEAT on Art Pope's stores

Posted By on Sat, Mar 5, 2011 at 2:37 PM

NC HEAT members picket the Maxway store Saturday "Pope is Poison," was the theme of the NC HEAT leaflets. "Our aim is to hit Pope where he can feel it — in his wallet." So today a small group of students — NC HEAT members — picketed the Maxway store on Poole Road in Southeast Raleigh, attempting to dissuade customers from buying there if they don't like what Art Pope's been doing with the profits. (Including helping to install Ron Margiotta as Wake school board chair.) In the first 45 minutes, organizer Elena Everett said, the protesters succeeded with eight...

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tata: "Am I gonna value diversity? Of course."

Posted By on Thu, Mar 3, 2011 at 9:53 PM

Tony Tata at Martin Street Baptist ChurchWake Schools Superintendent Tony Tata is out talking up his commitment to diverse schools. And last night at Martin Street Baptist Church in Raleigh — where for almost two hours he was asked every possible variation of the question whether his new school assignment plan will foster diversity or kill it — Tata made his strongest statements yet that he will be a friend of diversity, not its foe. I captured a bit of the Q & A on my cellphone camera (see below). It's Tata talking about "living diversity," and specifically about being...

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Census: Raleigh pop. is 403,892, up 46% since 2000

Posted By on Wed, Mar 2, 2011 at 4:38 PM

At 403,892, Raleigh is the state's second largest city, behind Charlotte (731,424), but it's also the fastest growing: Raleigh's population is up 46 percent since 2000, while Charlotte gained 35 percent ... according to official U.S. Census data released today. So it isn't just your imagination that Raleigh's roads — essentially unchanged in a decade — are twice as crowded as they used to be. Wake County, by the way, will soon overtake Mecklenburg as North Carolina's biggest. Wake's population was pegged at 900,993, slightly behind Meck's 919,628. But Wake grew 43 percent over the decade vs. Meck's 32...

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Monday, February 28, 2011

Calendar: Tata to take the NC HEAT on Thursday

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 2:58 PM

photo by D.L. AndersonTony Tata shakes on it with Monserrat Alvarez and Seth Keel of NC HEAT Call it Round 2: When Wake Schools Superintendent Tony Tata debuted in Raleigh at the Wake County Taxpayers Association meeting in January, protesting NC HEAT members were there to greet him, as seen above. Since Tata was spending time with the conservative and anti-diversity taxpayers group, they asked him, how about meeting with the members of our progressive, pro-diversity HEAT organization? (HEAT stands for Heroes Emerging Among Teens.) Sure, Tata said, and the meeting Thursday was born. It's at Martin Street Baptist Church,...

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Friday, February 11, 2011

The Alves/WEP/Chamber Plan: Parents choose the schools — mostly

Posted By on Fri, Feb 11, 2011 at 9:56 AM

(Update: Will the Alves/Chamber/WEP Plan avert the creation of high-poverty schools? I think that's a huge question — it's THE question — especially since the plan includes no hard trigger to signal that student achievement levels in a school are unacceptably low. I've added something about this in the form of a comment at the end.) As of 10 a.m., when the veil is officially lifted, the proposed student assignment plan we've been calling the Alves Plan (for consultant Michael Alves) should henceforth be known as the Wake Education Partnership's plan, or perhaps the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce/WEP...

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Utter foolishness," or why you can't be squeamish about equal education, the Rev. Barber and HK on J this Saturday

Posted By on Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 3:38 PM

(Update: This was written yesterday. The Stevens bill on charter schools, SB-8, was amended in committee this morning to weaken somewhat the independent governing commission referred to below and add some language about diversity — while not exactly requiring it. I'll have more on the charter school bill in coming posts.) At a Super Bowl party Sunday I was introduced to a white liberal minister (our mutual friend said he’s as liberal as anyone can be, to which he nodded) and we got to talking about the Wake schools imbroglio. He’s pro-diversity, no surprise there. He did make a point...

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Alves plan for student assignment to be unveiled Friday

Posted By on Mon, Feb 7, 2011 at 3:36 PM

Just fyi, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and Wake Education Partnership announced today they'll be unveiling consultant Michael Alves' plan for student assignments in Wake on Friday morning at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 201 Harrison Oaks Blvd. in CAry. Start time is 8 a.m. (Update: The meeting for Chamber board members is at 8. The media briefing, to which the general public is invited, begins at 10.) The Alves plan is long-awaited and arrives none too soon: The Wake school board majority is in the process of piecemeal reassignments affecting 3.500 students next year — and not in a...

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

National NAACP prez joins Feb. 12 HK on J march in Raleigh to fight "separate and unequal" schools

Posted By on Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 3:18 PM

National NAACP President Ben Jealous will be back in Raleigh a week from Saturday. His presence is meant to focus the 5th annual HK on J march on the issue of school resegregation, with the Wake County battle over student assignments continuing to be an enormously important test case. The march — which calls for Historic Thousands at the General Assembly on W. Jones Street (HK on J) — is scheduled to kick off at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12. From the NAACP national office: Thousands Will Rally in Raleigh To Fight Segregation NAACP Pledges “Forward Ever, Backwards...

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Colbert disintegrates Tedesco: Watch

Posted By on Wed, Jan 19, 2011 at 9:08 AM

Stephen Colbert gets it right about the Wake County schools, diversity and its reverse—"disintegration": The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30cThe Word - Disintegrationwww.colbertnation.comColbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive...

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Friday, January 14, 2011

U.S. Secretary of Education, on eve of MLK holiday, calls on Wake school board to honor diversity

Posted By on Fri, Jan 14, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Arne Duncan, Secretary of EducationThe U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, thinks the Wake County school board majority's moves are "troubling" and "backward" in a society still striving for racial equality. He said so yesterday in a letter to the Washington Post. The letter was in response to the Post's story earlier in the week relating how "tea party" Republicans have taken charge here with policies that threaten school integration. John Tedesco, who frequently speaks for the school board majority (or lately, for the majority minus Debra Goldman), often references Duncan's support for charter schools and other innovations as somehow...

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tata wants more "resources" — that's "money" to us civilians

Posted By on Tue, Jan 11, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Photo by D.L. AndersonWhen Tony Tata talks, Ron Margiotta listens Anthony Tata was a popular guest Thursday night at a dinner meeting of the Wake County Taxpayers Association. The conservative group, its ranks swelled to about 200 for the first public appearance of Wake’s new superintendent of schools, laughed at his jokes. (The most important criteria in the search process, Tata quipped, was that the choice “be non-controversial.”). When Tata said he likes bass fishing, they offered him directions to the best fishing holes. They nodded when Tata said that he comes from a family of educators. They cheered as...

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