Education

Credit CPB

Wake County School Bus
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Wake County School officials are holding information sessions for parents starting today. The five events are designed to help families navigate a school choice plan that will take effect next year.

The five information sessions will take place in churches, preschools, and town halls in an attempt to reach out to populations that may not be easily reached otherwise. One of the sessions will be held in Spanish.

UNC System Turns 40

Nov 10, 2011

Only five people have ever been the president of the 16-campus UNC system. Tom Ross, Erskine Bowles, Molly Broad, C-D Spangler, and Bill Friday got together last night to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the creation of the UNC system. It was a night of shared experiences and behind-the-scenes stories. But, the best story of all may be how the system was created in the early 1970s.

wake bus
Dave DeWitt

Democrats have regained control of the majority on the Wake County School Board. Incumbent Kevin Hill defeated Republican Heather Losurdo in a runoff election last night.

Looking worn out and even slightly embarrassed, Kevin Hill greeted supporters last night after the final votes were in.

In the most expensive Wake School Board race in history, Hill defeated Losurdo by just four percentage points. He is the fifth Democrat to win this election season – a strong rebuke of the Republicans who held the majority the last 2 years.

Education officials in Halifax County are stepping up efforts to hold parents accountable for student attendance. The county court system will host monthly truancy sessions starting at the end of November. Many other counties have similar programs. The move comes as dropout and truancy rates continue to rise in Halifax County's three school districts. County District Attorney Melissa Pelfrey says those districts don't always take the same steps to address truancy.

The final seat on the Wake County School Board is up for grabs today. Voters in Wake County’s District 3 will decide between Republican Heather Losurdo and Democrat Kevin Hill.

The runoff campaign has been intense, personal, and expensive. Counting all five school board races and the District 3 runoff, school board candidates have spent around $500,000. Outside interest groups have spent tens of thousands more. Losurdo says these messages are distracting to voters in District 3.

Researchers at N.C. State are working with Cumberland County Schools in an effort to improve education among foster children. The university's Department of Social Work says it will examine issues that might interrupt the learning process such as frequently switching schools. Dr. Joan Pennell is a professor of social work at N.C. State and the program's principal investigator.

The Wake County School Board has voted to adopt a new student assignment policy.

The new student assignment policy replaces one that re-assigned thousands of students. It moved some them based on family income, so that no school included too high a percentage of low-income students.

The new policy has no such control. It's a choice plan with four stated pillars - stability, choice, proximity, and student achievement. Opponents of the plan wanted stronger assurances that high-poverty, low-achieving schools would not be created.

The Wake County School Board is close to voting on a new student assignment plan. Last night, the Board conducted its only public hearing on the plan. It was a chance for parents and interested residents to address the Board directly as it considers how to assign more than 140,000 students to schools.

The plan is front and center in the ongoing political fight for control of the Board.

When his good friend and mentor Ron Margiotta lost his re-election bid on Tuesday, Republican John Tedesco offered this warning…

Ron Margiotta
WCPSS

It was a near clean sweep for Democrats in yesterday’s Wake County School Board Election. Four of the five seats up for grabs were won outright by democrats. The fifth is not yet decided and will go to a run off, as no candidate captured 50 percent of the vote.

It was a stunning victory for supporters of the district’s old diversity policy… and a rebuke of the Republican majority that has been in charge for the last two years.

Some voters in Wake County did not receive voter cards this year showing new boundaries for local school districts. Residents head to the polls tomorrow to vote for five seats on the county school board among other offices. Wake Board of Elections director Cherie Poucher says county commissioners denied the funds needed to send voter cards with the new districts. Despite that, Poucher says she expects a higher turnout than normal.

The Wake County School Board campaign season is entering its final few days. It’s also a crucial time for the district’s long-awaited student assignment plan.

Wake Schools superintendent Tony Tata has worked for about 7 months on the specifics of the plan. He presented it to the school board earlier this week. A public hearing is scheduled for next Thursday.

The new student assignment policy in Wake County Schools is now in the hands of the School Board. Superintendent Tony Tata and staff members walked board members through the plan at a meeting yesterday.

If you’re the parent of an elementary school student, the new assignment plan will give you 5 options – and promise you that your child won’t be reassigned against your will. Among those choices will be a high achievement option, a magnet option, and others. How many parents get their first or second options remains to be seen.

CMS Wins Broad Prize

Sep 21, 2011

A North Carolina school district has been recognized as the top urban school district in the country. Charlotte-Mecklenburg won the award, given by a prominent and controversial foundation.

The Broad Foundation is one of the largest dedicated to public school reform. It runs an academy to train non-educators to become superintendents and places a high priority on market-based competition and test-based accountability.

Peter Gorman was the superintendent in Charlotte and is a Broad Academy graduate, as is Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata.

The future of the state's residential schools for the deaf and blind will be the subject of a series of public hearings this month.

Families and other interested people will gather tonight in Morganton, the site of one of North Carolina's three residential schools for the deaf and blind. Until this summer, those schools were managed by the state department of health and human services. The legislature transferred oversight to the Department of Public Instruction over the summer, cut the budget, and told DPI to recommend the closing of one of the schools.

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