The opening segment of a forthcoming autobiography by Sugar Ray Leonard runs counter to the cunning style he used in winning boxing championships in five weight divisions more than a quarter-century ago. It is more like hearing the bell, rushing to the center of the ring and being hit with a straight right hand. (Read more)
BOE approves redistricting map
Despite concerns about flawed data — cited by Great Schools in Wake and the NAACP — the BOE voted yesterday to approve a redrawing of the county’s nine voting districts. The map will determine who can vote in the upcoming BOE election in October. The BOE also voted to layoff nearly 100 WCPSS employees. Additional coverage, and video of the meeting, are on WRAL.
The following summary of yesterday’s work session is courtesy of a Great Schools in Wake colleague:
By a 5-3 vote, the Board of Education approved a redistricted election map that delineates voting boundaries for each board district, which will be in effect for the next ten years. During the specially called meeting on Tuesday, which followed a short work session on the redistricted map, Carolyn Morrison, Deborah Prickett, Chris Malone, Debra Goldman and John Tedesco voted for the proposed map, drawn by private attorney Kieran Shanahan, who was hired by the Board to draw the map. Members Keith Sutton, Kevin Hill and Anne McLaurin voted against it.
The vote came after discussion that questioned the process the Board used. A single map was developed in closed and private meetings between Mr. Shanahan and small groups of Board members, so as not to violate open meetings laws. If five or more Board members had met with him at one time, the meeting would be required to be open to the public, and the small group meetings seemed designed to keep discussions of the map by board members private. Following several closed meetings, the Board held one public hearing and then had one public work session before voting on the map. No alterations were made to the map after the public hearing or after receiving public comment by email.
The map had been criticized by Mayor Russell Killen of Knightdale, whose town of 11,400 people is split between three Board member districts. In response to that criticism, during the work session Tuesday, Mr. Shanahan compared it to having Raleigh (population 403,900) and Cary (population 138,000) split among several districts. One of the guidelines approved by the Board of Education governing the drawing of the map was to respect municipal boundaries.
During the work session, Board members discussed having alternatives to the single map. John Tedesco said he’d like to consider having one district inside the beltline of Raleigh, with the remainder of the districts outside that central part of the county. A speaker at last week’s public hearing on the map stated a similar suggestion, saying Raleigh had too much influence over the school system.
Keith Sutton expressed concern over the lack of an open process used to develop the map. Chair Ron Margiotta said he felt the process had been nonpartisan. Chris Malone said he though it had been fair because he had heard complaints from “our side….that respectable people who support community schools” also criticized Mr. Shanahan’s map.
Debra Goldman claimed that only one map was presented ten years ago, but Ann Majestic, the Board attorney whose firm drew up the maps in 2000, said multiple maps had been developed in 2000, and the Board considered two maps in the final selection process in 2000.
The Board also turned back a friendly amendment by Keith Sutton to add the guidelines to their resolution to approve the map. Ms. Prickett objected and in the end, Ms. Prickett, Mr. Malone, Ms. Goldman, Mr. Tedesco and Mr. Margiotta voted against including the guidelines in the resolution. No reasons were given for voting that down.
Highly effective teachers
Earlier in the work session, the Board heard data regarding the location of 327 highly effective teachers (those teachers whose students show high growth on end of grade tests) and the location of low performing students. The highly effective teachers are clustered mainly in western Wake County schools, while the low performing students are mainly along a band in east Raleigh, southeastern Wake and eastern Wake. Mr. Tedesco said the question remains how does the district get highly effective teachers in front of Level 1 and Level II students (those performing below grade level).
Academic officer Donna Hargens said highly effective teachers typically have high expectations for all students, follow the standard course of study closely, use their classroom time wisely, check often to make sure students are learning the material, alter strategies if they are not learning the material, and plan together with others on their team.
The Board also discussed changes in policies governing discipline. The State legislature is considering changes in state statutes governing school discipline, and WCPSS is moving to be in alignment with those changes.
In the News
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