Wake County school board opposes elimination of teacher tenure – News & Observer

Response: I agree with this 100%.

CARY — In front of a crowd of more than 100 cheering teachers, the Wake County school board unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday opposing the state’s plan to offer pay raises to top teachers in return for their giving up tenure rights.

School board members charged that the new contracts –part of a law passed by the legislature to eliminate tenure in four years — would hurt teachers’ morale, inhibit their spirit of collaboration and won’t fairly pay enough teachers for their hard work. But the school board stopped short of either filing suit against the law or preparing an affidavit in support of the N.C. Association of Educators’ lawsuit seeking to overturn the law. (Source: Read more)

NC NAACP and Partners Urge DOJ to Dismantle School to Prison Pipeline in Wake County Public Schools



January 23, 2014


For More Information:  Atty. Jamie Cole, Public Policy Coordinator, 919-682-4700


For Media Assistance:  Laurel Ashton, Field Secretary, 828-713-3864                      




RALEIGH – The North Carolina NAACP State Conference and local branches today appealed to the United States Department of Justice, urging them to investigate several public entities in Wake County, North Carolina over the treatment of African American youth and students with disabilities.  The civil rights groups filed a complaint highlighting a troubling pattern of civil rights and due process violations involving the Wake County Sheriff’s Department, Apex Police Department, Cary Police Department, Fuquay-Varina Police Department, Garner Police Department, Holly Springs Police Department, Knightdale Police Department, Raleigh Police Department, Wake Forest Police Department, and Wake County Public School System.

"For years, youth of color have voiced concerns over harsh treatment, excessive disciplinary practices and rogue police officers in schools throughout Wake County," said Rev. Dr. Portia Rochelle, President of the Raleigh-Apex Branch of the NAACP.  "In many cases, school and police officers met such pleas for help with callous indifference and resistance to change. As such, community organizations are stepping up efforts to protect and preserve our children’s right to a quality education free from discrimination and punitive school disciplinary policies that disrupt instruction time and push children on paths to the criminal justice system."

In addition to the North Carolina NAACP and its local branches, the complaint is brought by individual students supported by a broad-based coalition of youth, parent and community organizations  including Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African American Children (CCCAAC), Education Justice Alliance (EJA), Justice Served NC, and NC Heroes Emerging Among Teens (NC HEAT).The complaint is supported by legal and national groups including Advocates for Children’s Services (ACS), North Carolina Justice Center, Duke Children’s Law Clinic, NCCU Juvenile Law Clinic, University of North Carolina Juvenile Justice Clinic, Center for Civil Rights Remedies of the Civil Rights Project of UCLA, UNC Center for Civil Rights, ACLU, ACLU of NC Legal Foundation, Advancement Project, and Dignity in Schools Campaign

"I’ve never felt the cops at our schools were there to keep kids like us safe," said student leader Qasima Wideman, a member of Wake County youth organization NC HEAT. "I’ve seen several students arrested for minor offenses, watched police bring K9’s into the class for unannounced and unwarranted searches, etc. The adults around us should be working to keep us safe, not slamming our faces to the pavement or beating us with billy clubs," she added.

The complaint letter urgesthe school district and law enforcement agencies to, among other essential changes:

  • Adopt non-discriminatory policies and practices that define and limit the role of SROs, including revising and reforming Memorandums of Understanding between the school system and Wake County police agencies;
  • Develop alternatives to school-based referrals to the criminal justice system;
  • Collect and publish annual data regarding all aspects of school policing;
  • Implement meaningful community and student involvement and oversight protocol, and
  • Create a well-publicized complaint procedure to hold law enforcement officers accountable for misconduct related to school policing.

"We all want safe, high quality schools that care about our children and give them every opportunity to succeed," said Charles Upchurch, President of the Wendell-Wake County Branch of the NAACP.  "Yet, in Wake County, giving police free-reign in our schools, and the authority to discipline young children is closing the door of opportunity to countless youth with promising and bright futures," he added.

The harsh school disciplinary policies and the involvement of police in Wake County schools is especially harmful to Black and Brown youth. According to local and national data, Black and Brown kids are punished more frequently and more harshly than White kids for the same minor infractions. Research indicates African-American students are disproportionately referred to court for school-based misbehavior. Over the past 5 years, African-American students represent only 25% of the total Wake County Public School System student population, but have more than 74% of the school-based delinquency complaints.

"Police presence in our schools has gotten out of control," said student leader Tavon Bridges. I have witnessed helicopters and dogs at our school for things as simple as a student walking out of class. My school has been raided for drugs and it feels like we’re always under attack by the people who are hired to protect us," he concluded.

These policies come with a price tag, and penalties so stiff, children bear the consequences years after the initial punishment was doled out. Punitive school disciplinary policies and the presence of police in schools can lead to high dropout rates, lower academic achievement, students not getting the help they need, and too many kids pushed onto a pathway to prison. This issue is especially critical in North Carolina, one of only two  states that still treats all 16- and 17- year olds as adults in every situation, stamping them with criminal records at a young age and cutting off their ability to get good jobs and to go to college. According to the data:

  • Thousands of students under the age of 16 have been pushed out of school and into the juvenile justice system as a result of minor misbehavior in school. 
  • In 2011-2012 (the most recent year this data was made available), 90% of school-based citations filed against students under the age of 16 were based on allegations involving misdemeanor activity.
  • In 2012-2013, 42% of all complaints in Wake County originated from the school system.
  • Students over the age of 16 are sent directly into the adult criminal system for school-based misbehavior, yet NO agency (the WCPSS or law enforcement agencies) maintains data regarding how many students face criminal records as a result of minor misbehavior in school.

"All kids make mistakes," said Attorney Jamie Phillips Cole.  "It’s part of growing up.  We need to implement policies which help students learn from their mistakes. This will lead to safer classrooms that are better for learning."




Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. The NC Conference of NAACP Branches is 70 years old this year and is made up of over 100 Adult, Youth and College NAACP units across the state, convenes the more than 160 members of the Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) People’s Assembly Coalition, and is the architect of the Moral Monday & Forward Together Movement.  


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Debra Goldman’s school board tenure comes to an end – News & Observer

Debra Goldman’s resignation Friday from the Wake County school board brought to an end one of the most controversial, high-profile tenures of any recent board member.

Once called “prom queen” by a Republican colleague during a public meeting, Goldman consistently made headlines with surprising, attention-getting moves. The latest came Friday with the news that she had registered to vote in Wilkes County, thereby ending her Wake term under a state constitutional provision that requires officeholders to be able to vote for their own positions. (More)

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Keith Sutton elected new Wake County school board chairman–News & Observer

Keith Sutton was elected the new chairman of the Wake County school board on Tuesday afternoon.

Sutton was elected 5-4 with all the Democrats voting for him and all the Republicans voting for Deborah Prickett. Sutton replaces Kevin Hill, who decided not to seek another one-year term as board chairman. (More)

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Detailing the statements that Wake County school board members Debra Goldman and Chris Malone made to Cary police

I’s not every day that one elected official accuses another of potentially committing a felony and then both tell police about their relationship.

As noted in today’s article, a Cary police report shows that Wake County school board member Debra Goldman reported in June 2010 that $130,000 was stolen from her home and that she named board member Chris Malone as a potential suspect. (More)

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Wake school board’s Goldman named colleague Malone in theft – News & Observer

Wake County school board member Debra Goldman named fellow board member Chris Malone as a suspect in June 2010 when she reported a burglary from her Cary home of $130,000 worth of jewelry, cash and coins, according to a police report.

Cary police interviewed Malone and dropped him as a suspect after an investigation, but not before recording conflicting statements from both Goldman and Malone about whether they had a romantic relationship. (More)

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Breaking News: Wake County – Wake school board fires Superintendent Tata

CARY — A Democratic majority on the Wake County school board fired Superintendent Tony Tata on Tuesday, ending his closely-watched, often controversial tenure after a little less than 20 months.

The move that will cost taxpayers one year’s salary — $253,625 — a sum that allows the board to dismiss him without citing specific cause. His contract was through Dec. 31, 2014 to run the state’s largest school system.

Stephen Gainey was named acting superintendent for a period of up to 60 days. He’s currently assistant superintendent in charge of human resources. (More)

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Wake school board will consider assignment compromise Tuesday – News & Observer

A renewal of Wake County’s longtime controversy over “neighborhood schools” appears likely on Tuesday, when school board members will receive a proposal for the system’s third assignment plan in as many years.

The developing plan, a product of changing times, board turnover and parental dissatisfaction, has been hatched by school assignment staff under a directive from the board’s Democratic majority. According to early glimpses provided to board members, the new plan will return to addresses tied to specific schools, with an effort to accommodate proximity, stability and diversity. (More)

Tuesday, September 18th – 5:30pm – Come hear the proposed 2013-14 student assignment plan. Public comment at 6:00pm.

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Wake County Public Schools Board Meeting Tuesday June 19, 2012

Board meeting – this Tuesday, June 19th – 5:30pm. It’s not too late to weigh in on assignment, the magnet program, or whatever else is important to you. Public comment at 6pm. http://www.wcpss.net/Board/publichearings.html

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News Alert: NC NAACP Submits Supplement to Title VI Complaint Against Wake County Board of Education

NC NAACP Letterhead


June 15, 2012

For More Information:             Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President, 919-394-8137

Mrs. Amina J. Turner, Executive Director, 919-682-4700

DURHAM – The North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP submitted a supplement to its Title VI Complaint against the Wake County Board of Education with the Office of Civil Rights at the US Department of Education today. The NC NAACP filed the original Title VI Complaint in 2010 while the ultra-conservative Wake County School Board majority was dismantling a nationally recognized school integration, student assignment policy that was tied to academic achievement in Wake County, NC. The supplement includes a recent article by Will Huntsberry of the Raleigh Public Record.


June 15, 2012

Ms. Alice Wender


US Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights

1100 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Room 316

Washington, D.C. 20044-4620

RE: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, et. al. v. Wake County Board of Education, Complaint Nos. 11-10-1311 and 11-10-1313

Disturbing New Evidence of Race-Based, Poverty-Based Policies and Practices by Wake County Board of Education

Dear Ms. Wender:

On behalf of the NC NAACP and our Wake County Branches, we respectfully supplement our original Title VI Complaint with the evidence released yesterday by a respected investigative journalist. It shows the so-called "controlled-choice" plan, adopted by the five-person majority and the Superintendent they brought in just before they lost their majority last fall, has been an abject failure in keeping its promise to maintain poverty levels across Wake County at a similar rate.

           The graph on the first page of this evidence says it all. The quadrant with the most students of color (the fourth bar in the graph) will increase the number of poor families by 4.65% in a couple of months, when the 2012-13 school year starts. The three other quadrants, which are in predominantly white areas of the county, will incorporate fewer poor families, with one quadrant only absorbing 1.14% more. This means the schools in the quadrant with the most poor families of color will become four times poorer in the first year of this unconstitutional experiment by Supt. Anthony Tata and his backers.

In short, our worst projections will be realized this fall. Our children — Black, Brown and Poor-will be funneled into schools that are already Black, Brown & Poor. As we have shown in our thoughtful, scientifically-based Title VI complaint, this bodes ill for all our children.

Please re-invigorate your investigation. We would welcome another site visit, to review this ugly trend and to take steps to reverse it before it damns more of our children to high-poverty schools.

Thank you for your staff’s immediate attention to this request.

Yours in the spirit of truth and justice,

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President

Dr. Timothy B. Tyson, Education Chair

Attorney Alan McSurely, Communications Chair

Attorney Irving Joyner, Legal Redress Chair

cc: Wake County School Board Members

Title VI Legal Team


Hilary Shelton, Director of Washington Office of NAACP

Raleigh Public Record: "Poor Schools Getting Poorer Under Choice Plan": http://www.raleighpublicrecord.org/news/2012/06/13/poor-schools-getting-poorer-under-choice-plan/Â


Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.  


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NC NAACP | PO Box 335 | Durham | NC | 27702

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The vice chairman of the Wake County Board of Education says “there will be an effort by this board…” to revisit Policy 6200, the long held school board policy that established socioeconomic student diversity as an important tool in the school system, before the previous conservative-led Wake school board gutted it in favor of neighborhood schools. (More)

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Wake school board approves alternate bus routing plan – WRAL

Raleigh, N.C. — During a work session Tuesday afternoon, Wake County Public School System staff offered to the school board an alternate bus routing proposal that would affect fewer schools’ bell schedules but save the district less money. (More)

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Tata apologizes to two Wake school board – News & Observer

Wake County school superintendent Tony Tata apologized today to school board members Susan Evans and Christine Kushner for suggesting that they had violated ethical principles, according to a joint statement released early this evening. (More)

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Open Letter to Superintendent Anthony Tata Wake County Superintendent of Schools

NC NAACP Letterhead




February 23, 2012


For more information:           Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President, 919-394-8137

                                            Atty. Jennifer W. Marsh, Acting Director, 919-682-4700




Dear Superintendent Tata:


You recently charged that two Wake School Board members had done something "unethical" through their involvement with the all-volunteer Great Schools In Wake grassroots organization.  In doing so, you also attacked the teachers, parents, and children to whom this organization devotes itself.


Great Schools in Wake is a community group that advocates diverse, well-funded, excellent schools managed by policies that are based in scholarly research.  Their approach is to offer programs to encourage public examination of educational issues and spend countless hours monitoring the conduct of the Wake County School Board and its staff, which includes the position of superintendent.  Putting in thousands of volunteer hours, GSIW was a critical partner in the black-white-brown coalition that came together to stop efforts by the extreme right wing movement that used Wake County students as pawns in an ideological crusade.


When Great Schools and our coalition kept the Wake County Public School System from stepping off a cliff into re-segregation and high-poverty schools, we felt a new breeze of hope blowing through the administration building.  


The NAACP encouraged parents and children of color to get involved again and assured them that a new spirit of respect had replaced the hostility emanating from what had become an armed, bristling palace of disregard.  We put out the word through all our networks that children and parents of color were once again welcome to bring their hopes and difficulties to the administration building. Many of our members believed that a Fox News commentator would never have a sense of fairness.   Though there were many skeptics, we assured them that they would not be turned away.  The people running the show, we told them, no longer regarded them as "animals." as citizens were once referred to on camera by former chairman Ron Margiotta.  


Ms. Evans and Ms. Kushner, along with several other members of the board, have been patient and generous with you. They went a long way–too far, we thought–to compromise by supporting your school assignment plan, even though it ignores the commitment to diversity and the promise not to go backwards to segregated schools that got them elected to the school board. They took considerable criticism, from us and even Great Schools in Wake, for their willingness to trust in your leadership, good faith and a plan that has already indicated will result in resegregation.


We remember well your slashing attacks on the patriotism and intelligence of our Commander in Chief President Obama, a man of color, as you left the Army.  Many NAACP members argued then that we should resist what they sensed to be your underdeveloped sense of social justice that would bode ill for children of color.  When we met with you, you assured us that your family tradition included a respect for diversity and spoke with pride about your father receiving an award from the NAACP. Despite concerns regarding your past association, many in our community because of their love for education and their desire to see progress in our educational system, chose to give you a chance.


We knew that that you had provided far-right Fox News commentaries and peddled Sarah Palin–no friend to public education–as "precisely the kind of leader America needs." Yet despite that baggage we and many others have withheld judgment and encouraged hope that your commitment to the success of the school system would outweigh ideological commitments. In the first year, however, your administration opened a new school, Walnut Creek Elementary, which is a high-poverty school with more than 90% minority, more than 50% underperforming and overcrowded from day one.  We were inundated with cries of "We told you so." And though critical of these actions, members of our community still tried to work with you.  Why now have you become so inflexible when others have been so willing to try to work with you sometimes against their best instincts and knowledge? 


Your decision to assail Ms. Evans and Ms. Kushner in a personal tone with ridiculous charges of "unethical" behavior marks a low point in education leadership in Wake County.   Not only is that charge entirely groundless.  It also reveals a broad lack of self-awareness that heads toward hypocrisy. Beyond your misrepresentations that they are somehow controlled by a certain advocacy group, we have a deep concern regarding how you feel about their constitutional right of association and how you have a double standard for Tea-Party backed ideologues.


You clearly have not taken time to develop a consistent policy with respect to advocacy groups.  When you first came to Wake County as superintendent, you immediately met with the far-right Wake County Taxpayers Association, which continues to claim that President Obama is not an American, to denounce our "gangster government," and to claim that "sustainable development" is a concept derived from the "1977 Soviet Constitution."  Was that "unethical?"


John Tedesco, who calls himself "Tea Party Tedesco" and shares your Republican politics, is executive director of a right-wing educational advocacy group.  Why have you not demanded that he resign this position?


Three Republican members of the board are running for other offices and seeking campaign contributions from groups that oppose the very idea of public schools and from persons who own private schools and are seeking the privatization of our public schools, which would bring them rivers of money.  Why are you not calling attention to the "stranglehold" these advocacy groups have on these members?    


It is clear that your concerns about advocacy groups are confined to groups whose political orientation is different from your own. 


We believe in vigorous debate and even disagreement on ideas.  We neither require nor expect agreement on every issue from you or anyone else; in fact, we disagree occasionally with the people whose integrity you are assailing. However, your public attack and accusations against the school board members who employ you, along with your attempt to say who they can and cannot associate with based on your personal feelings, is not only an attempt to tread on their constitutional rights but also in many circles would be seen as a form of insubordination and grounds for immediate dismissal.


We sincerely hope in this season of Lent, you will reach out in a redemptive way to the board members that you personally attacked and to Great Schools In Wake and its partners.  We sincerely hope your explanation will be thorough and prompt. While you consider your next steps, we will consult with all our partners to determine their positions on what our next steps are. We intend to gather the community around these matters, inform Advanced Ed of this incident, as well as those handling our Title VI complaint at the Justice Department because we believe your conduct reveals a deep and unprofessional bias and a lack of fairness and willingness to hear all voices.


With every good wish,


Rev. Dr. William Barber, II


North Carolina State Conference of NAACP Branches


Dr. Timothy B. Tyson

Education Chair

North Carolina Conference of NAACP Branches

Duke Divinity School

Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University

University of North Carolina



Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.





NC NAACP | PO Box 335 | Durham | NC | 27702

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