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)

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

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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                      

 

NORTH CAROLINA NAACP STATE CONFERENCE, LOCAL BRANCHES JOIN COALITION OF COMMUNITY, LEGAL, AND NATIONAL GROUPS URGING DOJ TO DISMANTLE SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINE FUELED BY WAKE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM & POLICE DEPARTMENT

 

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."

 

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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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Debra Goldman 

Wake County Public Schools

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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Wake County Public Schools

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 County Public Schools

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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Wake County Public Schools

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 County Public Schools