Wake County sounds alarm on teacher shortage – ABC

The Political Agitator response: But what tickles the hell out of me is some folks still don’t see the mess that our new Governor has created. They are still stuck on our first black President being elected and re-elected and can not see what is going on on the local level in Raleigh. Moral Mondays have educated folks about what is going on but still these Republican supporters either don’t care or in denial. Hell how many more situations like this is it going to take for them to wake the hell up? A white friend said to me what has the President done that was good and very good and the same when it comes to Governor McCrory and I said to him you tell me. He said the President nothing. He said McCrory cut unemployment. SMDH!

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — School leaders in Wake County say they’re seeing a disturbing trend among teachers.

It’s a dramatic increase in the number of educators resigning and a dwindling supply of qualified teachers to fill empty positions.

For example, at Raleigh’s Underwood Elementary, two teachers have already left this year and two more plan to leave before the end of the school year. That’s 25 percent of the school’s teachers lost.

The school district says it’s a growing trend at schools across Wake County. More and more teachers are quitting and finding qualified teachers to take their place is becoming extremely difficult.

The news comes as the debate escalates over teacher pay in North Carolina. Teachers have seen just one salary increase since 2008 and now rank among the lowest paid in the country.

Republicans have proposed raising starting salaries for new talent – but offer no boost for veteran educators. (Source: Read more)

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)

Mother’s concern changes Wake schools curriculum on slavery – WRAL

Knightdale, N.C. — The Wake County Public School System has removed an assignment from its middle-school history curriculum after a Knightdale mother complained that it was racially insensitive.

Amaya Melvin’s eighth-grade class at East Wake Middle School is studying the Civil War, and the students were given an essay assignment entitled "I am a slave."

"For her to have to put herself in the shoes of a slave, for her to complete the assignment, she had to be a slave at the moment. I didn’t think that was appropriate," said Amaya’s mother, Ariel Melvin-Hall, who is black. "It’s harsh. It cuts deep." (Source: Read more)

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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Federal complaint claims unfair policing policies in Wake County schools – News & Observer

Raleigh, N.C. — A complaint filed Wednesday with the U.S. Department of Justice claims school policing policies and practices in the Wake County Public School System "unnecessarily and unlawfully punish and criminalize minor misbehaviors and disproportionately harm African-American students and students with disabilities."

Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Advocate for Children Services and more than a dozen other groups filed the complaint against the school system, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office and eight police departments in Wake County, saying that law enforcement officers are routinely used at schools to address minor discipline matters, such as throwing water balloons, stealing paper from a recycling bin and play-fighting with a friend. (Source)

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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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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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

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.
http://www.wcpss.net/Board/agendas_schedules/09_18_2012-agenda.html

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Wake County Public Schools

Tata boosts schools’ case for more support, concedes work to be done – News & Observer

RALEIGH — In his state of the schools address Thursday, Wake County schools superintendent Tony Tata walked a fine line between celebrating the system’s successes and serving notice that this year’s more rigorous Common Core curriculum could bring “sticker shock” and lower scores.

A likely 2013 bond referendum to pay for school construction and renovation lay behind the whole speech, earning a strong endorsement in the closing moments of the 90-minute program at Southeast Raleigh High School. (More)

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Wake County Public Schools

New year brings longer rides for Wake students – News & Observer

CARY — Wake County students are dealing with longer bus rides in the new school year because of a transportation plan that cuts costs by putting fewer buses on the road to serve more riders.

Some families at the year-round schools that started this week are seeing bus rides of 75 minutes or more to schools that are less than two miles from home. School officials say they’re working to streamline the routes to reduce times. But they concede that, on average, students will be riding the bus longer than they did last school year. (More)

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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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Wake County Public Schools

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

NC NAACP Letterhead

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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.

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June 15, 2012

Ms. Alice Wender

Director

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

Media

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

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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, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.  

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SUTTON SAYS WAKE SCHOOL BOARD WILL REVISIT DIVERSITY POLICY – the Cash Roc

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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