WCPSS’s Envision “Strategic Plan” And Phil Kirk

Earlier this week, I wrote about the Wake County Schools “Envision” Campaign costing over $58k to date. I was corrected by WCPSS on Twitter — it’s not a campaign, it’s a “strategic plan”.

Semantics aside, it’s costing taxpayers quite a bit of money given that Wake is apparently facing a $21.6 million budget gap – but keep spending!  

The plan is not on the Envision Wake site costing us $7k, it’s on the Wake County Schools website. Apparently, the Envision site is ‘not exclusive‘ to the strategic plan.

The final report provided by the firm hired for 45K can be read here. This report is 151 pages long; Common Core is first mentioned on page 41 where “board members” want to extend high school into a 5 year college campus style set up. At first glance, that looks like a nice way to mute remediation rates. The report also seems to be considering employer needs over student needs; repeats the same empty talking points we’ve seen about the Core:

Teaching critical thinking and problem-solving, communications skills, and proficiency in Common Core subjects necessary to satisfy the need of future employers (pg 92)

As previously noted, this “strategic plan” seems to mimic Common Core, continuing to push the ‘career and college ready’ theme. The mimicking of Common Core is seen in the appointment of Phil Kirk, who has repeatedly pushed the idea ‘Common Core standards are needed‘.

Kirk will lead a team of 39 people for this ‘strategic plan’. The team is made up of mainly school officials only with a few exceptions. SAS is of course invited to the party, but no parents at large.  Members include the new “Equity” director, Rodney Trice, who has also been appointed to the Textbook Commission. The team of 39  lists the four Left most leaning Wake School board members who have been cheerleading for Common Core.

Kirk For The Core
Kirk has been right there in the chorus with SAS and the NC Chamber in backing the standards despite the debunking of their talking points.

Read why Mr. Kirk backs Common Core and try not to laugh, especially when you hit this paragraph:

I am a life-long Republican. I believe in local control of schools and in keeping the government out of as much of our lives as possible. I have watched the process that led to the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, and I know that it is completely in line with my values and beliefs.

Clearly, Mr. Kirk knows nothing about the creation or adoption process of Common Core. Perhaps he is confused about the values and beliefs of Conservatives – they do not include more federal control of our lives or the loss of state sovereignty as is the case with Common Core.

Why A New Plan? Wasn’t Wake Already “leading”?
Wake might be looking at a new ‘strategic plan’ in part because the Legislature has moved to repeal and replace the Common Core. It also might coincide with the fact parents are pulling their kids out of public school in the state at historic levels. It would seem many are unhappy with Common Core as homeschooling in the last two years has boomed.

The recent growth spurt has coincided with the use of the Common Core standards in math and language arts in North Carolina’s public schools. While hailed by supporters in more than 40 states as providing a more rigorous education, critics have charged that Common Core is not appropriate for some students.
News and Observer 

Some other reasons to homeschool in Wake County might be tied to the “massive bureaucracy“, “mired in politics“,“Unorganized leadership, “hops” from initiative to initiative creating inconsistency county-wide ”and that Wake County is just way too big — which in my opinion is spot on.  Read more at GlassDoor where WCPSS has a rating of only 2.8 out of 5 stars from employees.


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About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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