#NCED Updates: MVP Math Fight, Charter Approvals and WCPSS ‘Diversity’ Plans

NCED UPDATES LL1885In this edition of NCED Updates, the parents fighting MVP math in Wake County are not giving up, the Charter School Advisory Board approved more charters with a dig at Wake County schools.

Also in this edition, Wake County policy changes, which include a ‘Diversity’ plan. as well as an episode of when anti-school choice mouthpieces attack.

#1 – MVP Math and the Wake County School Board

Parents across Wake County have been protesting the use of MVP Math (Mathematics Vision Project) which has been showing up in both middle and high school classrooms.

Kids have been so traumatized that in early April hundreds of students at Green Hope High walked out of class in protest over MVP math. It’s gotten so bad, families are shelling out hundreds of dollars for tutors.

The curriculum, which boasts that it is Common Core aligned, is ‘a sorry excuse for teaching math’ that confuses students and has turned ‘A’ math students into ‘D’ students according to parents.  MVP math, when boiled down, has students trying to teach other students the concept at hand. The teacher is responsible for showing examples of those concepts, but beyond that, the students are supposed to “explore” the concept themselves.

Fun fact: MVP Math is supposed to be a free OER (open education resource) yet parents who dug around for information found that Wake County has paid over $1.4 million in resources licensing and professional development as of March 2019.

The protests have been going on for the better part of the 2018-19 school year and have been accompanied by parents and students speaking out at monthly school board meetings and by picketing the main office of Wake County Public Schools (WCPSS).

Parents, after being told their complaints were ‘isolated incidents‘, got together and formed a Facebook group, a blog, a GoFundMe for legal expenses and hit Twitter to get their messages out.

One parent leading the fight is Blain Dillard. He put together a parent group website that serves as a record of the fight with WCPSS including records requests, speeches, and links to pertinent information.

Horror stories from other districts and in media reports were uncovered by a parent group fighting MVP math and brought to the Wake school board’s attention.

A group of 18 parents even filed a 40-page complaint with the district and received back a page and half-page letter response from Edward McFarland, WCPSS Chief Academic Officer.

The letter said that the “District convened a Curriculum Review Committee consisting of District staff, principals, and teachers” and made a decision “based on feedback from the Committee and stakeholders,” that WCPSS will “continue to use MVP as its core math curriculum with modified implementation and additional supports.”

The letter also said that “every member recommended at least some changes and improvements to the curriculum.”

“They think it’s over but it’s not,” said Karen Carter, a mother of son and daughter enrolled at Green Hope High School in Cary told ABC 11.  Parents plan to continue their protests, starting with the WCPSS board meeting this afternoon at 4:30 pm at 5625 Dillard Dr. in Cary.

#2 – Charter School Advisory Board Approves More Charters

The North Carolina Charter School Advisory Board (CSAB) has approved 10 new charter schools, including three in Wake County despite the WCPSS school board’s attempts to torpedo them.

State Board Member J.B. Buxton tried to further torpedo the three schools proposed for Wake County, but the Lt. Governor and others pushed back.

Buxton was appointed to the State Board of Education twice by Gov. Cooper, but the legislature rejected him the first time. He also has ties to the far Left in North Carolina and received a $2,000 donation from George Soros when he ran for State Superintendent.

Forest and others noted that the complaints from WCPSS came well after the approval process was underway and their concerns should have been directed to the CSAB prior to their vote instead of trying to pressure the state board after the fact.

Fun fact: There are currently over 8,000 families on wait lists for charter schools in Wake County. This is likely reason why the WCPSS Board, and their allies like left-leaning Public Schools First NC, might be pushing to kill charters off in the district.

Schools approved to open in 2020-21:

Wilmington School of the Arts (New Hanover County)
MINA Charter School of Lee County (Lee County)
Revolution Academy (Guilford County)
Elaine Riddick Charter (Perquimans County)
Robert J. Brown Leadership Academy (Guilford County)
Achievement Charter Academy (Harnett County)
Doral Academy of North Carolina (Wake County)
Wendell Falls Charter Academy (Wake County)
CE Academy (Wake County)
Alamance Community School (Alamance County)

Also in charter school news, the state board approved $3.2 million in grants to nine charter schools in the first year of a five-year $26 million federally funded program called Advancing Charter Collaboration and Excellence for Student Success (NC ACCESS).

The point of the grants is to increase the number of educationally disadvantaged students attending a high-quality charter school and increase the number of such schools. The NC Dept. of Public Instruction will give out five-year grants of up to $600,000 to upwards of 50 schools over the course of the program.

#4 – WCPSS Policy Changes

WCPSS’s new “Honor Code” for cheating:

“The new policy would require students who are caught cheating to — when possible — make up the work. The Honor Code allows schools to lower a student’s grade for cheating and to decide whether to give full, partial or no credit for the makeup work.”
(Source: News and Observer)

WCPSS’s new ‘Diversity goals’:

According to the News and Observer, “Board members said adopting the new goal will ensure “great opportunities for every child in every school.” As part of the goal, the board agreed to adopt the statement “resegregation will not happen on our watch.”

So what was that statement? See below.

If you have trouble reading that sheet, here is the text complete with crossed out wording. Read it very carefully:

“Resegregation will not happen on our watch and we are committed to making decisions that are good for the district even when they are not the best for constituent groups do not agree.”

If you’ve lived in Wake County for over a decade, you’re likely having flashbacks to the forced busing for diversity and know that this board’s ‘segregation concerns’ are self-inflicted.

Look at the most recent school grades and growth scores and weigh it against the district’s $1.9 billion budget.

2018 WCPSS school report card of the 183 schools in the district had only 83 making a grade of A or B. That means 100 of the district’s schools, that’s 53%, were a C or lower.

A = 13 schools (7.3%)
B = 70 schools (39.5%)
C = 66 schools (37.3%)
D = 25 schools (14.1%)
F =  3 schools (1.7%)

Beyond school grade letters, there’s school growth. This is defined by the state as the “academic progress of a student compared to the average progress of students across the state in a given grade and/or subject.”

If students in a school are advancing “far above the average,” then the school is labeled as “exceeding expected growth.” If students at a school are similar to the state average, then the school is meeting “expected growth” and if the students at a school are failing or falling short, then the school did not meet growth.

For WCPSS in 2018, only 27 schools (15.3%) exceeded expected growth. As a result, 80 schools (45.5%) met growth and 69 schools (39.2%) did not meet growth.

Since 2011, WCPSS has ranked number one in the state for the largest number of homeschooling, charter school, and private school student populations. And the exodus is still happening, as evident in the 42 student gain seen in the last school year, a number that fell well short of the estimated gain of 1,900 students. Those students went elsewhere with 1,532 of them heading to charter schools.

Parents in Wake County are clearly saying want more and better choices. The WCPSS Board is not listening. The board is too wrapped up in their ‘equity policies‘ and laying blame on parents, charters, or the legislature.  WCPSS has forgotten that parents and students are their customers. When service is bad, customers leave.

#5 – When Anti-School Choice Mouthpieces Attack

Kris Norstrom - John Hood

Mic Drop.

North Carolina’s most infamous school choice hating non-parent is at it again.

Yes, it’s NC Policy Watch’s Kris Nordstrom who recently attempted to attack former Democratic State Senator Joel Ford for his advocacy of school choice and scholarships for low-income students.

 

Ford hit Nordstrom back, but Civitas’ Bob Luebke positively torched Nordstrom for attacking Ford on school choice in an article titled “School choice opponents want people to only listen – not think.”

Excerpt:

At the June 5th  Cato-Civitas school choice event former Democratic State Sen. Joel Ford was one of five panelists who shared his thoughts on school choice. Ford even had the audacity to say he’s pro school choice and pro public school.

Evidently the thought was too much for Kris Nordstrom of NC Policy Watch to wrap his arms around so he fired off an article that goes after Ford and claims that overzealous school choice backers harm the public schools.

Not one to back down, Ford rightfully challenged Nordstrom’s comments on Twitter. And, I must say it was quite entertaining to watch a young white liberal tell a mature, articulate African-American man how he ought to think about public education and school choice.

Ouuuf. Go read the whole thing.

#6 – Quiet Epidemic Updates

  1. New Hanover Sheriff’s Office investigating citizen group’s allegations against school administrators, principal
  2. Parents in Yancey County try to block new NC superintendent who was principal during past sex abuse case [More on the Yancey Schools case: Board statement via Yancey County Times on Facebook]

The case that the parents trying to block the new superintendent hiring in Yancey County are concerned about involved Michael Alexander. He was accused of abusing 50 or more children in his elementary classroom at Hildebran Elementary between the years 2001-2012.
Alexander was busted as part of an international porn sting which began in Barcelona, Spain and was sentenced to 49 years in prison in July 2012. Later in 2012, families launched a lawsuit against Alexander and the district, which at the time included Supt. Amos, who is now being hired in Yancey County.

 

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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