This installment of Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) updates includes various headlines from around the district and notes from the most recent board meeting.
Of note in this issue: the board’s continued attack on charter schools, the revisionist history in our schools, a threat to a school and an injured student and a Jim Martin classic.
News and Observer’s Keung Hui often tweets updates from the meetings. Here are some of his observations. The main thrust was raising teacher pay again.
WCPSS budget staff recommend giving non-certified staff a locally funded 3% salary raise retroactive to July 1 & $500 one-time bonus. Effective Jan. 2, 2020, staff want to raise minimum salaries for bus drivers to $15 an hour.
This would help compensate with how #NCGA didn’t provide pay raises this year for non-certified staff. @WCPSS had projected state raises. Since none given, some can help w/ Wake plan to provide local raises. #nced #ncpol
The 3% pay raise, if approved, would begin in January 2020 paycheck.
Also, we learned that the board is planning raises based on earmarked money:
#1 – The WCPSS board continues its war on Charter schools
In the second half of this WRAL article, we find a section titled “Durham, Wake schools oppose new charter school applicant.”
The main thrust of that section is that WCPSS and Durham Public Schools tried to stop Oak View Charter’s application from being approved. This marks the second time WCPSS has meddled in charter applications this year.
The first time came in July, when the WCPSS board wrote a letter to the state board of education objecting to two charter schools proposed for Northern Wake County. In their crusade to kill these charter schools, the WCPSS board also enlisted Gov. Cooper’s anti-school choice allies, namely J.B. Buxton, on the State Board of Education to pressure the Charter School Advisory Board. Buxton delivered the desired response:
“This is where I’m grappling with these two (charter schools),” Buxton said. “I don’t feel like they are adding quality seats to the community. I believe that they are adding options, but relative to the education that’s being offered, they don’t seem to be bringing something different.”
Meanwhile, in Durham: Threat of closure leads to big turnaround for charter school
#2 – NC weaponizing history with Thanksgiving teachings
J. Peder Zane calls out the revisionist history nonsense being promulgated in Wake County Public Schools. I wrote about this cancerous use of presentism on Dec 1.
A key line from Peder’s article linked above:
“Replacing one set of myths with another is not education, it is brainwashing.”
The article dissects the revisionist history activities and lessons being promoted by various teachers and entities around that state which include casting the pilgrims as genocidal maniacs.
The WCPSS Office of Equity Affairs (OEA) has been a main source of this kind of garbage.
This office, which has a staff of just 8 people, have combined salaries totaling $651,601* and has spent over $2.458M since 2015.
I have yet to parse the data set to me to see if that 2.45 million includes the hundreds of thousands spent on “White privilege training” that the OEA has been systematically making the district’s teachers take.
What are taxpayers and WCPSS families getting for that money? Absolutely zero academic return on investment.
How many classroom teachers could this office’s budget fund? How about supplies? New buses? K-3 classroom size adjustments?
* – This number is being questioned after receiving conflicting salary information for one of the OEA employees.
#3 – False threat leads to lockdown in Wake Forest
The three schools, which are located along Wakefield Pines Drive in Wake County, went on lockdown around 10:30 a.m. after someone called 911 to say that they had heard shots fired near the schools.
Raleigh Police Department investigated the report but found no evidence that shots were fired on campus or anywhere nearby.
In October there was a similar incident at Apex Friendship High and Enloe High School.
#4 – Another WCPSS student gets hit by a car
Wake County Schools officials said a child was hit by a vehicle during Wednesday’s dismissal at Riverbend Elementary School.
Lisa Luten, Communications Director for Wake County Schools, said the incident happened when a vehicle in the carpool lane drove over a curb and hit the student. Gary Major, Principal of Riverbend Elementary, said “the student’s family was immediately notified while our staff and emergency officials responded to the situation.”
Raleigh police told WRAL’s Rosalia Fodera the child was transported by EMS to the hospital for precautionary reasons.
In October, a 12-year-old child was hit by a car while walking home from school in Cary near Harrison ave and Wyatt’s Pond. She was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. There has been no followup report on her condition.
#5 – Another Jim Martin Classic
In a Wall Street Journal article about WCPSS wanting to go year-round for all schools, Chair Jim Martin treats readers to one of his classic self-awareness free responses.
“It was sold as a magic solution,” he said. “If somebody sells you something as a solution to all your problems, don’t believe it.”
Flashback to the board meeting on November, 21 2017, where parents from Holly Springs were demanding year-round calendars for certain elementary schools:
“For the last five years, we have heard from the community time and time again that we need more traditional-calendar schools west of (N.C.) 55. That is why the decision was made to open all schools on the traditional calendar,” said Jim Martin.
The lesson here is that if the Wake School Board sells you a solution to something, don’t believe it.
The nationwide fad of year-round schools passed its peak a decade ago. Schools in most districts have been phasing out because it didn’t save money as proponents and Ed policy wonks advertised nor did it yield demonstrable gains achievement-wise.
The WCPSS board used year-round assignments mainly to avoid having to build new schools in areas where schools were rapidly becoming overcrowded.
The board has been schizophrenic in their approval and rejection of year-round school schedules. It’s been both demonized and then proudly touted over the years with the common denominator being the board ignoring the pleas of parents for or against.
In 2017, then-Chairwoman Monika Johnson Hostler bragged a year-round school was offering families “choice.” The reality is that it was a “choice” the board used as a stopgap – one that failed, as anyone in Southern Wake with school-aged children can tell you as many of them face their second reassignment in as many years.