#WCPSS Updates: Report says MVP is just fine, Holy Magnet Schools, Special Needs transportation issues continue

This is mercifully the last WCPSS updates for 2019.

In this installment: Consulting company hired by the Board for tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars says MVP is just fine. (Spoiler: It’s not) Also, the Holy Magnet Schools, Special needs kids transportation is still a mess and reassignment tidbits.

#1 – MGT management says MVP math is just fine.

News and Observer headline: Consultant recommends Wake schools keep using MVP Math. The article is about MGT Consulting giving its presentation to the WCPSS board last week about MVP Math. It was truly one of the more embarrassing sham presentations in recent memory.

Since 2017, WCPSS has flushed $1.4 million down the toilet with MVP Math, not including the MGT review contract of over $70,000.

Some of the findings:

“Based on findings from its study, MGT recommends the continuation of the MVP Math Curriculum, with accompanying commendations, challenges, and recommendations.”

“The approach to math instruction advocated by the MVP Math Curriculum is representative of best practices. The curriculum’s emphasis on balancing procedural fluency with conceptual understanding of math encourages and strengthens problem-solving skills.”

This was a public relations rehab exercise. This review was a joke – MGT didn’t actually vet the curriculum. They vetted implementation, materials and poor results. MGT’s own recommendations underscore that this review was all about public perception:

“Messaging around MVP Math Curriculum implementation has produced confusion…”

“Provide an informational campaign on the MVP Math Curriculum for both schools and parents.”

Part of the presentation went on and on about the parent surveys that were conducted.

There were apparently 3,125 survey responses and multiple focus groups.  According to MGT, there were four in-person parent focus group meetings that had just 10 participants.

MGT apparently was also in our kids’ schools and made “139 classroom observations.” Were any parents asked their permission for their child to be observed? Doubtful.

In addition, MGT conducted 23 school administrator interviews with 31 participants, 23 teacher focus groups with 161 participants and 23 student focus groups with 178 participants.

Now here’s the punchline, the way MGT conducted these surveys was so specific that it left out parents with children who took Math 1, 2, and 3 using MVP over the last 2 years or were finished with MVP math. In other words, no one who might complain was included.

MVP math surveys

“I hope the board is not naive enough to have fallen for that entire presentation. If you noticed, the presentation was entirely… I’d say about 95% was positive comments about MVP… They didn’t expand at all on the negative comments from the parents,” said Blain Dillard after the meeting.

Dillard is the parent who was sued by MVP math for speaking up about how bad it is and how once “A” math students are now failing.  Dillard countersued and MVP decided that suing a parent wasn’t a great move and in October both sides dropped their lawsuits against each other.

Parents have asked to see the surveys conducted by MGT Consulting and are being told by Wake County Schools that they are not subject to records requests.

According to WCPSS Communications Director Tim Simmons, all materials from MGT were presented at the Student Achievement meeting on 12/16/19 and that MGT retained the parent surveys so their replies would remain confidential.  In other words, the District gave MGT control of those materials so the public could not ask for them in a records request.

That’s beyond outrageous.

These surveys were paid for with tax dollars and can easily be redacted to remove personally identifiable information. The MGT contract language states that MGT has to provide the district with access to any “records and files” related to their work. By that same token, that means the District can then give access to parents and the public.

Bottom line: The MGT report on MVP Math is a fine example of gaslighting.

The WCPSS board paid MGT to produce a report that would allow them to keep MVP and let them save face. They got what they paid for.

The MGT recommendations are really a set of blame bullet points that include a lack of “supplementary resources,” and kids whose first language isn’t English, to blaming teachers for not teaching it well. But no blame on MVP math itself, of course.

#2 – Special Needs transportation is still a mess

Just take it from a special needs student’s parent:

 

#3 – The Holy Magnets of Wake County

The WCPSS board loves to boast about the magnet schools in the district while sneering at school choice.  Meanwhile, they can’t seem to keep a principal at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High. They are now looking for its sixth principal in eight years as  Principal Stephanie Smith is being transferred to WCPSS’s main office.

#4 – WCPSS Board does what it wants on reassignment. Again.

Board decides to permanently relocate Fuquay Middle school.
(News and Observer)

“The Wake County school board approved a plan Tuesday to permanently relocate Fuquay-Varina Middle in 2024 to a new building that will be constructed on Bowling Road — about two miles south of the current campus.”

“Leaders haven’t decided what will happen to the old campus after it’s vacated. Proposed options include creating a specialized high school, an elementary school, a pre-kindergarten center and a trackout program for year-round students when they’re on break.”

Link to the Board documentation here.

Parting Shot:

 

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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