#WCPSS Updates: Another “Equity” camp, Literacy, a brawl and other headlines

This installment of Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) updates include another “Edcamp Equity,” literacy rates, a brawl, and other headlines and news from around Wake County.

Headlines and News

#1 – Another “EdCamp Equity” event

The event will be held on starting at 8:00 am Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, at East Millbrook Magnet Middle School. Last year, WCPSS board members such as Christine Kushner showed up.

The organizers, which I’ll get to in a moment, describe it as an “uncamp.” According to the event details, the topics will include:

  • forming & maintaining an equity team
  • analyzing & discussing data
  • looking at your curriculum with an culturally relevant lens [SIC]
  • how to handle difficult discussions with colleagues about race
  • amplifying the voices and experiences of the LGBTQ+ community; English Language Learners; immigrant communities; and other historically marginalized communities.

EdCamp Equity is a product of an outside entity, EdCamp Foundation, a 501(c)3 Non-Profit organization. This non-profit pulls in a lot of money and has already received a total of $3.9 million in just two grants from the Gates Foundation alone.

The host of the Edcamp is “Equity4Wake,” and their website says they are “a grassroots collective of passionate interrupters committed to providing equitable experiences for all.”

Despite what the Equity4Wake website says, the Edcamp Equity events are spearheaded and are led by OEA staffer Christina Spears. There are 15 other teacher “interrupters” listed on their site along with their Twitter handles. Here is the list with their schools matched up:

  • Jennifer George, Wendell Middle School teacher
  • Kristen McCollum, Assistant Principal at West Cary Middle Schools
  • Michael Parker West, Wendell Middle School teacher
  • Terrance Hinnant, Zebulon Middle School administrator
  • Daniel Gridley, Washington Magnet Elementary teacher
  • Sean Hines, Carroll Magnet Middle School teacher
  • Jan Mitchell, Dillard Drive Middle School, 8th-grade assistant principal
  • Kristopher Graham, North Garner Middle School (Name spelled Kristofer)
  • Ryan Williams, East Millbrook Magnet Middle School, 7th-grade assistant principal
  • Roxann Sykes, Dillard Drive Elementary School, principal
  • Bonnie Mwanda, Heritage High School, assistant principal of instruction
  • Jennifer Bell, WCPSS Technology Services, “Digital Learning Coordinator”
  • Delaine Machado, Wendell Middle School, ELL teacher

Equity4Wake was clearly set up to be a firewall between the public and WCPSS’ Office of Equity Affairs (OEA). There are benefits to not formally making it an OEA event. By organizing it through Edcamp Foundation, the OEA  is not officially tied to the radical agenda items these camps cover and can be shielded from public records requests.

The original venue was Heritage High School, but that changed after what I was told were ‘parents complaints’. Heritage High was the scene earlier this year where an English teacher forced students to complete a “diversity inventory” that violated federal student privacy rights.

The materials from last year are likely to be similar this year. Each agenda item has a hyperlink with “session notes.” Parents may find the resources being suggested for use in the classroom rather disturbing.

Under just the ‘Teaching history’ section, materials from the far-Left Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance are included, such as “Teaching Hard History Teacher Resources,” the Teaching Tolerance YouTube Channel and the book White Fragility – Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.

Last year’s Edcamp Agenda can be viewed and downloaded here or below.

Related Reading:
WCPSS Office of Equity Affairs “Call to Action” includes more White Privilege training, SPLC Social Justice Standards

#2 – Literacy Crisis

“WCPSS 3rd grade reading beginning of grade to end of grade comparison: Proficiency from beginning of grade exam to end of grade exam increased 20.2% in 2016-17, 23.8% in 2017-18 and 26.3% in 2018-19,” tweeted N&O Education reporter Keung Hui.

That sounds like kids are learning to read, right? Wrong.

The breakout of proficiency by school tells a very different story. As I previously reported, Bugg Elementary had only a 20.10% proficiency rate in 2018-19. Over the last five years, Bugg’s rate has never risen higher than 41%.

But the dramatic realization our elementary kids are not being properly taught to read is underscored by a “national epidemic” according to Sherri Miller, Wake’s K-12 literacy director.

In a News and Observer article, Miller said that his “national epidemic” involved teachers not using the best strategies for helping students learn to read. Here’s a key excerpt:

“We have teachers who haven’t gotten the kind of training and learning around the science, the true science of what’s happening in the reading brain,” Miller told school board members this week. “That’s what we’re after.”

Miller said Wake switched from balanced literacy to a more comprehensive approach that calls for a greater systematic use of phonics instruction.

Oh really?

WCPSS has repeatedly touted the large numbers of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT) the district has as being the highest in the country. Is Miller saying WCPSS NBCT certified K-3 teachers are not properly trained to teach reading?

When Common Core was implemented eight years ago, those of us who raised concerns that phonics would fall by the wayside and that reading proficiency would drop were laughed at.

#3 – Panther Creek Brawl

400 people were involved in a brawl after a basketball game between Panther Creek and  Green Hope High schools. The fight didn’t stay inside the gym area, it spilled out into the parking lot.

Principals of both schools said in a joint statement that action would be taken “to determine violations of our Student Code of Conduct” and the “appropriate disciplinary action for students involved.”  The statement also said that “This type of behavior will not be tolerated.”

No names have been released and no arrests have been made in connection with the brawl.

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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1 Response to #WCPSS Updates: Another “Equity” camp, Literacy, a brawl and other headlines

  1. Pingback: #WCPSS Updates: Enrollment wanes, EdCamp Equity, Board member lie caught on camera, Green Hope fights to keep Dance | LL1885

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