NCED Updates skipped a week last week, so this week’s installment will be longer than usual. Packed in here are stories from the national and local NC level, higher education, school choice, and some news in the Quiet Epidemic area of teacher arrests.
Previous installment: NCED Updates: New Hanover Predators, Istation, Common Core, Leandro, NCAE & Elections
Our deepest condolences to the family of Dr. Karen Effrem. She was a tireless education advocate and Common Core fighter.
- College admissions scandal: Former Pimco CEO is going to prison
- Number of professors allegedly in cahoots with communist China quickly mounts
- Bias Response Teams a Bigger Threat than Speech Codes
- Female Athletes File Title IX Lawsuit Against Transgender Sports Rules
- 2 Big Teachers Unions Call For Rethinking Student Involvement In Lockdown Drills
- A 6-Year-Old Girl in Florida Was Committed to a Mental Health Facility After She Threw a Fit at School
- San Francisco middle school descends into ‘Lord of the Flies’ environment
- Sorry, New York Times, But America Began in 1776
Trump’s Education budget:
- Trump, DeVos seek to slash ed department budget, scale back feds’ control of schools
- CATO institute’s Neal McClusky is not so keen on the tax credit idea
- Betsy DeVos budget proposal slashes education department in half
- Budget links, Press release, Summary
NORTH CAROLINA HIGHER ED
- High Point University student arrested for planning to shoot classmates
- Second ECU Board of Trustees member resigns
- UNC System Lawyer suggest Do-Over on Silent Sam
School choice has become a national and state election issue for 2020. On one side are unions, elected officials public school advocates protecting the failing one-size-fits-all public school status quo, on the other are parents and students who want a higher quality, better fitting educational option.
Our K-12 public education system is antiquated in every aspect. No one is buying the idea that we can educate kids for 21st-century lives and jobs using a 19th-century school model. School choice is a direct reaction to that realization.
- Got an elected official trashing school choice? Did their kids go to a private school or charter? Wish you had a place to expose that information? There’s a map for that.
- Florida Gov. hits Rep. Eskamani back, tweets support for scholarship fund
- The Florida LGBTQ controversy: A gut-check moment for school choice
- GLSEN got involved and asked Florida schools to remove a tweet promoting the state’s tax-credit scholarships. But their own data undermined them.
- Arizona: The former principal of the shuttered Discovery Creemos Academy pleaded guilty Friday to participating in a $2.5 million scheme to inflate enrollment at the defunct charter school.
There will be no satisfying the anti-School Choice crowd.
First, it was Charters aren’t diverse enough. Charters are now serving a more diverse population than their traditional counterparts. Now the complaint is ‘they don’t serve enough poor kids’.
The anti-choice crowd is pursuing a death by 1,000 papercuts strategy to bleed charters of one of the things that make them attractive: self-selection.
According to WFAE, CMS and Matthews are near a truce on their ongoing Charter School Battle. The headline is misleading. What this article really is about is the Matthews town council caving to CMS.
Here’s some backstory.
The Town of Matthews was fed up with their kids being bused in and out of the schools in their part of the district and with the CMS board doing whatever it pleased.
The area’s statehouse Rep. Bill Bawley ran a charter school bill that would allow municipalities. The bill would let towns open and run charter schools, which would serve their town’s kids first and foremost, cutting CMS out of the equation.
CMS retaliated and its school board passed a resolution to move the four towns to the bottom of the list for future school construction. Where WFAE’s article gets it wrong is the CMS board didn’t just threaten to drop Matthews and three other towns off the school construction list, they did it.
What WFAE gets right is the why: Elections. CMS’ board, the NCAE, and their non-profit cabal mobilized to get their candidate in Bill Bawley’s seat and to get Matthew Mayor Paul Bayley ousted. Elections have consequences when parents ride the bench.
NORTH CAROLINA K-12
- Cases of Tuberculosis in Durham and Lumberton schools
- A faction of N.C. Association of Educators wants to veer farther left, embrace activism
- CMS Survey Asks Students In Grades 6-12 To Report Sexual Orientation
(This CMS survey is a violation of the federal Pupil Rights Amendment.)
Guilford County Schools busing kids to the polls
I’ve been digging into the reports of Guilford County Schools (GCS) busing of juniors and seniors to the polls. What I’ve found out so far is unsettling and raises the question about the use of public resources for political purposes.
A parent commented that this was not the job of the school, that parents should be the ones involved in their child’s first voting experience. Other parents were happy to see the busing and viewed it as ‘civics in action’.
Regardless of where one’s opinion stands, this action is having an impact on the primaries in Guilford County and an arguably artificial one at that given these voters were literally bused in.
And according to Carolina Vote Tracker, which primary is mainly being affected?
It is one thing to educate or register kids to vote, it is another to pluck them out of school on the taxpayer dime to vote – especially when one of the principal’s in the district has a spouse running for office.
Apparently, there is a principal-judge connection in Guilford county that links to Tomaikio Gause, who is running for District Court Judge. Her husband is apparently a principal at a high school in the district. I have not been able to confirm this yet, but I received a report that allegedly some students were told they would be given extra credit to be bused to vote. In addition, these students were even given a list of voting suggestions and the principal’s wife’s name was on that list.
Here is what is known:
According to Guilford election officials, they were told late on Feb. 13 that there might be kids bused to the polls. It was not until the morning of Feb. 17 that election officials received a schedule from the district.
The School board was not notified there would be busing of students to the polls, members found out the day of the announcement on the district website, on Feb. 18.
One board member, Linda Welborn, posted to her Facebook that she had not known about this “quickly thrown-together field trip.”
I for one was shocked to hear about this second hand and through the proverbial “grapevine”,”GCS board member Pat Tillman replied in a comment to Welborn’s post. “Voter participation education and information about the process I get, in the appropriate manner. This should have been brought before the Board as a matter of professionalism at bare minimum.”
Board member Anita Sharpe also chimed in with a series of questions.
“Has it occurred in Guilford County only? Has any other county in the State of NC has done this in this way? Is this “implementation” a train wreck waiting to happen?” asked Sharpe. “Why did the Admin fail to share any of this with the Board? Are their motives questionable? Why did some candidates have all the details of this initiative but the board didn’t?”
The group involved in this taxpayer-funded electoral experiment is “You Can Vote,” which is a nonprofit liberated from its parent organization in Aug. of 2019.
You Can Vote claims it is non-partisan but it is run by progressive operatives from their parent organization, including Indy Week contributor and progressive activist, Kate Fellman. In addition, Susan and Duncan Yaggy, who serve as You Can Vote’s President and Vice President of the board have made thousands in contributions nearly exclusively to Democrat candidates and none to Republicans.
The parent organization mentioned above is the far-left progressive group, the Durham People’s Alliance (DPA) or also known as just People’s Alliance. The DPA is known for supporting and endorsing only progressive, democrat and controversial candidates and runs a PAC which is very politically active in Durham elections.
You Can Vote was used last year by the Guilford County Association of Educators (GCAE). The president of GCAE is NCAE/Organize 2020 leader, Todd Warren. On his GCAE profile page, Warren boasts about using You Can Vote for registration events at “20 schools” in Guilford County:
“This past year the project partnered with You Can Vote, a voter registration advocacy group, and set up voter registration events at 20 schools across the county. This project was staffed by volunteers from GCAE, PTAs, and local colleges and universities.”
This revelation lines up with Supt. Sharon Contreras announcement of a partnership with You Can Vote at the Nov. 12 school board meeting.
“In partnership with You Can Vote, a non-partisan, non-profit that seeks to empower and mobilize the community into life-long voters, Guilford County Schools is launching a voter registration and information campaign designed to register 11,000 eligible Junior and Seniors to vote in the November 2020 election,” said Contreras.
“This partnership will include providing information about the upcoming election, new voting laws and registration guidelines. We are excited about this opportunity for our children’s civic engagement,” Contreras said.
At no time during the Nov. 12 announcement or any meeting thereafter was it mentioned or voted on for students to be bused to the polls. Multiple Guilford County School board members confirmed that there was never a vote or board approval given for students to be bused to the polls.
I sent a series of questions to the school board and I was given responses by Nora K. Carr, Chief of Staff for Guilford County Schools. Below are my questions are in bold, with her responses following:
Per the response about the schedule, the materials Carr sent me can be viewed and downloaded here. It is worth noting that the schedules provided by Carr are different from the leaked ones received prior to my inquiries. From the differences found between the two schedules, it appears GCS started adding more schools after the news broke and the busing became a news story.
I also pressed for a specific GCS point of contact for You Can Vote. Carr responded with “Jonathan Permar, director of social studies PK-12, is the lead; Dr. Whitney Oakley, chief academic officer, supervises him/academics.” She did not respond to my question asking about Warren and Contreras’ involvement.
COMMON CORE (OR NOT)
There is movement on Common Core, well…no, not really. I, like many, received the following text message on Tuesday, Feb. 11:
“NC Superintendent Johnson wants to remove Common Core from NC schools. Do you? Complete this survey to guide our work, http://bit.ly/2UHuqLs. Thank you! “
News and Observer and WRAL both had articles about it.
I reached out to the Dept. of Public Instruction (DPI), who said that the text messages were ” sent to parents, caretakers, and educators statewide.”
DPI also said that “Roughly 540,000 by texts. Roughly 800,000 by email. The information was provided by parents to school districts and stored electronically for parent information and outreach.”
And the survey says…
Well, Mark Johnson got his survey results.
“More than 71,000 people completed the survey with over 78% indicating that they want NC to remove Common Core from its state standards,” said the DPI news release.
Pardon the sarcasm here, but we’re all just terribly shocked that the vast majority of people who wanted Common Core gone from the start still feel that way.
Johnson also said in the statement that there is “still a path forward.” No, Mr. Johnson, there isn’t. No candidate currently on the ballot on either side of the aisle has any designs on removing Common Core.
Johnson waited until the 11th hour of his only term as superintendent to even make mention of it because he knows there is no path forward. He has no power to change this in the time he has left. Even to a casual observer, it’s obvious that Johnson seized on this an issue give him a boost in the Lt. Governor race.
Out of Wisconsin, a horrifying case of a superintendent grooming kids for porn videos that he himself apparently filmed.
“Peggs is accused of recruiting and trafficking a minor for sex acts from October 2015 to May 2016 and creating a child pornography video involving that minor in December 2015.” (WEAU)
Peggs’ child porn images were sent to a North Carolina man, who was also arrested.
On the same day, Bryan Lee Ragon, 43, of Charlotte, North Carolina, was arrested and charged with sex trafficking of a minor, production of child pornography, transportation of a minor and receipt of child pornography. (News8000)
North Carolina teacher crime
- Thousands sign petition to have Holliday’s name removed from Laney Stadium
- Holliday’s wife resigns from position as Holly Tree Elementary Principal
- Why didn’t New Hanover County’s School Board fire Superintendent Markley?
- New Hanover County commissioners to consider $358,420 request from school board to pay Markley severance
- Did New Hanover’s School Board violate open meeting laws?
- New Hanover Sheriff clears second Roland Grise teacher of any wrongdoing.
- New Hanover substitute teacher arrested for peeing in a cup in front of students
- There’s a toxic plague in public schools
- Still no name and no charges filed on a Charlotte middle school teacher accused of exposing himself to a student and sending obscene photos. CMS told Channel 9 that the CMS teacher involved has been suspended but not been charged with anything at this point. WCNC reported it happened during school hours.
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