This’ll just take a second….

This is a bit off the beaten path, but I am hoping you won’t mind my bringing a few noteworthy points to your attention before you delve into the 4 new posts below…

Firstly, if you have not yet noticed, the url of this site is slightly different.

Instead of the rather lengthy….

Our New Web Address is:

******So, make sure you BOOK MARK our new URL now******

But no need worry…. The old address will still work just fine.  No one’s

Moved Your Cheese...”

More importantly, as we approach the new – and what will certainly be an extremely long – Long Legislative Session, our goal – the purpose of – has not changed .  We hope to provide a timely, accurate, no frills/no spin connection to whats going on in the world of North Carolina Education Policy.

But there’s a critical component missing. Input, feedback, and direction from our readers.  Any alternative would incomplete, one-sided, and stagnant; and well, that’s not how we roll.

We’re gonna keep blogging.  The previews and the summaries will keep coming.  But before we really get rolling again…

We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Is this blog as useful to you as it could be?

What would you like to see more (or less) of?

Are there specific topics you would like to see highlighted?

Please, take a few minutes and give us a piece of your mind

We look forward to your comments and suggestions.

Thank you and KEEP READING.

Remember to Vote November 2nd,

Joel Maynard



J.B. Buxton is an education consultant and former deputy state superintendent for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. He wrote this for the News & Observer.

RALEIGH – Wait, I’ve seen this movie before – and it doesn’t end well. The Wake County school board’s draft student assignment maps are out. It appears this approach would give us more high-poverty and racially segregated schools, fewer magnet seats in downtown schools and the continued need for significant busing. This is the Charlotte story.

However, to hear the Wake board tell it, recent progress in student performance in Charlotte proves that achieving balance in student assignment doesn’t matter. It’s a stunningly cynical conclusion. And it’s wrong.

In 2005, four years after the assignment plan was put into place, Superior Court Judge Howard Manning described Charlotte as guilty of “academic genocide” in some of its high schools and demanded local and state officials take immediate action. In the past four years, under the leadership of Superintendent Pete Gorman, the district has taken aggressive and innovative steps to improve teacher and principal effectiveness, turn around failing schools and raise student performance. Progress is being made, and the superintendent and board deserve praise for their commitment to aggressive and sustained action.

But, make no mistake: Charlotte’s student assignment plan was not part of the solution – it was part of the problem. Progress has resulted from actions taken to address challenges created in part by the assignment plan. It has also meant higher levels of local spending in Charlotte than in Wake ($429 more per student according to latest state data). The result? Levels of performance that Wake has had for years.

Which prompts the question: Why do we want to repeat this history? If anything, the lesson is that the Wake board majority’s approach will make the challenge of improving student performance a lot harder. Harder to attract and keep teachers. Harder to educate students in schools with vastly increased numbers of students with academic challenges. Harder to build broad support for school bonds and investment in public education.

And not only will student achievement suffer, but also home prices and business recruitment. Why else would the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce agree to help foot the bill on a consultant to draw up a student assignment plan that provides stability and student diversity? The chamber is acting to safeguard the quality of our local work force and attractiveness of the county.

My preference would be to learn from the Charlotte story, skip the student assignment scenes and go straight to the part about aggressive reform and innovation. It would be exciting to have a school board that leads a community debate about the best strategy to prepare all students for the world of work and higher education. But this is where Wake’s similarities with Charlotte appear to end.

While the Wake board is at home talking about how to change maps and zones, it seems unwilling – or unable – to discuss how to improve teaching and learning. This board has no plan for addressing student achievement and graduation rates. Nothing. It is taking no action to better prepare our students for college and careers. None. The current board majority came into office arguing that Wake’s diversity policy was not working and that student assignment was no strategy for student achievement. Their response: a new student assignment policy. Are they serious?

Across America, there has been an unprecedented level of innovation in public education over the past year. We are in the midst of an era of aggressive innovation.

In Wake County? Nothing. It’s as if we are living in a bubble, oblivious to the innovation happening around us. Teachers and principals deserve better. Our students, communities and businesses will suffer from this profound lack of leadership on the reform front.

Given the reality that we are going to adopt some kind of new assignment plan, we should demand two things from the board:

Don’t repeat Charlotte’s mistakes and implement a plan that costs more and makes teachers’ jobs harder. There is no valid educational or job readiness rationale for increasing high-poverty and racially segregated schools. And with a plan that looks to still include significant busing, there is no fiscal rationale, either.

Get serious about aggressive action to improve student performance. We should expect more from our school board majority in its first year than some draft maps. After all, when disadvantaged students who are base students in the Southeast Raleigh magnet schools are assigned to their same schools under this new plan, do school board members expect their performance to magically improve?

Doing only one thing at a time means children would wait three years for the board to turn to student performance. That’s half a student’s elementary career, three-quarters of high school or an entire middle school experience. That’s a dereliction of duty.

Based on the board majority’s current vision, we could have an assignment plan that doesn’t significantly reduce busing, increases high-poverty and segregated schools and delivers all the challenges that Charlotte experienced. And with no bold action to improve student performance. That’s not good enough for Wake County.



Click HERE for the article:



From the Charlotte Observer:

RALEIGH, N.C.- A conservative-leaning group has plunged into North Carolina’s General Assembly races, sending out mailers questioning the votes of two top Democrats that raised taxes last year.

Civitas Action, which calls itself an education group, has sent out a pair of campaign mailers in recent days targeting Democratic House Speaker Joe Hackney and Senate leader Marc Basnight, according to Francis DeLuca, president of its parent group, the John W. Pope Civitas Institute.

DeLuca said Tuesday that the mailers by non-profit Civitas Action mark the first time the group has entered into direct voter education. He said the effort wasn’t coordinated with any candidates or a political party.

The report shows Civitas Action has much more money at its disposal. The group has received nearly $265,000 since Aug. 2, more than 70 percent of which came from…

To read more:



From the Charlotte Observer:

As dozens argued to keep Davidson IB Middle School open, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board chair said closing schools may be the best hope of saving teacher jobs next year.

“We all know what we’ve been through the past two years, and unfortunately, the next two are going to be tougher,” board Chair Eric Davis told about 120 people who came to Hopewell High Thursday for a forum on school changes in 2011-12.

Most were supporters of Davidson, a high-performing International Baccalaureate magnet with only 250 students, in what officials call the district’s most dilapidated…

Read more:


RALEIGH — Concern about gender equity and not elimination of Wake County’s diversity-based student assignment policy appear to have cost the school district $10.3 million in federal magnet school grant money.

A reviewer who repeatedly questioned whether Wake was doing enough to recognize gender differences, particularly helping minority males, gave a much lower score than two other reviewers.

The reviewer’s low score helped knock Wake out of the running for a hunk of the $100 million in federal magnet money issued last week to 36 recipients, money aimed….

Click Here to View the N& O Article



From the North Carolina Public Schools Website

The State Board of Education yesterday approved a new student and school accountability model to begin in 2013-14 that focuses on college and career readiness. These changes are part of the state’s Career & College: Ready, Set Go! plan for education in North Carolina.

The new model – under development for more than two years – has two primary purposes: diagnosing student learning to ensure students are on track…..

Click Here to View the Article

More articles here:


Gov. Perdue Establishes the Governor’s Education Transformation Commission

Gov. Bev Perdue signed Executive Order 65 Monday, establishing the Governor’s Education Transformation Commission which will advise the Governor and provide oversight on the use of the Race to the Top funds and coordinate the use of these funds in order to implement the Career and College: Ready, Set, Go! Initiative across North Carolina.

“Part of my pledge for Ready, Set, Go! is that every student, no matter where he or she lives, will have access to a quality education. The Education Transformation Commission will help to coordinate and streamline efforts toward that goal,” said Perdue.

The Governor appointed Dr. Bill Harrison, chair of the State Board of Education, and the Governor’s Advisor for Education Transformation as the chair of the Commission.

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