"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, February 01, 2010

The New Resegregationist School Board Members of Wake County, NC

This fall could mark the final year of Wake County's school diversity policy as the new ruling coalition on the school board develops a plan that overhauls where and how children are educated.

Next week, Wake families will start applying for seats at magnet schools this fall. But the magnet program is among the things that could be overhauled as part of a new student assignment plan school board members say they want to start implementing in the 2011-12 school year.

Members of the board majority say they plan to spend much of the next year developing details of a new plan that would carry out their campaign promises of eliminating the diversity policy, moving Wake toward neighborhood schools and revamping the magnet program.

"We're going to turn around the Titanic that is the Wake County school system," said school board member John Tedesco, who is chairman of the board's newly created student assignment committee.

Tedesco is laying out a vision in which Wake would be divided into up to 20 community-based assignment zones, each with a mixture of magnet, year-round and traditional-calendar schools. He proposes spreading magnet schools around the county - removing programs from some of the 33 existing magnet schools, most of which are clustered inside the Beltline around Raleigh.

His plan would lead to the creation of high-poverty schools in some areas, which he said could be addressed by giving such schools additional money. But the main challenge to implementing the plan may come from members of the board majority.

Tedesco's plan confirms the fears of magnet parents who've been the most vocal critics of the new school board majority. They've argued that abandoning the diversity policy and significantly altering the magnet program would lead to de facto resegregation.

"They're going to get away with saying there's still magnet programs," said Lisa Callan, a parent at Combs Elementary, a magnet school in Raleigh. "But it won't be the same. It's going to be awatered-down version."

Magnet schools are part of a carrot-and-stick approach for maintaining diversity.

While some students are involuntarily bused for diversity, others are encouraged to attend magnet schools voluntarily. Unique academic programs have been used since 1982 to entice suburban students to apply for magnet schools that are mostly located in higher-poverty areas in and near Southeast Raleigh. . . .

So that interested citizens may not be embarrassed by mistaking these folks for supporters of integration and diversity, here are the five Republicans Wake County Board members with their email addresses. Please be respectful with your letters, and keep in mind that segregationists have feelings, too--I guess.

District 8 (Southern Wake)

Mr. Ron Margiotta, Chair
7800 Secluded Acres Road
Apex, North Carolina 27523
290-2043/residence, fax
Term Expires: November 2011
E-mail Mr. Ron Margiotta (rmargiotta@wcpss.net)

A longtime businessman, Ron Margiotta (R) retired in 2000 with 40 years of experience in business. Mr. Margiotta is the founding owner and operator of Reliable Service Company, a warehouse and installation service business. Originally from New Jersey, Mr. Margiotta studied labor relations at St. Peter's College. He has served on the executive committee of the Wake County Taxpayer's Association. Prior to moving to Wake County, Mr. Margiotta was elected to a school board in the Northeast where he also served as board president for six years.

District 1 (Northeast Wake)
Mr. Chris Malone
224 W. Holding Ave.
Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587
Term Expires: November 2013
E-mail Mr. Chris Malone (cmalone2@wcpss.net)

PARTY: Republican

OCCUPATION: Case manager at G4S Compliance and Investigations

EXPERIENCE: Wake Forest town commissioner 2001-2005; past member of Wake Forest Planning Board and Wake Forest Board of Adjustments; unsuccessfully ran for Wake County Board of Commissioners in 2004

ENDORSEMENTS: Wake Schools Community Alliance, Take Wake Schools Back, Children's PAC, Wake County Republican Party

FAMILY: Wife, Becky; two sons, Christopher, 16, and Benjamin, 14; daughter, Katie, 12

DATE OF BIRTH: June 10, 1957

BIRTHPLACE: Hanover, Germany

ADDRESS: 224 West Holding Ave., Wake Forest

John Tedesco

Party: Republican

Vice President of Development


Spokesperson for segregationist


District 7 (West Raleigh/Morrisville)
Ms. Deborah Prickett
11305 Ridgegate Dr.
Raleigh, North Carolina 27617
Term Expires: November 2013
E-mail Ms. Deborah Prickett (dprickett@wcpss.net)

Mrs. Prickett (R) is presently an Education Consultant with the NC Department of Public Instruction. As a WCPSS employee for over 20 years, she served as a Counselor Mentor and Lead Counselor at Leesville MS, counselor at Southeast Raleigh HS, and Apex ES. In addition, she was a Department Chairperson and Team Leader while teaching English, Language Arts, and Social Studies. She has a Master of Arts Degree from North Carolina Central University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from North Carolina State University. Mrs. Prickett, a Raleigh native, is married with a son who attends school in WCPSS.

District 9 (Western Wake)
Ms. Debra Goldman, Vice Chair
505 Nantucket Drive
Cary, North Carolina 27513
Term Expires: November 2013
E-mail Ms. Debra Goldman (dgoldman@wcpss.net)

Ms. Goldman (R), who has a son who attends a magnet school, could be an important swing vote in the upcoming war on diversity in Wake. Nothing like self-interest to motivate a conservative:

But Tedesco could have a hard time persuading fellow new board member Debra Goldman to back his plan. Goldman, the parent of a magnet student, has shown the willingness to break from the majority on votes.

Goldman said she supports the vision of community-based schools and is interested in some magnet changes, such as adding a few new magnet schools in other areas. But she's not for making major changes to the magnet program. She's also against changing the magnet selection criteria for this fall, which Tedesco advocates.

"I want to protect the magnet system," Goldman said.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:57 AM

    The nationally lauded book, The Shame of The Nation: the Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America, (Jonathan Kozol, 2005) provides evidence of where the new school board members are leading us.

    “Segregation in the schools of New York City and its suburbs…has been accomplished by a number of forces that include discrimination, court decisions, immigration trends, and government-enforced school boundaries, but most specifically by ‘one of the nation’s highest levels of housing segregation’” (Kozol, 2005, 32).

    “In suburban Roosevelt on Long Island, as a consequence, nearly 100 percent of students at the high school are black or Hispanic. A twenty-minute drive away, at Plainview High, black and Hispanic students make up only 1 percent of the enrollment while 97 percent of students at the school are white. In numerous other districts in the areas surrounding New York City, black and Hispanic children find themselves as isolated as are children of their color in the Bronx.

    ‘We cannot be satisfied,’ said Dr. King in perhaps his best-remembered speech, delivered on the mall in Washington in August 1963, ‘as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one’” (Kozol, 2005, 32-33”).

    I am a Wake County alumna who is horrified that our school system's diversity policy, which has been held up as a national model (Remember National Superintendent Bill McNeal?)has been threatened. North Carolina's state motto is "To Be Rather Than To Seem." Let's keep ourselves honest and maintain a system that affords fair opportunities for all.

    I've read comments that educational issues within our schools need to be addressed. Great! Let's do it! But segregating our schools will only allow excellence for some. Our children deserve excellence for ALL.