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

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Wake County Gang of Five and AFP Push Forward to Corral Poor Children in Charters

As the Tea Partiers in Wake County celebrate the return to segregated high-poverty and low achievement schools, the local Republican Women's Club is spreading the word on the corporate solution--charter testing camps--for the "failing schools" that will doubtlessly result from this new policy of containment and segregation of the poor.

So besides the social preference for apartheid schools at the John Birch Locke headquarters in Wake, there has been, all along, a financial incentive to breaking up the socioeconomic diversity plan of Wake County:  black and brown children can be ethnically cleansed in corporate charters within Raleigh, and the white children can be nurtured and sheltered behind the gates of their leafy communities on the outskirts of Raleigh, all at public expense and under corporate direction.   The unacknowledged goal, of course, is to make sure that North Carolina never again provides a majority of its presidential votes for a black man.  That result in 2008 was just too much for the white racist power structure.

The Koch Brothers' goons and their front group, Americans for Prosperity, are now criss-crossing the state buying up votes where they can and strong-arming legislators where they cannot.  Their crusade is all about removing charter school caps.   Have a look at this video to see and hear the plan that the Koch Brothers have paid to have put in place in North Carolina.

Below is a Press Release from a coalition of concerned citizens of Wake County.  They had better do more than issue press releases--their public schools are in grave danger.

Contacts: Yevonne Brannon/Patty Williams 
Tel: 919-244-6243/919-696-8059
Email: info@greatschoolsinwake.org


Students Who Live in Poverty Shoulder Burden, Board Lessening Access to Magnets
Raleigh, NC—January 27, 2011—Continuing on a path that flies in the face of public feedback received at five January hearings, the Wake County School Board fine-tuned its plan to move more than 4,000 students in the coming school year. The majority of those to be affected —nearly 90%—are economically disadvantaged students who are being reassigned to high-poverty schools.

The 2011-2012 assignment plan calls for the move of over 3,600 economically disadvantaged students to high poverty schools, as well as an increase of base students at magnet schools. In 2010-2011, the second year of the assignment plan, 1500 students were moved, affecting 46 schools.  Increasing the number of base students limits the number of applicants who can apply to magnets from outside the base attendance area, significantly impacting overall access to
the 28-year old, award-winning program. Nearly 30,000 students are currently enrolled in Wake’s magnet schools.

“For the second year in a row, the School Board is not listening to the public, undermining magnet programs, and making expensive decisions—with much of the burden borne by our economically disadvantaged students, who are being reassigned annually,” observed Yevonne Brannon, Chair, Great Schools in Wake (GSIW). “The costs and consequences of creating high poverty schools will be devastating to our community,” she continued. “We could lose millions of dollars in supplemental funding from the state, and will continue to be ineligible to apply for many federal grants, grants we’ve come to rely on. It costs substantially more to educate children in high poverty schools, and the data shows conclusively that academic achievement suffers in that challenging environment.”

According to a New York Times article (“Stronger Schools With an Income Mix,” January 26, 2011), “High poverty schools are 22 times less likely to be high performing than middle-class schools. Low-income students stuck in high poverty schools are two years behind low-income students who have a chance to attend more affluent schools.” And recently released per pupil expenditure data from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools supports the substantial costs of high poverty schools, which are, in effect, subsidized by low poverty schools. With a 95 percent poverty rate, Thomasboro Elementary spends $10,393 a year to educate its students, while $4,406 per pupil is spent at Ballantyne
Elementary, which has a 16 percent poverty rate.

“Parents came out in great numbers to the public hearings, made pleas for stability in the final year of a three-year assignment plan, but are being ignored by the Board,” noted Brannon. “Assignment stability was a campaign promise made by Board majority members. Why children are being moved—especially in the absence of a long-range, comprehensive assignment plan—is beyond comprehension and defies common sense.  With substantial growth and the need for a minimum of 33 new schools projected in the next decade, it’s clear that ALL students will be repeatedly reassigned. With a new assignment plan due next year, why wouldn’t we want to forestall the upheaval of our students?”

About Great Schools in Wake Coalition:
A project of WakeUP Wake County, Great Schools in Wake Coalition (GSIW) is a community coalition of organizations, business leaders, parents and citizen advocates who are working to ensure educational excellence in the Wake County Public School System. GSIW’s mission is to provide accurate information to educate the public about policy initiatives that would impact the quality of education, foster well-informed discussions about critical education issues, and advocate for policies that improve public education in Wake County. For more information on the Coalition or to join, please visit: greatschoolsinwake.org.

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