Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"The List"

The latest on the School Board’s ever-changing list of year-round conversions (as of Wednesday)---here or here---take your pick!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Four Schools Dropped From Year-round Conversion List

This just in:

This afternoon, the School Board dropped four elementary schools from the 2007-08 mandatory year-round conversion list. According to the News and Observer, the schools are: Carver, Combs, Cedar Fork and Wakelon.

A Great Turnout!

Thanks to all who came out to Southeast Raleigh High School tonight for the public hearing on mandatory year-round school conversion in Wake County. The fact that over fifty citizens spoke, and all but one or two were against forced year-round school attendance, should really make the school board members realize we’re not just going to go away and be quiet. I just wish all of us had had adequate time to say everything we wanted to say. I gave school board members a sheet which has more extensive and specific information, and I passed out a few copies to others at the meeting. Please download the pdf version of it here, and share it with anyone who will read it.

(Adobe Acrobat software is needed to read the pdf. If you do not have that package, you can get it for free.)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Public Hearing Monday Night

Don’t forget the public hearing Monday night, August 28. School Board members will listen to comments concerning the proposal to convert 23 elementary schools to mandatory year-round. If you plan to go, make sure you check the restrictions and specifics here.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Give Me a Break!

When I saw the headlines in the News and Observer Friday morning, I had to laugh as I shook my head. The large letters at the top of the front page read, “Public Schools Start With a 1-Day Week”. Oh my goodness, what has the world come to?! Whoever heard of starting school on a Friday?!? How alarming!

The article went on to discuss why such a decision would ever be made, and to share various opinions on the matter. I’m sorry, but with all that’s going on nationally and locally, I find it hard to believe that this was worthy of a headline story. What was the big deal? Then I realized what “agenda” was being promoted. Opponents of the 2004 school calendar law, which kept intact the traditional school schedule, were once again trying to paint the law in a negative light. They even went so far as to question the “impact on educational quality” of starting school on a Friday. I kid you not! Do they really think teachers did anything differently today (Friday) than they would have done on any other first day?

The school calendar law, which they “blame” for causing the horrid Friday start date, sets August 25 and June 10 as parameters within which local districts can form their own calendars. Some districts waited until Monday to start. Besides, as the article points out, starting school on a Friday was actually favored by many teachers and parents.

Look for the law to be branded the culprit in almost any negative happening in schools this year. Certain state education administrators and decision-making groups are going to great lengths to paint the law in the worst possible light. You can believe that they will be lobbying hard in the next General Assembly session to change wording so that the law will be rendered ineffective. That way, school districts across North Carolina can go back to starting school in late July or early August, which will make the eventual transition to mandatory year-round schools easier. Not to mention the fact that these education “leaders” will grab back power that they “lost” to parents, teachers, and other concerned citizens who were instrumental in getting the law passed.

Monday, August 21, 2006


Letters such as these, in today’s N&O editorial section, need to be sent in by the hundreds! We see so many articles/opinions “putting down” opponents of mandatory year-round schools. Please keep speaking up, loud and clear!!!!!

Fine for Its Fans

Informed and Against

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


The following is from Keung Hui’s blog (News and Observer) and, in my opinion, is a prime example of why School Board members should be elected countywide, and not by district. I wish it would be published in the newspaper itself.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Year-round balance
The mood got testy Tuesday when school board member Ron Margiotta presented a document showing by board member district where the existing and proposed year-round elementary schools are located.
Although administrators spread the list of 23 proposed elementary school conversions around the county, the chart shows some board districts have more than others:* District 1 (Northeast Wake): six schools* District 2 (Southeast Wake): four schools* District 3 (North Raleigh): three schools* District 4 (East Raleigh): no schools* District 5 (South Central Wake): two schools* District 6: (Central Raleigh): no schools* District 7 (West Raleigh/Morrisville): three schools* District 8 (Southern Wake): five schools* District 9 (Western Wake): no schools
The board members with no schools — Beverley Clark, Rosa Gill and Eleanor Goettee — were objecting the most to discussing the chart. Goettee said they don’t make decisions by district.
Other board members questioned whether the schools were truly being equitably distributed.
Board Chairwoman Patti Head ended the bickering by saying they needed time to digest the information first.
Posted at 06:00 am by Keung Hui

Monday, August 14, 2006

Correction / Apology

I just found out that there is not a Committee of the Whole or full Board meeting tomorrow (Tuesday). According to Keung Hui on WakeEd, the only two meetings tomorrow are committees: a 9:30 AM Facilities Committee meeting, and a 12:30 PM Policy Committee meeting, neither of which will have a public comment period. I humbly apologize if you’ve been inconvenienced by my earlier post (since corrected). I am attempting to run the blog via proxy(my husband) while I am in Greensboro this week visiting family, where I have no computer or Internet access.

Friday, August 11, 2006

A Reminder

I appreciate all that you are doing in the continuing battle against forced year-round school attendance in Wake County! Some of you have received short, non-committal answers from General Assembly members that you have contacted. Please don’t let their responses discourage you! I can assure you, the more they hear about what these conversions will really mean for Wake County, the more involved they will become. They might not publicize their involvement, but you would be surprised at what can take place (and already is taking place) behind the scenes. Legislative action might not be in the picture, but as citizens of Wake County, these members have just as much interest in the future of their community as we do. So please, continue to urge others to contact these individuals. Remember, numbers matter!!

Correction on the paragraph below. According to Keung Hui on WakeEd, the only two meetings tomorrow are committees: a 9:30 AM Facilities Committee meeting, and a 12:30 PM Policy Committee meeting, neither of which will have a public comment period.

Also, just a reminder about the School Board meeting on Tuesday, August 15: At the 12:00 Committee of the Whole meeting, the topic of discussion is to be mandatory year-round conversions of Middle Schools. If you wish to speak, you can sign up prior to the 2:00 meeting, and express your thoughts for 3 minutes. An overwhelming show of opposition to this proposal would speak volumes.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Schools Proposed For Conversion

Twenty-three schools were recommended by the WCPSS Administration to be converted to mandatory year-round calendar for next year. See the N&O story here. The WCPSS website story says:

The school system will continue to seek public input on the transition of some elementary schools to the year-round calendar. The public will have the opportunity to share their thoughts, ideas and concerns with the Board via the school system's website,, beginning this week and next week will be able to sign up at to speak at the August 28 public hearing.”

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Keep Summer As A Choice For Families!

An excerpt from an essay in TIME magazine this week:
“The Sweet Surprise of Summer Freedom”
“But with children in the summer, surprise is a summons to stretch. You can't schedule it. But you can welcome it, serenade it when it comes along. Above all, try not to be scared of it. Surprises, by their nature, come in disguise, masked sometimes as a disappointments or detours when they are in fact dreams turning solid, if you'll just step aside and give them some air.”

Friday, August 04, 2006


I RECEIVED WORD late yesterday that on this coming TUESDAY, AUGUST 8, Wake County Public School staff will present to the School Board, at their 12:00 meeting, a list of schools it recommends for year-round conversion in 2007. This presentation was not to have taken place until AUGUST 15, giving parents a little time to organize and implement plans to continue fighting these conversions prior to the specific naming of schools. Now, however, most parents will be blindsided by the last-minute date change. It appears that even some of the School Board members may have been blindsided by the administration releasing to the press a preliminary list of schools even before next Tuesday’s meeting! I have just returned from a family vacation myself, and I’m sure others will return next week only to find that schools have already been announced for probable conversion to mandatory year-round attendance.

PLEASE – it is imperative that opponents of the forcing of year-round schools continue to let their voices be heard loud and clear. I know it seems like useless, wishful thinking, but these conversions are not inevitable! There is too much at stake to let that assumption weaken our resolve.

WHAT TO DO? First of all, I realize that some of you see an advantage to the last–minute change of dates. Perhaps, by seeing a list of schools now, more parents will mobilize. That would be great. If, however, you agree that the change was an attempt to throw parents off guard, please email / call ALL of the School Board members and voice your disapproval. Also, it would be a good idea to copy your letter to Chuck Dulaney and Superintendent Del Burns. Click here for a convenient email link. Here is the contact page for phone numbers and postal addresses for School Board members.

Secondly, I have talked individually with some members of the Wake County delegation to the General Assembly, and I would strongly urge you to call, write AND email ALL 13 of them and share in a very personal way why mandatory year-round school attendance would be detrimental to your family. If you wrote to School Board members in the past, you might want to use that letter as a guide. Be specific. Some of these legislative members are “on our side”, but they have got to know that the grassroots movement against this plan is alive and widespread. Please pass this on to anyone you know that shares your views! Numbers speak loudly to these folks! Even though the General Assembly has adjourned, messages are still received. In fact, now they actually have time to focus on things of this nature!

Thirdly, the Petition Against Mandatory Year-Round School Attendance in Wake County has been “on the back burner” since summer began. If you have not signed it, please do so now, and spread the word to others who have not signed it. Put your comments in the space provided there. This petition is a great way for you to make your opinions known. I assure you that I will heighten the visibility of this petition and your comments to the Wake County School Board, the WCPSS Administration, Wake County Commissioners, and Wake County members of the General Assembly.

OTHER OPTIONS seem few and far between, and certainly no ideal solution exists. In my opinion, however, limited sacrifices in other areas are preferable to the devastating repercussions of massive mandatory year-round conversion. I am not endorsing any single solution, because I think there are still some out there that have not yet surfaced. Options I have heard include: asking for a temporary waiver on the reduction of third grade class sizes (not a major change); filling all possible year-round seats with volunteers first (the board refuses to check this out to see what the outcome might be); more creative use of existing buildings that could be transformed into schools; raising the cap on charter schools; – and the list goes on.

REMEMBER that even after specific schools are listed by name for probable year-round conversion, nothing is set in stone. I personally appreciate your commitment to keep up the fight – it’s easy to get discouraged, I know---Don’t forget to follow up as soon as possible on the “What To Do?” recommendations, and urge others to do the same.

Thank you

Update: Even though some of the members of the General Assembly lost their primary election, it won't hurt to contact them about your concerns because they still officially represent their districts until newly elected members are sworn in after the November election.