Accreditation group puts Wake on 'warned' status


A letter from AdvancED say there are "significant challenges facing Wake County Public Schools."

Accreditation is important because many colleges use it to rank potential students and it's also a factor in some scholarships.

AdvancED notified Wake County it planned to investigate last year after a new majority on the school board moved to do away with the district's old student assignment policy that favored diversity in favor of adopting a plan that sent students to schools closer to their homes.

The NAACP filed a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department and the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education based on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, saying that Wake's new policies violate that law which says that the recipients of federal funds cannot discriminate on basis of race, color, or national origin.

Federal investigators were also in town Wednesday. Several meetings were scheduled with Laura Evans from the Growth and Planning Department, Superintendant Tony Tata, and former members of the school board's Student Assignment Committee. Investigators are expected to meet with the NAACP on Thursday morning and school board members next month.

The results of the AdvancED review were presented to board members and Superintendant Tony Tata Wednesday morning.

"I welcome this input as I continue my listening tour of Wake County. We are already attacking many of the recommendations and intend to aggressively implement all of them," Tata said in a statement.

A news release from the district said Wake "will work over the next eight months to implement the action steps. In November, a review team will conduct another visit to monitor progress.

It said the seven action steps required by AdvancED are:

  • Analyze and revise the "node" system of assigning students to schools to ensure objectivity, transparency and consistency.
  • Establish and implement an agenda setting process to ensure that every member of the Board of Education and key system leadership are well-prepared for each Board meeting.
  • Define in policy the purpose and role of adopting resolutions as a governance practice.
  • Provide ongoing cohesive and consistent training to all members of the Board of Education regarding their roles n, responsibilities and strategic direction of the school system.
  • Institute a policy review, revision, and adoption process that support related board policy development.
  • Ensure that policies and procedures guiding the work of the system are in alignment and support of the newly formed mission, vision and core beliefs.

The district said Tata requested that the findings of the report be expedited, so he could incorporate them into his work plan for his first 90 days as superintendent.

"I think AdvancED has provided us a thorough analysis that we can incorporate into the strategic planning that is already underway on the next student assignment plan," Tata said. "As a learning organization this input will help us shape the thinking of the task force as well as improve how we perform as a district."

Read the letter from AdvancEd here.

Read the report from AdvancEd here.

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