Wake County Schools

Wake school board to meet with AdvanceED

Posted February 16, 2011 10:01 p.m. EST
Updated February 17, 2011 1:22 p.m. EST

— After months of tense negotiations, a national accreditation group will meet with the Wake County Board of Education on Thursday.

Atlanta-based AdvancED, the parent company of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement, plans to review the Wake County school system after a complaint filed last year by the North Carolina NAACP alleging that some board members want to segregate the school system.

The school board’s attorneys have sent e-mails and a letter, questioning the scope of the review and insisting that attorneys be able to act in the interest of board members, partly because of a legal challenge that the NAACP also filed with the U.S. Office of Civil Rights.

AdvancED has denied the requests.

School board members said they are cooperating with an investigation.

“We welcome you to Wake County, look forward with pride to be fully invested participants in your investigation,” board member John Tedesco said.

A spokesman for AdvanceED said the group is not looking at what decisions were made, but how they were made. The group's review team will include six people, who have served in various capacities including school and district leadership positions, as superintendents and on boards of education.

Every Wake school board member will interview with the group. The first interview will take place with Chairman Ron Margiotta on Thursday morning. Board member Deborah Prickett, who is one of two members who voted against the terms of the investigation, will be among the last interviewed on Friday afternoon.

The investigation stems from the NAACP complaint filed last March after the board voted to move away from a longstanding policy of busing students to achieve socio-economic diversity for neighborhood schools.

Opponents believe the move will segregate students, lead to high teacher turnovers and keep economically disadvantaged students from getting the same quality of education as their counterparts.

Supporters of the plan disagree, saying it will improve student achievement, allow parents to be more involved in their children’s education and give parents more choice.

The ongoing debate has put the national spotlight on the school system, prompting national media outlets to report on the controversy.