The Wake County Board of Education is at it again, wanting to have its cake and eat it too. It’s about the desire to establish Wake County BOE controlled Charter Schools and to set the annual starting dates for the traditional school calendar. The Democratic-controlled (actually Democratic-unanimous since Republican Bill Fletcher is a GOPer in registration only) Wake BOE will be asking the Wake County delegation to the General Assembly to ask the Republican-controlled legislature to approve a plan that makes the Wake County Schools sort of autonomous when it comes to making the rules by which schools here are governed instead of following statewide policy.
This is somewhat like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Traditionally, Republicans would prefer the local level to make the rules, especially when it comes to Charter Schools. Setting the starting dates for the traditional calendar comes with pressure to make sure exams are not carried over from mid-December to early-January. The pressure comes from parents who feel their kids are not smart enough to retain knowledge between mid-December and mid-January for end-of-semester exams.
The Wake County BOE could move ahead with both ideas without asking permission; it’s just they can’t do it the way the BOE is thinking. So, think outside your box of crayons and get creative. For Charter Schools, how likely in the name of true Charter Schools will the BOE give up the rules set forth for Charter Schools such as exempting them from some local regulation and not requiring all instructors to be certified? No, the BOE wants to make the Charter schools follow its rules, not the rules set forth by the State. The Wake County BOE just wants to regulate what it can’t. However, using the magnet school model, the BOE could move ahead with Charter-like schools if it’s flexibility from the rules and regulations it desires. Just narrow-cast the curriculum and set it up to look and feel like a Charter school. It would that in name only but it would be a magnet school.
As far as setting the starting date earlier in August to make sure exams are held prior to Christmas…er…winter break, that’s easy to do. Just flip all traditional schools to year-round, including the high schools, objectors be damned. And, if the Wake County BOE doesn’t like my many-times-mentioned and explained trimester model, use staggered quarters for high schools, following the year-round models of elementary and middle schools. This would allow the BOE to set start and stop dates that cater to those who feel their kids are not smart enough to retain knowledge from mid-December until mid-January for end of semester exams. Maybe it's the BOE members who feel that way.
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