A critic of the Wake County school board says more attention should be given to a report showing how middle-school enrollment in Algebra I for minority and low-income students sharply increased under the the leadership of former Superintendent Tony Tata.
In a blog post Sunday, Allison Backhouse questions why the school system isn’t talking publicly about the “ Middle School Math Acceleration and Equitable Access to 8th Grade Algebra: Evidence from the Wake County Public School System” report released in June by Harvard University. The report looked at how enrollment in Algebra I increased when Tata and the former Republican board majority made it an emphasis to use SAS EVAAS data to place more students in the class.
The report noted how “compliance with the policy became stronger over time as a result of a powerful directive from the superintendent (Tata).” Future reports will look at the performance of the students in the course and track them through high school.
Backhouse, who was the campaign manager for former Republican board chairman Ron Margiotta, notes how the current Democratic board majority was critical of the placement guidelines and questions how well implementation will occur going forward.
“Acknowledgment of this success by the Tata-hating School Board would be extolling the virtues of Tata's leadership and decisions,” Backhouse writes. “That will simply never happen.
And, considering Board members haven't changed their opinion on the capabilities of poor and minority children, don't hold your breath on any mention of this paper any time soon.”