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Archive for October 21st, 2009

Will They or Won’t They?

Will the Wake school board District 2 race be on the November ballot? For now, Wake County elections director Cherie Poucher isn’t sure since Cathy Truitt has now withdrawn her request for the runoff. That action, according to this story, is different from simply withdrawing from the race.

Poucher said Truitt’s request to rescind the runoff is a totally different issue that’s not covered under state law. She said that if Truitt had only dropped out of the race that state law would require the runoff to continue, costing more than $30,000.

“Since it’s not addressed by the law, it’s something to bring to the state board,” Poucher said.

The State Board of Elections could decide whether to hold the runoff on Monday while they meet to discuss the ongoing Mike Easley campaign finance investigation.

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“You’re not really treating the children as individuals”

Check out this conclusion from William Sanders of SAS about the distortion that occurs when adjusting for socioeconomic status of students. Sanders made the comments to Wake school board members yesterday. (emphasis is mine)

SAS responded by saying Wake’s program makes statistical adjustments based on poor students not being expected not to do as well as affluent students. The report found it can result in inequities in opportunities.

“You’re not really treating the children as individuals,” William Sanders, senior director of the SAS EVAAS division, told school board members on Tuesday. “You don’t unwittingly want to be setting different expectations for students. That’s what happens when you adjust for socioeconomic status.”

The report noted that qualified black and Hispanic students were far less likely than their white peers to take Algebra I in eighth grade. Only 40 percent of black and Hispanic students who were ready to enroll in Algebra I in eighth grade were taking the course compared to nearly 60 percent of white students.

In his blog summarizing the meeting, News & Observer reporter Keung Hui offers additional explanation about what occurred and what Sanders said. (emphasis is mine)

There was very little discussion of the SAS report itself during the presentation to the board. It may be a result of Wake now using the program more than before.

The closest it came to the report was when board member Anne McLaurin asked about SAS questioning the statistical adjustments for poverty level that Wake makes in its Effectiveness Index.

Sanders gave the example of a student from an impoverished home and another from an affluent home who have exactly the same academic history. He said adjusting for socioeconomic status would show that the impoverished child is doing better than he actually is performing.

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House Fraidy-Cats

So what are House Democrats so afraid of that they’ve resorted to changing the locks on a committee room door and won’t give a key to the GOP? From the Wall Street Journal:

Democratic staff for the House oversight committee informed their GOP counterparts today that the majority has changed the locks on the committee’s hearing room. While Republicans previously enjoyed their own key to the room, they will now have to request access from Democrats. This followed a bitter partisan argument in which Republicans refused to take down a video from their website that contradicted Dem explanations about a closed-door meeting on the Countrywide VIP loan scandal.

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