DPS superintendent pick: is a Wednesday announcement on tap?
East End Connector hearing comes amidst business park interest, DCABP and small biz frowns

BCR's Daily Fishwrap Report for April 27, 2010

DPS Proposes Massive Reform for Challenged Schools: In what is sure to be a very controversial move -- and one coming just days before the District is called to account before a Wake Co. judge for the low performance of some of its schools -- DPS is proposing a plan to give its lowest performing schools four years to turn around. Continued low test scores could cause principals to lose their jobs and teachers to have to reapply for theirs, with the ultimate penalty being a closure of a school with students reassigned elsewhere, or with a charter school or other system brought in to operate the facility. Look for much more of this in the days to come. (Herald-Sun #1, #2; N&O)

Hodge Retires: Ron Hodge, the long-time deputy chief in Durham P.D. who was a finalist in the chief search that ultimately brought Jose Lopez to the Bull City top-cop job, has retired effective Apr. 1, something he had intimated he was considering for some time. (Herald-Sun)

Little Ousted: Darius Little, the one-time City Council candidate whose scrapes with the law have been well-publicized -- and with recent scrutiny over a mediation business and accusations of unlicensed practice of law and fraud, those scrapes aren't over -- was voted off the Durham Planning Commission in what continues to be an embarrassing, headline-generating story for the Board of County Commissioners. Oddly, the vote was only 3-1 in favor of the removal, with the always-quotable Joe Bowser voting to keep Little on because he said he didn't have enough familiarity with the original runner-up now appointed, Antonio Jones. That vote followed an attempt by Bowser to keep Linda Huff-Smith on the DPC after all, after the BOCC turned her out for a Republican activist. (Herald-SunIndy) Incredibly, this has managed to now consume parts of several BOCC meetings; hey Durham, just keep remembering: public meetings turn into a circus when you elect clowns to public office. 

DPS 2A Focus: The H-S follows up its candidate series looking at the school board race with profiles of the two candidates for the District 2A seat, incumbent Fredrick Davis and challenger Regina Stanley-King.

Circ Down for H-S, N&O: New circulation woes for state newspapers includes an impact at the Triangle's two local papers. The Herald-Sun's daily circulation is now down to just over 25,000, while the N&O's Mon.-Fri. numbers stand at about 138,000, rising by about 50% from that on Sundays. (N&O)

Mentoring Center Fire: The LOVE Center in North Durham, a space for free mentoring and after-school programs for kids through teenagers and which just had its first anniversary, was consumed by fire in the early morning hours on Monday. Arson is being investigated as a possible cause. (Herald-Sun)



I could potentially be very excited about the changes to low performing elementary schools.

Todd Patton

The promise of firing trachers and principals from failing schools will likely have one direct effect - high staff turnover from the best teachers as they flee from the threat of getting fired. It will become a self-fulfilling prophecy as those who can find other jobs will self select and move on.

What is needed is additional parent involvement including holding parents and students responsible for basics such as attendance, completing homework, and responsible behavior. This, combined with additional funding for extended school days, after school programs, and ESL classes to get non-English speakers up to speed, would help to bring these failing schools up to par.

DPS Teacher

I don't disagree with you Todd about holding parents accountable, but how exactly does one do that? As a very successful DPS teacher in its highest performing school, I know firsthand that parent involvement is a key to student achievement. However, in ten years of teaching, I haven't seen a viable method of holding parents accountable for anything.

My concern is that DPS will try to farm out successful teachers to low achieving schools, thus diluting the pool and bringing everyone down to a lowest common denominator. The key to success in Durham is smaller school environments and higher teacher accountability. These are things that can be controlled and monitored. Some teachers may flee the district, but to where? It's not like the grass is any greener in the mess that is Wake County Schools!

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