WakeEd offers independent research and published reports that provide the community with important information on relevant education topics. By providing clear, independent commentary, we help expand the use of evidence-based best practices to increase the quality of our schools.

The Economic Impact of the Wake County Public School System

Everyone knows public schools are funded by tax dollars. What most people don’t know is how much our schools impact the economy. WakeEd partnered with WCPSS and North Carolina State University to measure economic impact in four categories:spending impact in local economy, economic value of degrees awarded, future reduction in public costs, and economic impact on local wealth.

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Suspending Disbelief

Global competition is putting a growing demand on all graduates to meet higher standards. This pressure will require the Wake County Public School System to employ a different design to provide a world-class education. WakeEd’s Suspending Disbelief report defines those traits. Released in 2009, the report is built on one year of study with six education groups and more than three dozen community leaders. Based on the research and recommendations of the community-wide group, WakeEd’s report offers a framework for change in the schools.

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Basic Competencies: Students should have the ability to use all forms of information, especially current media and technology; develop a greater cultural awareness of their country and others; have the ability to work with others of different backgrounds; and develop skills to analyze multiple sources of information that can be used to solve real problems.

Curriculum Standards: A world-class standards curriculum focuses on fewer topics in greater depth. Flexible pathways to a diploma acknowledge four-year college degrees are not necessary for every high school graduate, but a more rigorous curriculum is needed for those going directly into the workforce. A world-class curriculum also recognizes some students are going to exceed the standards no matter how high one sets the bar. Meeting the needs of those students is also critical in a global economy. Regardless of a student’s plans after high school, the curriculum should stress digital literacy, global perspectives, and second language instruction every year.

Assessment and Testing: Continuous classroom assessment would be more important than annual high-stakes exams. More responsibility would fall to teachers to assess students’ strengths. Teachers, in turn, would be held accountable for sharing successful learning strategies with each other. Local tests would eventually be modified to include questions that would allow the public to gauge how average student performance compares to international standards.

Time: Schedules within the current school day would be redesigned to increase the amount of time that teachers and students spend in direct, engaged learning. Teachers will need more time for preparation, which will likely mean a new approach to school duties for all adults. The report anticipates a longer school year or even school day, but specifically does not call for changes in that area until the time now available is put to better academic use.

Striking a Balance: In Support of Diversity in the Wake County Public School System

Released in February 2008, this report discusses the positive impact diverse student populations have on the academic success of all children. It also addresses the Wake County Public School System’s 30-year commitment to maintaining balance in its schools.

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Recruit, Retain and Respect: A Report from the Wake Task Force on Teaching Excellence

Released at the 2005 Wake Education Summit in April, this report offers research-based recommendations for recruiting, retaining, and supporting excellent teachers for all of Wake’s public school classrooms.

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Making Choices

A report summarizing the experiences of other communities that have moved to broader school choice, and considering the research about the academic, economic, and political issues for maintaining balanced enrollment.

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All for All: Teacher Excellence for Every Child

Published in January 2001 by the Wake Task Force on Teacher Excellence, exploring issues of quality teaching in the public schools, this report influenced future work in teacher leadership by WakeEd and the Wake County Public School System.

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Small Schools, Big Changes: School Size, Student Achievement, and Parent Choice in Wake County

A report by the 2001 Issues Committee exploring current research, challenges, and opportunities for implementing small school strategies in the public schools. 

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Empowering Technology: An Evaluation of the Project Lighthouse Program

An evaluation of the Project Lighthouse technology program at Southeast Raleigh High School, published in 2004, including an analysis of the impact of technology on student achievement, teacher effectiveness, and parental communication.

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Investing in Solutions

Published in January 2003, this report discusses three direct service programs designed to mobilize community support and leverage public resources to strengthen the public schools: Great Expectations, Readers to Achievers, and Incentives for New Educators. 

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USA Conference

A follow-up to the 2002 Conference for Community Agencies Supporting Student Success, this report includes results and recommendations from the data gathered during the conference. Read Report