Education

BOCC Education Forum

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro PTA Council is sponsoring a Board of County Commissioner Forum on Education to help inform voters about the candidates running for the Orange County Board of County Commissioners. The education forum will be held on Monday, April 17, at 7 PM, at Carrboro Town Hall. The forum will be aired live on the public access channel (Time Warner channel 18) and will also be rebroadcast later. It will be moderated by Frances Henderson, Executive Director of the Dispute Settlement Center. This event is free and open to the public.

The May primaries are of great importance to our school community because the County Commissioners decide how much money is allocated to the two school systems existing in the county and determine other educational issues as well. The PTA Council has also compiled a list of questions and answers from the BOCC candidates. This survey can be accessed through the Council's website, www.ptacouncil.com. For more information about the forum and for procedures for submitting online questions for the forum, please go to the Council's website.

Small schools

Guest Post by James Protzman

In 1930, the US had 262,000 public schools for 28 million students. Guess what those numbers were 72 years later?

In 2002, the US had 91,000 schools for 54 million students. That's a drop of 170,000 schools while the student population nearly doubled. The average public school has gone from serving 100 students at a time to almost 600 students. This doesn't seem like a positive trend to me.

Here in the southern part of heaven, this trend is evidenced by our chronic difficulties in siting schools and in the growing popularity of both charter and private schools. For example, the Emerson Waldorf High School in Chapel Hill will graduate its first senior class this year. The Carolina Friends School has a growing waiting list in all grades as well. Both offer small school environments – but at a hefty price. Long gone are the days when Chapel Hill High School and Lincoln High School were both in the downtown area and young people were part of daily life in our communities. Maybe we should add “public school” to list of important assets when we think about planning the future of downtown.

Smith Level Roundabout

The Carrboro Transportation Board has recommended a roundabout at the Carrboro High School entrance at Smith Level and Rock Haven roads. My guess is that public resistance to this roundabout may be strong. (Read the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Status Report, Vol. 36, No. 7). I further doubt NCDOT and the school system will push it. My guess is that without serious community education about the difference between a modern day roundabout and a Boston rotary this proposal will go over like a lead brick.

Experimenting with gender segregation

Guest post by Eric Muller
Cross posted at Is That Legal?

My reaction to this article about an experiment in single-sex education in all core classes at a local middle school was mostly "hmmm ... interesting ... maybe a little troubling ... but interesting ..." until I got to this stunner:

All [the teacher originating the idea] knew was that she intended to retire next year after 31 years and was running out of time to test her theory [that 7th graders would learn better without the "daily drama" of interaction between the sexes].

But she and her colleagues didn't tell the superintendent or the school board, choosing to notify parents of the experiment in letters sent home Jan. 6, a Friday. They assured parents that the experiment would last a few months at most.

School of Hard Knocks

I'm a little stunned. I knew that the University was working on designing and opening a model school for 3 and 4 year olds. What I didn't know is that city schools officials and UNC have proposed a plan to remove pre-K through second grades from Seawell Elementary School and site Seawell's youngest students at “First School”--- a model FPG Child Development Institute program designed to “assure a successful school entry experience for all children.” The pressure is on to review and accept this surprising proposal quickly and to turn Seawell Elementary School into a grades 3-5 school.

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