Lackluster school board race

Does anyone know what became of the many "diverse" candidates who were vying for the empty school board seat back in December? It's not that I'm unsupportive of Pam, Lisa, or Jeff, but I can't think of anything that differentiates these three on any issues.

Is the public just worn out by school controversy? Does no one want to think about our ailing schools for awhile? It's a shame. "No Child Left Behind" is leaving our children behind. We are spending too much time and money measuring, and not enough time teaching. We're losing sight of the social, cultural, and spiritual needs of our children.

Internationalist honors Liz Brown

Chapel Hill Herald, Saturday July 23, 2005

Last week, Internationalist Books give this year's Bob Sheldon Award for social justice to Orange County school board member Liz Brown.

I was surprised that Brown was even in the field of vision of the Ibooks volunteers.

After all, these are people known for their engagement with U.S. and international issues, whose concern is with globalization and war, not school budgets and the three Rs. I suspect Brown was not well-known around Ibooks before last week.

Consider the other nominees. Ibooks board member Michal Osterweil said of nominee Vinci Daro "one of the most amazing things about Vinci is that she participates in many of the most important protests internationally and serves as a tremendous resource and thinker for developing effective alternatives here, and yet she is so modest and effective, that often you don't even know how much a project has depended on her work and her inspirational energy."

Liz Brown wins 2005 Sheldon Award

I just got this news from my friends at Internationalist Books & Community Center. It's great to see they are continuing to address important local issues with this award.

Each year, Internationalist Books and Community Center of Chapel Hill recognizes a member of the Triangle community who carries on their deceased founder Bob Sheldon's work and breathes life into his legacy by being gentle and persistent, being radical and free-thinking, being playful and patient, and leading by example.

This year, Internationalist Books is happy to announce that Orange County Board of Education member Liz Brown will receive the 2005 “Bob Sheldon" Award. Liz will receive this award for her ongoing efforts to bring forth equality in Orange County's educational system.

Liz Brown will receive the Award on Friday, July 15, 2005 at the Internationalist Bookstore's annual member party. The party and award ceremony, open to the public, will begin at 7:00 PM at The Skylight Exchange & Nightlight located at 405 ½ Rosemary St. in Chapel Hill.

Student self-determination

Maybe I am overly swayed by the convincing arguments for children's suffrage laid out on last week's West Wing, but I think that a recent proposal from the Chapel Hill High Civics Club to have a student serve on the school board makes a lot of sense. This would probably be a non-voting position, but I have also heard of students getting elected directly to the board (which is pretty impressive considering few of their peers are old enough to vote).

Locally, students have been active in board discussions -- although not as members. Most recently, Chapel Hill High students complained that they hadn't been more involved in a discussion of changing the high school schedule.

Students have lined up to speak at recent school board meetings, and hundreds attended a forum they planned at Chapel Hill High to tell district officials they didn't want block scheduling.

Be a mentor

Guest Post by Jane Peppler
Cross-posted at Pratie Place

For twenty-two years I've been a mom, but my younger child will graduate this spring and the house will get mighty quiet. Hmm, choices. I could become a pet nut, replacing teenage music with barking, chirping, or mewing. But I'd rather keep young energy in my life. That's why I took the daunting job of directing a high school chorus, and that's why I joined the Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate Program.

A mentoring program pairs you with a kid who lives in disadvantaged circumstances but has a "spark" and can flourish with some extra help. We're not just friends (Big Buddies or Big Brothers) and not just tutors. We're also advocates for our kids in the school system. By having fun, talking about life, going places they (or we) have never been before, we try to inspire them to keep their eyes on the prize - for instance, on enjoying and staying invested in school through high school and then hopefully going to college.



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