Education

Separate, but Equal?

In a move that could have surprised only those residents who live under rocks, The Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board voted last night against discussing a merger with the county schools. According to the Chapel Hill Herald:

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro city school board approved a resolution Thursday night that supports collaboration with the Orange County Schools instead of merger.

The resolution -- which passed unanimously -- also calls for a special district tax in the county schools, similar to the one currently paid by city school district residents. It also asks that the county school board meet with the city school board to discuss ways in which they can collaborate, and how the process should be supported financially.

Board members barely discussed the resolution, which city schools Superintendent Neil Pedersen presented at a meeting earlier this month. Instead, they talked about three proposals that the Orange County Commissioners brought forth last week.

The Politics of Education

To continue the discussion started in this thread about about endorsements and this thread about the school board race, let's discuss the politics of education in southern Orange County.

Many people including the local NAACP have long complained about the stratification in our schools, asserting that there are really two systems: one for affluent and/or gifted children and another for low-income and/or African-American students. (I know everyone doesn't fall into these categories, please allow me this generalization for the sake of discussion.)

What's at Stake in the School Board Race?

Can somebody break down the school board race for us? I know this: Incumbents Gloria Faley, Ed Sechrest and Elizabeth Carter are running. Challengers Jamezetta Bedford, Mike Kelley and George Griffin are also running. There are four seats total to be filled.

Personally I have known Gloria Faley and Elizabeth Carter for a long time and I plan to vote for them, but I am having a hard time picking my other candidates. I like Ed Sechrest and I think I will vote for him, but how do I choose from among Bedford, Kelley and Griffin.

All the newspaper articles make these candidates sound very similar. About the most substantive thing I can find is that Griffin and Kelley are critical of a Board decision to eliminate "a self-contained classroom" for "gifted" students in middle schools. Is that a suburban middle-class issue that betrays something about who Griffin and Kelley are? Or is it just plain old vote grabbing? Or is there a real, live issue there (but one which I don't entirely understand)?

Indy School Board Endorsement Misses a Good One

I was sorely disappointed with the Independent's failure to endorse School Board Vice-Chairperson Gloria Faley. I have to admit that I'm not the most consistent watcher of school board actions, but the Indy got this one all wrong. There has been no indication that Gloria ever stopped being a "refreshing, independent voice" on the Board. As a member of one of the other elected bodies Gloria addressed during the "School in a Park" debate, one who ultimately voted against her position, I saw Gloria as professional, articulate advocate -- even as some others who supported locating the school on the park land, were anything but. I hope voters in Chapel Hill and Carrboro remember that amidst the fiery rhetoric of both the School/Park issue and the recent merger fights, Gloria has been a calming voice…in large part because she approaches these issues with a reasoned mind (even if other reasoned minds sometimes disagree with her). Her leadership consistently reminds me of the value of representative government.

More Endorsements by <i>The C. H. News</i>

The Chapel Hill News has published endorsements for Carrboro Mayor and Board of Aldermen as well as Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board.

In Carrboro, the News went with a solid slate of incumbents Mike Nelson, Joal Broun, and Alex Zaffron - plus Mark Chilton. I would certainly endorse that endorsement. Anyone want to discuss the history or odds of running as an earnest write-in candidate? I haven't seen anyone do it around here before. But even if I lived in Carrboro (which I don't) and even if he was on the ballot (which he's not), I still wouldn't vote for Jeff Vanke.)

For School Board, the News goes with incumbents Elizabeth Carter and Gloria Faley (who rock), pseudo-incumbent Ed Schrest, and over-qualified George Griffin.

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