Busy Night

Big meetings tonight:

I don't have time to write all that I want to say aboust these right now, but I'll try to post an update later...

Boycotting What?

Happy Thanksgiving all!

This may go down as one of the least effective protest tactics ever. The Chapel Hill Herald reports that a group of parents in the county school system (ie: northern Orange County) are calling for a boycott of businesses in Chapel Hill (ie: southern Orange County) to protest the disparity in school funding.

Now I sympathize with their cause, but

  1. local businesses have nothing to do with the special district tax on homeowners that raises more money for the southern schools,
  2. they pay the same amount to the county - who funds both systems - as any other business in the county, and
  3. is anyone going to notice that these 20 people and maybe a few of their friends aren't schlepping down 86 to come shopping here? How often do they shop in Chapel Hill and Carrboro anyway?

Am I missing something? Is there a reason why anyone should care about this? Why are they leaving Carrboro out? (Someone must love Weaver Street Market.) Couldn't they think of a better name than "Rural Orange Boycotts Chapel Hill?"

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)?



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