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  • Angela Humphries

Man Has To Struggle


Kristin Beller of the Wake North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) went on a rant at a recent Wake County School board meeting about what she considers to be “real struggles." Beller misses the mark. While she talks about respect and more pay for teachers almost always, she barely ever addresses "real struggles." She might fail to realize many families struggle in NC while not having a voice, or are flat-out ignored in schools and surrounding communities. When it comes to struggles, she should consider the old, but catchy, Van Morrison song lyrics:


"Man makes his money and they call him rich

Deep down inside he knows that life's still a b*tch

Man tries to keep things but they're taken away

Man has to struggle all the live long day " -Van Morrison


Some aren't just ignored, or voiceless. Some stand to face major disturbances in their personal lives. I keep harping on you to watch, or listen, to school board meetings, but why? It's a simple answer, really. It’s a great way to put your finger on the pulse of the community. If you don’t live in my community, simply search for your county school board and become familiar with the happenings of the school district.


While we should proceed with caution when watching, due to the many nonprofit organizations showing up on a regular basis, realize these are not the typical parents and we are intelligent and capable of discerning what’s real versus what is staged in the meetings.


Real struggles are not typically spotlighted by media outlets, or by the NCAE mouthpieces.

Everyone wants to look good on camera and this includes your schools. Consider why we’ll barely ever see a follow up story after a bus catches fire, or when reports surface about special needs children not having a district school system which is capable of providing consistent transportation. Yikes.


HOLDING THEM ACCOUNTABLE

I cannot count how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “charter schools are unaccountable,” because they don’t have an elected board. What is it about an elected board that makes people think they’re accountable to voters? Do we realize what level of damage -or improvement- a school board is a capable of in a two year span, until eventually voted out of office?


TUNING IN

About twenty Wake County parents signed up to speak at the November 2019 school board meeting and boy did they let it rip. When parents bring concerns to elected school board members, this is exactly where we need to tune in.


You might find yourself rather intrigued after hearing one mom who’s spoken twice at recent meetings with the opener that goes something like,


“Please don’t retaliate against my family.”

This doesn’t sound like something we’d say to people who are “accountable,” but sounds more like someone who has actually been retaliated against! The parent continued to inquire if civil rights apply to her daughter’s fine arts extracurricular involvement as the rights apply to sports programs.


Another parent who’s undergoing reassignment (this occurs when the government-run district forces your family into another school) said the stated purpose of reassigning kids was to remove trailers and restore programming space, neither of which are accomplished by moving her children abruptly to a new school in their k-12 careers.


Several parents reported having been reassigned more than once. Imagine that. A few reported concerns their high school reassignment places their newly licensed driver “at risk” of having longer drive time when the students could’ve easily attended their several surrounding schools as an alternative.


Words and phrases from vocal parents flooded the Public Comments portion of the meeting such as,


“force, abrupt, drastic, adverse, destabilize, uproot, lose-lose, under the gauntlet... fractured communities.”

It sounds depressing, but parents paint us a clear picture of how their families feel about having the school rug ripped right out from under them. Parents courageously brought forth a variety of concerns with the underlying theme being, why are you taking away our school?


The government-run district has planned to alter tracks and calendar years, without ever considering the parents perspective, willingness or ability to get their kids to the new school in which they’re being forced into.


While some parents scoffed at the notion these elected officials would agree to sending their young athletes to the rival school, others pointed out the hypocrisy of the latest initiatives for restorative justice practices, establishing relationships, building trust and investing in knowing children all the while lighting a match to peer and student-teacher relationships.


REASSESSING

Parents didn’t move into their homes for a shelter, but maybe retirees and single people do. Parents shopped schools, grocery stores and businesses nearby most likely before ever making the offer on their home. Moving to a neighborhood for a great school equates school choice, but don’t parents and students deserve stability too? The district is slighting current residents, only to cater to new growth, causing instability and eliminating parent’s choice. Where parents can find stability and gain freedom is in schools of choice such as public charters, online, home and private schools. These schools don't reassign.


Consider this mom’s comment:

“Don’t make us feel guilty because we moved there.”

While there may not be a perfect school out there for all of us, it certainly never hurts to keep searching for it. If elected officials are making you feel guilty by forcing your children into a school of which you disapprove, then by all means, seize the opportunity to choose an educational setting of which you do approve. Someone might want to tell Beller that while having an agreeable salary is important prior to signing an employment contract, a real struggle for many families will be the separation from their community and friends, a disruption in the name of so-called, "equity and diversity," and a long bus ride to a new and unfamiliar school... and that's just to name a few.

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