Richard Olson: A school system’s failures

February 20, 2014 

Regarding your Jan. 24 news story “Few take chance to bend superintendent’s ear” and your subsequent editorial: A small group of concerned citizens has worked hard for years to bring the plight of Eastern Wake County schools to the attention of the administrators, the public and elected officials.

While our school board members and administrators have tried to figure out the solution to low-scoring schools in Eastern Wake County, many teachers were already tackling the issues. These teachers have been working hard to keep the best and highest achievers from leaving Eastern Wake and attending magnets. They have pushed academics and made classes and extracurricular activities exciting. The continued positive attitude was contagious, and kids would talk about the school happenings to magnet kids, who then wanted to be a part of it. Eastern Wake County had a foothold on the ramp to success.

We are disappointed with school board members for not educating administrators on what the goals and expectations have been for Eastern Wake County. The first priority has been to find a way to retain the best teachers. Most of Eastern Wake’s problems are the result of local administrators not backing their teachers. Eastern Wake County has lost some excellent teachers because of forced resignations. Where were our school board members when it was brought to their attention that administrators had threatened our teachers with their livelihood? The board members admitted they never followed up, only forwarding our letters to the same administrators who were making the threats.

Working in Eastern Wake County is no dream job. No one is beating down the door to work out here. These administrators and board members just do not get it. Who are these people who wield so much power over our teachers that they destroy any enthusiasm from our teachers? What our teachers need is support, not threats.

Eastern Wake County has an abundance of it own problems. Administrators treat problems here the same as they would in Cary or North Raleigh. There is no waiting list of top-notch teachers fighting to take the place of the excellent teachers we already have. As history has proven, Eastern Wake County schools are just a stepping stone to a better opportunity across town.

In the end, school board members are just politicians. They want you to think they care, but they do not want to be involved in overseeing the administrators. That’s not fun. The problem is, the administrators need direction. They are lost.

Your editorial about the lack of people who attended the meeting with the superintendent stated that the silence was deafening. I have given up on this system. I cannot wait for my daughter to graduate. For years, we have talked about the issues of Eastern Wake County. We have no more interest in giving school board members, administrators and politicians more photo ops. The school system needs to do what it gets paid for: Act on its priorities and quit blaming the people of Eastern Wake County for its failures.

Richard Olson

Former president, Knightdale High School PTSA

Knightdale

The length limit was waived to allow a fuller response.

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