Your letters, April 2

04/15/2014 10:27 AM

04/15/2014 10:28 AM

Vouchers not the answer

In his letter (CHN, March 23), Tom Hauck stated that “Darrell Allison and his staff are working to ensure that poor or Economically Disadvantaged children, of all colors, can go to a school that will teach that child”. Unfortunately, the primary beneficiaries of the “Opportunity Scholarships” (aka school vouchers) being promoted by Mr. Allison's PEFNC lobbyist group would not be students, but rather those who stand to profit by funneling money from public schools into private hands.

Make no mistake: School vouchers do NOT improve overall achievement for economically disadvantaged or minority students. This has been proven in Milwaukee, where vouchers have been used for 21 years, and voucher students actually have lower test scores than public school students. Nor are private schools held to the same measures of accountability as public schools. In fact in North Carolina, private school teachers do not even need to be certified or pass background checks.

It is also a myth that vouchers will help a large group of needy students access private schools. Again looking at Wisconsin, 79 percent of voucher students were not attending public school before they received the publicly funded vouchers. Unlike public schools, private schools can reject applicants based on religious beliefs, disability status, test scores, and other arbitrary measures. They do not have to provide transportation or free/reduced lunches. School vouchers and charter schools also contribute to resegregation. Yes, the achievement gap is a serious issue, but creating dual school systems – private school for the most desirable students, and public school for everyone else (poor, minorities, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities) – is not the solution.

Peter Mora

Chapel Hill

How many students?

As a resident of Colony Woods, I would appreciate the publication of this short letter regarding the Ephesus-Fordham rezoning.

Do the Town Fathers, the Ephesus-Fordham Planners and the supporters of this project know how many “cabins” (mobile classrooms) are presently being utilized at the Ephesus Elementary School?

Answer: 7

Question: Where are the students from all these proposed new multiple story dwellings going to attend school?

Mary Cay Corr

Chapel Hill

A worrisome trend

Last weekend, I ran 25 kilometers to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Merge Records. The race took us from Chapel Hill to Durham, mapping the path of the record company who moved across the county line in 2001. Although I am so proud that Chapel Hill helped birth this nationally renowned label, I worry about the trend of companies growing up and moving away. Ephesus Fordham would be an opportunity to create more office space and help enterprise grow and STAY here.

I love to shop. And I always try to buy local. But there’s a retail gap in our county for every single sector, with the exception of “health and personal care stores.” I’ll continue to drink a margarita at Monterrey and grab a beer at Bailey’s, buy gifts at Purple Puddle and Twig, grab a hamburger at Evos and a latte at Market Street Coffee. But I really want to be able to buy clothes for work, craft supplies for fun, and makeup for this face in Orange County. Ephesus Fordham would be an opportunity to create more retail space and help meet current retail demand.

I know how many opportunities there are for public input in these decisions. Town meetings. At the ballot box. And we should not forget the hours and hours of work that went into the creation of a new comprehensive plan. There has been ample opportunity for the community to weigh in and I know that there will continue to be. The initial stages of the Ephesus Fordham plan began in 2006. The small area plan was approved in 2011. Now is the time to implement this plan.

Ephesus Fordham is not a loosening of rules or straying from our values. It is a commitment to those rules and a confirmation of those values.

Kristen Smith

Chapel Hill

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