Forcella comment inappropriate
In my 20-plus years working in education, I’ve grown accustomed to poor thinking and loose language from school superintendents.
But Tom Forcella’s grossly inappropriate comment in his recent farewell column (CHN, July 17) goes beyond the merely self-serving and evasive communication we’ve heard from him for the five years and into a whole new level of impropriety.
“As I reflect on recent events in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and Dallas, I am more convinced than ever as a school district we need to examine more than test scores to adequately address issues of race and equity.”
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Drawing any connection at all between an enduring achievement gap in our school district and the recent tragic events in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas makes no sense and is, at the very least, irresponsible in its implications.
After a dozen years living in this school district, and many interactions with administrators and board members, I’m not at all surprised that we have an enduring achievement gap and why, as Mr. Forcella contends, the reasons for its existence still “confound” us decades after desegregation.
We have one of the biggest achievement gaps of any district in the nation. Our board members pledged to our community to hire a superintendent whose top mission would be to rectify this.
Clearly, they got it wrong when they hired Mr. Forcella. God help us if they can’t get it right this time.
Founder, Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc.
How many more gun deaths?
A mere two weeks after the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile shocked the American public, and less than a week after the memorial service for five police officers slain by a sniper in Dallas, Baton Rouge is mourning the deaths of three officers at the hands of a lone civilian gunman.
Early last Sunday morning, officers responded to reports of an armed man at a shopping center. The man opened fire, killing three officers and wounding three more before he was killed.
North Carolinians Against Gun Violence condemns this latest in the strongest terms possible. This unspeakable violence is fueled by a culture in which guns are easy to obtain and the taking of human life has become a normalized solution to conflict. We stand with the family members and colleagues of the slain officers, and with those who were wounded and survived.
In his remarks about the shooting, President Barack Obama reminded the American people that we must not allow ourselves to be divided by the cycle of violence: “Five days ago, I traveled to Dallas for the memorial service of the officers who were slain there. I said that that killer would not be the last person who tries to make us turn on each other. Nor will today’s killer. It remains up to us to make sure that they fail. That decision is all of ours. The decision to make sure that our best selves are reflected across America, not our worst – that’s up to us.”
North Carolinians Against Gun Violence
Put rail on hold
It is time for local leaders to put a hold on the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit project and ask for Plan B – a forward looking plan for transportation that connects the entire region – and that is based on accurate information about growth, demand and technology.
Low-income communities who really need public transportation are left out of the plan that serves UNC and luxury living in downtown Durham. Two weeks ago when I met with leaders of the Alston Avenue community, I got an earful on how unhappy they are about light rail. This eastern Durham community was exploited to garner support for project, and was conveniently cut out in early planning stages. So now Alston, along with NCCU, Durham Tech and most low-wealth communities in Durham and Orange won’t have public transportation – since most of the funds are going to Light Rail.
What we can agree on is the state’s Strategic Transportation funding formula does not provide the $400 million in state funds needed for the DOLRT project – and there’s growing concern about changing demand due to development throughout Chapel Hill, Chatham and Mebane. None of the new growth areas will be served by DOLRT, and there’s no money left to provide transportation where its needed.
There’s growing concern about changing demand due to development throughout Chapel Hill, Chatham and Mebane. None of the new growth areas will be served by DOLRT.
Makes no sense to me
The proposed light rail line between Chapel Hill and Durham makes absolutely no sense to me.
Unless you live within a quarter-mile of a station and your destination is also within a quarter-mile of a station, you’re not going to use it. If you’re not fit enough, a quarter-mile may be too far. If you have many things to carry, you’re not going to use it. You’ll use your car instead.
If you do the math, that’s an exceedingly small percentage of the population that will actually use light rail. I calculate less than 1 percent.
Why are we even thinking about spending $2 billion (which I claim is an underestimate) on something that benefits so few people? I think the answer is that some heeled people have bought property along the proposed line of the light rail and need light rail to make money off of their investment.
A GOP divided
Two weeks ago, North Carolina got a chance to see the stark contrasts between presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
First, Trump’s Republican Party remains deeply divided. Gov. Pat McCrory and Senator Richard Burr were nowhere to be found during Trump’s visit to Raleigh. Not sure why. They are just as irrational as he is. By contrast, the Democratic Party has united behind presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton.
Second, Trump’s campaign is lagging far behind in fundraising and infrastructure. Clinton’s campaign is firing on all cylinders, and the Democratic Coordinated Campaign is already out knocking on doors and winning votes for November.
Finally, and most importantly, is the sharp contrast between the candidates themselves. When Trump uses hate speech, such as suggesting a religious test for entry into America and that non-white judges can’t be impartial, he makes it clear that his campaign is about driving people apart.
Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, is all about bringing people together. As she said last week in Charlotte, she has a vision for a future where “we do great things together not as red states and blue states, but as the United States.”
We have a clear choice in November, a chance to vote for Hillary Clinton and in favor of unity, against xenophobia and hateful rhetoric.
Too loose with labels
The letter “Trump a problem-solver” (N&O, July 12) argued that as a “socialist, “ Hitler was a “left-wing demagogue.” While the letter-writer’s claims are understandable in the context of American politics, the matter is less clear when talking about the political situation in other countries.
In international politics, “liberals” espouse viewpoints that differ from their country’s political orthodoxy. “Conservatives, “ on the other hand, hold viewpoints more aligned with the traditional belief systems of their country.
Take Russia’s political spectrum, for example. Russian “liberals” are free-market homophobes (think Putin), and the Russian “conservatives” are communist.
Any leader who calls for “taking their country back” or “the glory of the past” is espousing conservative sentiments. The Third Reich was a reference to Germany’s “glory days” as the Holy Roman Empire of AD 962-1806 (First Reich) and the German Empire of 1871-1918 (Second Reich).
The terms “left wing” and “right wing, “ while easily applicable to specific ideologies in America, are based on the seating chart of Congress and thus do not always work when applied to other countries.
On a sidenote, party names and ideologies are notoriously unaligned. Take Britain’s Liberal Democrats, the ideologically centrist party that often forms coalitions with the Labour or Conservative parties.
Steven C. Williams
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