Eastern Wake: Opinion

Editorial: Solid suggestions mark work group effort

We were pleased to see the final draft version of recommendations that will be forwarded to the Wake County Board of Education to help boost the educational experience in eastern Wake County.

The East Wake Education Work Group has been meeting roughly monthly since early spring to elucidate problems, consider strategies for addressing them and making recommendations for how the county might tackle some of the most significant of those issues.

It was, frankly, refreshing to see recommendations that were not exclusively based on teacher training and improved pay. Oh, to be sure both those recommendations were part of the mix, but there was much more involved and those who took an active part in the problem-solving process dove deeply into a number of issue areas that need the school system’s – and the entire community’s – attention.

The solutions they recommend are not entirely school-based either, which we believe is important. A flat tire, after all, can’t fix itself. Instead the ideas included in the final draft call for involvement from parents, the business community, teachers, administrators and the non-profit sector.

To be honest some of the recommendations included in the final draft are probably a little pie-in-the-sky dreaming. It’s unlikely, for instance, that WiFi will be made available to every resident in the greater Wendell-Zebulon area. And while the members of the East Wake Education Work Group and the general public may approve of increasing teacher pay, it’s largely not a issue that can be decided locally. Instead state lawmakers will have to weigh in on that and the current power brokers in the General Assembly seem more bent on dismantling public education than improving it.

The ideas put forward by the East Wake Education Work Group have merit and they are based in current needs. Perhaps the idea that excites us most is boosting the role of the East Wake Education Foundation as a means of generating more support for Wendell and Zebulon schools. That organization has spent years building a network of public school supporters even after it eased back its mission to serve only pre-school children and their families.

We are also excited by the notion of having eastern Wake County mayors – and by extension their boards – more actively advocating for the community’s schools. Though mayors and town boards don’t directly impact school system decisions, it’s clear to us they can provide a powerful lobby and the school board seems ripe for listening to that feedback.

Of course, creating a plan and having it approved by the school board is truly the easy part. All the rest of us will have to do our part to help ensure the plan is acted upon.