Opinion

Letters: Wake County is right to keep their schools together.

Loud applause to Wake Schools for keeping their eye on the ball despite distracting sideline hoots from inconvenienced parents. I was both a mother of three school-age kids and an editorial writer with the late Raleigh Times when Raleigh and Wake County schools merged and desegregated in the 1970s. Despite recently leaving Raleigh, I still care, and I can say without reservation that splitting today’s admittedly ungainly single district would be a disaster. I remember my shock on seeing the pathetic excuse for a library at the formerly black school where my eldest would attend sixth grade. Go back to that? Not on your life.

Ann T. Berry

Minneapolis

Amusing praise

I couldn’t help but chuckle at the state GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse’s comments praising journalistic work on Bladen County. I don’t know if he could have done a better job of spinning if he were a top. Maybe after Bladen County gets sliced, diced, and barbecued, we can them move on to such delicacies as gerrymandering and see if this newly found piety has some staying power. As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

Hillel Abrams

Raleigh

Southern legacy

UNC-CH “Carolina” students call themselves “Tar Heels”. They’re rightfully proud of what their school stands for. Many (maybe most) of its traditions are rooted in the antebellum South. For example, the name “Tar Heels” itself pays homage to brave Confederate soldiers who steadfastly fought with feet anchored to the ground as if by pine tar on their heels. Ironically, the students call themselves Tar Heels, but desecrate statues of their namesake. A verse from the school song (I’m a Tar Heel born, …) is an obvious derivative of the Confederate song “Dixie”. It has exactly the same harmonies, phrasing, structure, chord changes, tempo, spirit, energy, sound, and musical style as Dixie. It uses a somewhat modified melody, but if played simultaneously, the two songs fit together perfectly. Their lyrics convey similar sentiments — eternal affection for the South.

That history is perpetual and can never be undone no matter how many protests are staged; no matter how much hatred or intolerance is expressed; no matter how many statues are desecrated; and no matter how many towns, roads or buildings are renamed. It’s better to use energy and resources to improve the future rather than to try to undo the past.

Jon Johnson

Raleigh

Original location

In a recent opinion article about the Silent Sam statue controversy, Distinguished Professor Eric Muller asked why we should observe laws that do not warrant our respect (“The Confederacy Lives in NC law. Why respect that?” Dec. 12). I agree with his sentiment, but I believe there are alternative solutions that side-step ignoring NC regulations.

The law allows us to return Silent Sam to its original location or relocate it. If it is relocated, it must be “to a site of similar prominence, honor, visibility, availability . . .” However, these criteria do not apply if we return Sam to his original location. So, let’s dig a grave where Silent Sam once stood and bury him. This meets the legal requirement to return the “memorial to its original location, and serves to mark the death of an horrific historic event. If UNC wants a more elegant solution, they could mount it “properly” below ground with a glass floor over top so that everyone could look down on this shameful symbol.

Also, the law only applies to state owned memorials. Thus, the state could donate him and make the law irrelevant. I think a foundry would be an ideal recipient.

Craig Merrill

Kitty Hawk

Unequal measuring

Re “Charter school closing due to poor performance” (Dec. 11): What is wrong with this picture? “Charter School A” opens with the purpose of helping underprivileged at-risk students. Naturally its test scores are low. The state charter evaluators therefore scold the school for poor performance and threaten to close it.

“Charter School B” opens for college-prep students who can do advanced math and has no services for underprivileged students, such as free transportation or lunch. Naturally its test scores are high. The state charter evaluators therefore praise the school for its superior performance.

One could argue that the opposite is true. “Charter School A,” by focusing on at-risk students, is a benefit to society. “Charter School B” is basically a taxpayer-funded segregation academy, sucking resources and talent from the public schools, and is therefore a detriment to society.

I do not criticize parents for doing what they deem best for their children, but I do criticize NC’s basis for evaluating charter schools. It is wrongheaded.

Matthew Brown

Raleigh

Disqualified

The North Carolina Republican Party is calling for a new election in the 9th Congressional District where Republican Mark Harris currently leads Democrat Dan McCready. The State Board of Elections has so far refused to certify the results due to irregularities that have been found in the handling of absentee ballots.

If the irregularities were due to problems with voting machines, procedures, training, or the incompetence of election officials this would be a generous offer. In this case, however, none of those types of errors are alleged to have occurred. Instead, there is substantial evidence that workers in Mark Harris’ campaign illegally submitted absentee ballots.

In a horse race, if jockey and/or horse break the rules and win, they are disqualified. The same rules should apply here.

Peter V. Andrews

Louisburg

Lost opportunity

With the news that Apple has chosen Austin and with Amazon going to New York and Virginia, one must wonder if NC lost out because the GOP-led legislature did things like HB2. Did they tarnish the Tar Heel state brand image and good name by creating a culture of hatred and “fear of the other,” repelling business in the process just to kowtow to their fringe donors who’d keep them in money and power? If true (and I believe it is), shame on them.

Steve Schwartz

Raleigh

Election fraud

Unlike Trump saying people vote then change clothes and go do it again as an example of voter fraud, we have election fraud, as best described by Joseph Stalin: “The people don’t decide an election, the people who count the votes do.”

Jim Nolan

Morehead City

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