Opinion

1/11 Letters: Consolidated school districts are better for all of us.

Durant Road Middle School students line the hallways at the north Raleigh school between first and second period in this 2016 file photo.
Durant Road Middle School students line the hallways at the north Raleigh school between first and second period in this 2016 file photo. hlynch@newsobserver.com

Editorials like John Hood’s (“Smaller, multiple school districts coming to NC,” Jan. 8) remind me of the school district I grew up in. Garden City, NY is a picturesque suburban village built by Alexander Stewart. By only renting homes, Stewart completely controlled his neighbors and the village. A wildly successful plan, even today Garden City is 92 percent white and has good schools. Its next door neighbor, Hempstead, is 5 percent white, 44 percent Hispanic, 58 percent black and has a failing school system.

New York does not have consolidated school systems, so wealthy villages have good schools and poor districts poor schools. Breaking up North Carolina’s large school districts would move the state in this direction, an outcome that may please some but will hurt our children. My children attended Wake County’s base and magnet schools. Despite some struggles and reassignments, Wake provided a better experience. Consolidated school districts have more resources and economies of scale than even a wealthy village school system.

In Garden City and Hempstead, NY schools, you will find neighbors separated by income, race and opportunity. Favoring charter schools over public schools and breaking up districts will resegregate and diminish our schools. Hood admits there is no evidence showing smaller districts are better and claims studies demonstrate school choice improves schools. Having experienced both, I highly recommend staying with NC’s consolidated districts. They have more opportunity, better prepare students, are more vibrant and cost less to run.

Marc Segre

Raleigh

Imminent threat

So let me get this straight. The president of the United States was elected partially on the campaign promise to build a wall that Mexico would pay for. And for the past two years the Republicans have controlled the House, the Senate and the Oval Office, yet were unable to secure funding for this great wall from Mexico or other means. So now, after just a few days of the opposing party taking control of the House, suddenly this issue rises to the level of imminent national security necessitating the closing of our government. What am I missing?

Blair Tharrington

Raleigh

Durham memorials

Kudos to Robin Kirk and Charmaine McKissick-Melton for leading a collaborative, citywide process to address the issue of confederate memorials in Durham County. The charge the committee was asked to address was complex and controversial and the committee itself reflected the diversity of the Durham community. And yet they were able to come to consensus on a set of recommendations which, although not perfect, “communicate Durham’s values and... a future-oriented vision that seeks to honor the past... while also showcasing the rich and diverse history of our community.”

I especially love the list of new works of public art that celebrate our history. Thank you for taking your charge so seriously and providing the Durham City Council and the Durham County Board of Commissioners with a wealth of good ideas for how we can celebrate our 150th anniversary.

Sondra Stein

Durham

Done with scooters

As a senior citizen I no longer feel safe on the sidewalks of downtown Raleigh because of the electric scooters. There is a complete disregard of people walking by those who ride scooters on the sidewalk. Scooters are left everywhere after use. The scooter companies came into Raleigh and placed scooters without a by-your-leave. I think the charges the city imposed on scooters are fair, and if the companies think they need to pass them on to the consumer that is their privilege. I and many other citizens are requesting the City Council kick them out. Until that happens I will no longer do any business in downtown Raleigh. Maybe if the businesses feel the pinch of lost business they will also want to get rid of the electric scooters.

Bob LeBowsky

Cary

Roadside zoo

Certainly we are all saddened by the recent death of the young intern at the Conservators’ Center. But anyone jumping on the bandwagon of calling the Center a “roadside zoo” has likely never been there.The animals at the site are primarily ones rescued from untenable situations (real roadside zoos or private keepers) and some have health issues. They have not lived in the wild and could not survive on their own in the wild, even if they could somehow be returned. The smaller species have enclosures larger than those at the Duke Lemur Center, and no one would call that premier site a “roadside zoo.” Better regulations for caring for animals is a good thing, particularly prohibitions on removing wild animals from their natural homes, but emotions need to be balanced with facts for any regulations to be effective.

Beth Timson

Durham

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