As the parent of a public school kindergartener, I want to respond to “New NC school test grades are out. Here are the best and worst in the Triangle” (Sept. 6). It is remiss to report on student performance when so many relevant facts go unmentioned. Discussing public school performance cannot happen in a vacuum.
As the legislature continues to demonstrate unwillingness to bring education spending up to pre-recession levels (adjusted for inflation), per student spending is plummeting, affecting both school supplies and the number of teaching positions. When supplies are provided, the educators themselves are rarely consulted. I have never had an educator tell me, “If I just had more iPads, I could really teach these kids.” Conversely, I have heard many teachers say that a lack of textbooks is a significant obstacle to learning.
I think we can all agree that high performance is not at the fore of our legislators’ minds when their laws result in classes of more than 30 students in 4th grade. If our state is not going to fund for performance, then it shouldn’t be measured.
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Starting from behind
In Ned Barnett’s column “This Raleigh school unfairly got an F. It merits an A for effort” (Sept. 9), he states “Bugg’s grade is held down by the standardized test results, but the grade doesn’t give enough weight to the progress being made by children who start their education behind the level of children from more well-off families. Bugg students exceeded the average growth rate in Wake County and North Carolina.”
It has been shown that a child living in poverty as compared to a youth living in a wealthy family will have heard 30 million fewer words by the time they are 5. There is no way for a child to make up that disparity. The only way we can level the playing field in the wealthiest country in history is to have universal day care in addition to universal pre-K. This will allow these unfortunate children the opportunity to be fed the wealth of words they need to succeed at the same level as their more fortunate peers. Sounds to me like a small price to pay for equality.
Unfair to whom?
Regarding “NC legislative leaders to ask Supreme Court to halt judges’ order to redraw districts” (Aug. 28): The whining of Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore is interesting indeed. They cry that the federal court ruling which held that congressional districts in North Carolina were gerrymandered for partisan purpose is unfair and yet it was this same GOP controlled General Assembly which drew up these districts originally to protect the Republican majority.
To paraphrase an old saying, it’s too late and a bit senseless to close the barn door when you’ve pushed the horses out in the first place. Interesting indeed.
Let monuments teach
It is important to not move Confederate monuments, but to put new information next to them to inform viewers of the back story associated with the statue and its implications for the future. That would provide countless teachable moments to future viewers.
The fact that such monuments were placed in such prominent places is an indication of how badly society needs information countering them. Moving the monuments to out-of-the-way locations or destroying them is very tempting, but would reduce the effectiveness of using the monument plus new information. The most important new information conveyed would be that constant vigilance is needed to prevent terrible policies such as discrimination, unequal opportunities, and voter disenfranchisement from happening in the future.
Those who want to remember North Carolinians who fought in the Civil War should remember not only soldiers of the Confederacy, but North Carolina soldiers who fought for the United States of America. Descendants of those soldiers both black and white should have their history honored because they fought for America.
D. G. Mathews
The writer is a professor of history emeritus at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Yield on records
Regarding “Fight ICE voting records subpoenas, NC elections board says” (Sept. 8), I see no legitimate reason for North Carolina to resist providing voting records to the federal government. Surely, no reasonable citizen can object to making use of all means to ensure that our elections are fair and accurate. The federal government is the only entity which can look at data on a nationwide level across all states in order to make a legitimate assessment of the fairness of past elections and to feed back information which will enable North Carolina to improve our election procedures.