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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How long can Burke schools last without support?

How long can Burke schools last without support?

I’ve been around long enough to remember when R.L. Patton was superintendent of schools, and I remember the battles over building Freedom and East Burke high schools. You know what we were fighting about then? Could children be properly taught in a round building and how would square lockers fit up against a curved wall.
For more than 40 years our Burke County boards of education, county commissioners and superintendents have been picking at one another. For 40 years, career-driven superintendents, controlling commissioners, and weak or agenda-driven school boards have messed over our vulnerable children. For 40 years partisanship has compromised our school system.
It’s time to put a stop to this school-yard fighting.
The Vision Statement on the Burke County Public Schools’ website says, “Burke County Public Schools, a world-class model of exemplary education, inspires students to be lifelong learners who can compete successfully on the global stage while contributing to their community as productive citizens.”
Who are we kidding?
Are our so-called leaders not ashamed that the State of North Carolina ranks near the bottom nationally in per-pupil funding?
Are our county commissioners not embarrassed that Burke County is among the lowest of the districts in the state in funding our schools?
Is the school board not humiliated that Burke County spends less per student than any of our neighboring districts?
Doesn’t anyone care that we don’t have enough textbooks or supplies in our classrooms? Why aren’t our citizens furious at the travesty we call a “global,” “world-class” model? Where is the outrage?
It’s time for us to step up to bring our schools into the 21 st Century. I urge — beg — our superintendent, our school board, the commissioners, business leaders, religious and civic groups, parents and fellow citizens to defend our children, their teachers and our schools. Be bold. Be courageous. All our futures depend on it.

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