Sunday, December 04, 2005

Closing of School in Bertie County Makes No Sense

This was originally posted on November 25, 2005 - see notes below

The current issue with the $35 million school expenditures has gotten a lot of attention recently. It has not been that long since the last time the Board of Education went to the federal courts to push it's wishes over the opposition of Bertie County Citizens. Just as a history lesson, this is an article from last year that sums up the Askewville changes the Board of Education requested (my opinion!)..... and got ..... earlier this year.

By Don Carrington - December 19, 2004 - Carolina Journal Online

.... forget the school system for a moment and let’s take a look at some other black and white numbers for Bertie County. Five of seven Askewville Elementary teachers are black. The Askewville Elementary principal is black. The school system superintendent is black. Eight of 10 Bertie school principles are black. Blacks make up a majority of the Bertie County School Board. Blacks make up a majority of the Bertie County Commission. Bertie belongs in the 1st U.S. Congressional District, the 5th State House District, and the 3rd State Senate District. All three areas were drawn to elect black representatives and black Democrats have consistently won those offices.

According to my sources, after the public hearing the school board realized that the public strongly objected to the federal intrusion.

Didn't matter that much to either the Board of Education or the Superintendent though that the people opposed the Askewville change. The decision they wanted was ordered by the judge despite civic resistence. This was not necessary as the board could have gotten a different result if they had wanted it. The lesson should not be lost. If Bertie County residents want a different outcome this time, they must take the decision out of the hands of the Board and the Superintendent.

It is long past time that Bertie County was granted unitary status so the education community is no longer allowed to use the courts to order their desires against the citizens wishes.

End of original posting

December 5, 2005 - Update to this article at time of reposting

At the Board of Education meeting tonight, Seaton Fairless, the new Chairman of the Bertie County Board of Education, informed me that in his opinion this article was a lie. Not that one or two facts were wrong, his words were, "the entire article". I have a problem with that broad of a statement, but in any event I asked him why he did not respond by posting his disagreements. He argued "because of my position I cannot respond". I do not understand that either. I offered several suggestions as to how he could get me the facts to correct the article, anonymously if needed. If there is anything wrong, and the facts can be provided, I shall be glad to correct.

Please note: There are two different articles above. One from Carolina Journal Online from a year ago, and two opinions that I expressed about the same topic in my posting last month. They were my opinions, not facts. If anyone disagrees with any facts and can provide evidence to contradict them, I will correct them. If you have no evidence but believe the facts are wrong, I will be glad to note your disagreement. If you think my opinions are wrong and wish to discuss them then show how I have arrived at wrong conclusions! Or even if you wish to argue a different opinion (on the same subject), THAT IS WHAT BLOGS ARE FOR.

This entire series of articles on education is to try and get a public dialog going about whether we still should be subject to the claim that Bertie County is discriminating against its minorities. I think that premise is ridiculous and that recent court decisions provide overwhelming evidence this case should have been ended long ago. The reason I believe we are still subject to the decree is our Board of Education likes to be subject to the case. I can only assume they use it as an excuse to have the judge order the county to do things they publicly deny they want so they will not be blamed.

Lets debate that! The position they take is "they cannot get out of the case", period. They claim it has to be discussed in private because of "attorney client privilege". That is the END OF THE DEBATE as far as they are concerned. That is unacceptable.

Why are we not having public hearings on how to get out of this case? Why have no filings in this case contested the U.S. Attorneys position and demanded unitary status? Is it because filings are public? Why is attorney client privilege used to hide the secret negotiations between the board and the U.S. Attorneys? What is the board trying to hide?

Bertie County is not discriminating, has not for decades and this case should have long since ended. The Board of Education may not like this premise but that is the premise of both articles.


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