Contributor's Note: These comments were presented to the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners on August 3, 2020. Because of the three-minute time constraint on public comments, this presentation was abbreviated
I am addressing these comments to the commissioners, the school board and the citizens of Beaufort County.
The inaction of this board during the July 2020 board meeting to encourage opening business and schools in eastern NC have only reinforced the actions taken by the Governor and the school boards in NC. Comments made by members of this board that the state of North Carolina supports the Beaufort County Schools to the tune of $44 million or 65% of the school budget affirms the notion that the elected leaders of Beaufort County and the school board are nothing more than a toothless tiger. It was noted the school board is an elected body and the commissioners should allow the school board to wield jurisdiction over school matters.
My question is this: What exactly do the elected members of the school board have control over? The state and federal funds come with strings and other onerous mandates attached. Those mandates require the school board to perform many procedures and tasks that were unheard of 50 years ago. These non-essential demands equates to a bloated bureaucracy and personnel in no way connected to the primary mission of educating our children. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction controls the curriculum, the annual schedule of attendance, teacher pay, and a web of reporting statistics to measure the effectiveness of producing a product which will yield members of society that are able to be self-supporting upon graduation. In this effort, they have failed as reflected by the performance metrics they themselves have developed. The NC Dept. of Public Instruction website is filled with charts and tables broken down to every possible metric one can imagine; age, race, class size, teacher/student ratio, assessments, attendance, teacher assistants, and comparisons of schools within a particular district and comparisons of different school districts.
What is referred to as "common core math" is but one of the mandates thrust upon the local school board which teachers are required to learn before they can teach these mathematic principles. How many of this board have attempted to coach your grandchildren through a simple math exercise using the common core agenda? How many of you businessmen use common core math to run your accounting, purchasing and bookkeeping processes? Does the county use this form of math to administer the county budget? I do not see any of this nonsense in the spreadsheets the county finance officer presents to this board. None. Zero.
Anyone that is familiar with Micosoft Excel knows the math formulas used in Excel follow the standards that were taught in middle and high schools for over 100 years. Micosoft will not allow you to create a formula that does not comport to the standards accepted nationwide. Why would an educational institution teach methods that no one uses in the adult world?
If the school board were free from the web of bureaucracy and the endless reporting of useless performance statistics attached to the state and federal funding for public schools and were then free to teach a robust curriculum directly tied to reading, comprehension, writing, effective communication, courses of civics based upon the founding principles, basic math skills, and the ability to understand and balance a checkbook, then the Dept. of Public Instruction would no longer exist.
By this board's failure to provide leadership toward opening the eastern counties of this state, this board, both individually and collectively, has encouraged the Governor to continue the lockdown of business and schools to the detriment of our health and economic well-being. The Center for Disease Control has never mandated that public schools be closed. They have offered guidance for hygiene in the facilities and minimizing close contact among students. The closure of public schools is a political construct created by Governor Cooper to sew as much discord as possible among the electorate. Little does he know what he has unleashed.
Not well done! Not well done at all.