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School Board Distractions, On the Campaign Trail, Fundraising Deadline- May 2024

I'm going to say this as nicely as I can. Our Republican School Board majority has their priorities all turned around. 


With the urgent difficulties of our ongoing, years-long, budget woes, our overcrowded schools, and a mental health crisis in children, our Board has spent a majority of its time changing policies that curtail the freedoms of our teachers and students, restricting even State-mandated subjects, banning books, restricting what can be displayed in classrooms, etc. 


What's more, my Republican opponents in this race want to put guns in the hands of teachers, put prayer in the classrooms, ban a lot of books, and who knows what else. 

If you wonder how all of this is affecting our education system, just ask our teachers. If you can catch them--they are quitting at an astronomical rate. Over 15% of our teachers left last year. Many so dispirited they quit the profession altogether.

Still, we have some numbers to be proud of. Our students have, on average, out-performed students from around the State. 


This graph shows average elementary school grades for our County compared to State averages:


Based on averages, NHC performed well against the rest of the state


This is great, right? But there is important information that is not seen in this data. So before we celebrate, let's look a little deeper.


Below is another graph that shows how each local elementary school performed last year:


Graph showing the performance disparities between elementary schools in NHC. "State Rank" is based on 1502 elementary schools in the State. (Thanks to Scott Whisnant for data)


A quick look at the last column tells a chilling story of the literacy gap in our schools. 85% difference from the top to the bottom. It is directly correlated to the percentage of free and reduced lunch recipients, as well as to the racial makeup of our schools.


Perhaps the School Board's focus on culture war policy, is just a smoke screen to keep us from recognizing these disparities. For a political party that branded the slogan, "No child left behind," they sure are leaving a lot of kids behind. 


When the School Board disbanded the Equity and Inclusion Committee saying their work was finished, I wonder if they were referencing this graph. Their idea of "finished" and mine seem to be at odds.


I was fortunate to attend the President's address in Wilmington. And we're fortunate to receive the funding to remove lead pipes. A staffer told me that school water fountains here in NHC had tested high in lead content .


We've Been Busy!

From attending President Biden's speech, to our volunteer party, to going to the Capital with Mom's Demand Action, to the 7th CD Convention and their Gala on the Battleship, to so many precinct picnics, to our amazing garden party in Forest Hills, we've been working! 


One event that has special significance for me was the NAACP's commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Brown v Board of Education. I was honored to be asked to speak by the NHC Chair of the NAACP, LeRon Montgomery, in recognition of my grandfather's participation as an expert witness in the historic Supreme Court case.


With Mayor ProTem, Rev.Clifford Barnett at the NAACP commemoration of Brown v Board of Ed

Jill Hopman, our County Chair, introduced me at an incredible party at the Landfall home of Carol Atwood, by saying that I had met more voters in NHC than any other candidate up and down the ticket. And I'm proud to have that recognition. We've been going door-door, going to school events, party events, picnics, and generally any place we can meet new people and find out how they feel about our schools and our Board. And let me tell you: they are not happy.


In Raleigh at the State Legislature during Mom's Demand Action advocacy day, in front of a patchwork quilt of over 1000 squares, each honoring someone killed by gun violence in Durham. We have already had multiple cases of guns in our schools this year due to the threat of bullying.


Posing with a young student for his mother at President Biden's address.


Fundraising Details

After 5-1/2 months of fundraising, with another 5-1/2 months to go before the election, we are only 25% of the way to our goal, . And we have a reporting deadline in less than 2 weeks! 

We need to show our opponents that we are serious about winning this election.

We have a goal of raising another $3500 before the deadline. Whether that's 10 people giving $350, or 100 people giving $35. 


Can you please donate today? I know I've asked before, and I don't like to make it all about money, but the stakes are very high for our schools and our kids. So please be as generous as possible. And thank you!


 

Here's to honoring our students, our teachers, and the grand history of public education!


'Til I see you!

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