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Lynda Loveland: Politics in public schools

Posted September 26, 2012

Lynda Loveland

Stick a fork in me, I’m done with politics in public schools! And judging by all the calls we had Wednesday morning on Mix 101.5, I’m not the only one.

The firing of Wake County schools superintendent Tony Tata may be the last straw. The school board voted along party lines to fire him. Yet they say it wasn’t political. They say it was because of the transportation issue and he was basically hard to work with.

Really, I’m shocked, because the school board has always seemed to work so well together. Del Burns quit a couple of years ago because he couldn’t work with the board. He said it was partisan politics. And he was right, even though no party affiliation is listed on the ballot for school board members.

So who’s to blame for this mess? How about the Tea Party and the Great Schools in Wake Coalition? Each pushed candidates with an agenda - no matter the cost - personally, professionally or educationally. Seems to me the school board members are more interested in supporting the party that got them elected than supporting the children in our schools. And they’re doing it by essentially bullying. Not exactly a great example to the kids!

I just don’t get why politics are even involved! What difference does it make if you lean right or left? My children aren’t Republican. My children aren’t Democrat. My children are watching grown-ups who can’t seem to get along for their common good!

Is this going to be a continuing cycle? What happens in another two years if there’s a change of power on the board and THEY don’t like the new superintendent? There has to be a way for this school system to work. Here’s a thought: We could have used Tata's $250,000 severance package to study FUNCTIONAL school systems around the country that are similar to ours!

Here’s another thought, if my kids don’t get along, I take away all electronics until I see improvement. No TV, no computers and no Smartphones. I bet we’d see some collaboration lickety split!

Lynda is the mom of three and co-host of Mix 101.5 WRAL-FM's Bill & Lynda in the Morning. Find her here on Thursdays. Click here to like her on Facebook.

11 Comments

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  • justbcauz Sep 28, 2012

    @jonnraleigh

    I disagree that this won't affect the students. A perfect example - if this turmoil and partisan bickering doesn't end, it is unlikely the bond will pass in the spring. That will directly affect students and teachers. And, this obvious dissention doesn't do much for Wake County when we try to find a new superintendent... "Hey, come work for us. We'll probably fire you in about 2 years, but it will be a great 2 years." Not!

  • ellenthum Sep 27, 2012

    Lynda: I'm surprise that you, a reporter, did not realize that the tea party had nothing to do with the election of the current school board members or 2009 election. Our most recent election, however,was brought to national attention when U.S. Secretary of Education, Anne Duncan called decisions made on Wake County School Board "troubling" and it was a positive direction for the school board when the shift in leadership changed in 2011. Now THAT is partisan politics.

  • jonnraleigh Sep 27, 2012

    One of the teachers in the school where I work put it well. The teachers will be here today and tomorrow and the next day. The students will be here today and tomorrow and the next day. The teachers are going to do what they are supposed to do. They are going to teach the children and the children WILL learn. All of this sandlot bickering really doesn't affect the students.

  • clif4 Sep 27, 2012

    You say you're done with politics in public schools? Well too bad, there's nothing you can do about it. These people were voted in and will be around for another 3/5 years. There is no process for removing them from office, no recourse, nothing. So you can just sit there and watch as they drag what's left of our school system down the drain. Sure, you can post your blogs and we can all stand outside their office while they hold secret meetings. But, ultimately, they are just going to thumb their nose at all of us.

  • WakeHammer Sep 27, 2012

    br549 is right, Both sides are to blame for this mess and it is only going to get worse. The republicans acted like partisan hatchet men (and women) when given the reins. They offered no compromise and consistently relied on their 5-4 majority to force their agenda. Now, the Dems follow the same path, secret meetings and all. They are doing all the same things that they criticized the republicans for!

  • kpstocking Sep 27, 2012

    Totally agree with your sentiments, Lynda, but allow me to make an important historical correction:

    When the board changed in '09, the group (Wake Schools Community Alliance) that helped the new members get elected were NOT Tea Party (they were barely in existence yet?)! We were/are concerned citizens and parents who were fed up with the crazy assignment process and mediocre/inconsistent quality of education being offered, among other things. Our group was comprised of hard-working people from every aspect of politics.

    However...we all had one thing in common--we knew that Wake could do SO much better!

    The average donation was $20 from Moms and Dads raiding their weekly grocery money. I know this because I filled out the reports for WSCA--I am the treasurer of the group. You can see the report at the Wake County Board of Elections!

    Thank you for correcting your post. I'd be glad to provide more background from the grassroots end of things!

    Kristen Stocking, kpstocking@gmail.com

  • jcesare Sep 27, 2012

    Isn't it ironic that NONE of the board members are up for re-election this year? I am betting that they think we will "forget" about this little incident when they come up for re-election.....

  • draew Sep 27, 2012

    What seems to be the case in both Wake Co and Halifax, the board members have forgotten what their purposes are and that is for the benefit of the children -- not for their own personal objectives.

  • br549znc Sep 27, 2012

    Both sides are to blame for this mess. And it will probably get worse because people are no longer willing to compromise.

    The school board debacle is indicative of the same problem going on in the nation as a whole.....political ideologies so strong that common ground can't be found.

  • missparrothead Sep 27, 2012

    Lynda- I completely agree with you and its a very sad story. This county has a top public rating, and has a dysfunctional system. Its almost akin to the "Hunger Games"...decades later, the residents are suffering from the historical diversity woes. When will it stop?

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