Private invites for Durham schools event irk some parents

Posted January 17, 2011

— Durham Public Schools plans to unveil a strategic plan next week to increase student achievement, but some parents are upset with how district officials are handling the information.

The plan has been in the works for months, but some parents learned it would be shared publicly Jan. 26 from the Bull City Rising blog. The blog posted an invitation sent to some people to attend the event, and the invitation reads, "This is your personal invitation. Please refrain from forwarding it to others."

Some parents expressed concern over the apparent secrecy surrounding the event.

"We haven't heard anything about any changes that Durham Public Schools are making, and it's actually a little concerning because, as parents, we should really know if they are making any changes to our schools," parent Mary Archer said Monday.

Superintendent Eric Becoats declined to comment Monday, but school district spokeswoman Tahira Stalberte issued a statement saying that invitations were needed because of space constraints.

"While we would have preferred to invite the entire community to the event, there is no venue in Durham large enough to accommodate every person in the community," Stalberte said in the statement. "The space donated to us could only accommodate a limited number of parents, students, business leaders, community members and staff."

Education Private invites for Durham schools event irk some parents

The event will be carried live online and will be repeated on a local-access cable channel so more people can see it, she said. Also, district staff will discuss the strategic plan with various church, neighborhood and business groups in the coming months, she said.

Stalberte didn't say how many invitations had been issued.

School board Chairwoman Minnie Forte-Brown said she's excited about the strategic plan, and there is no plan to conceal anything from the public.

"Durham Public Schools is making sure that everything we do is absolutely transparent to our public," Forte-Brown said. "So, definitely, our parents are going to know what is going on (and) what the strategic plan involves. It's being held under wraps right now because it is going to be a massive launch."

Parent Kenny Levine said he's not as concerned about who is in the room when the plan is unveiled as he is about what the plan says.

"I'm most interested in knowing what the content of the plan is going to be," Levine said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • durhamncus Jan 18, 2011

    thank you WRAL for doing your best to keep me informed about what's going on with DPS. It's a shame I've got to surf the internet at home a couple of nights a week, instead of simply hearing something while at the Durham High School I've been teaching at for a couple of decades now.
    thanks again,
    DPS Teacher

  • mramorak Jan 18, 2011

    mostly its the rich who doesn't want you to know about it,they aren't affected by the stuff that goes on in DPS, because they either send there kids to raleigh schools or they can aford DURHAM ACADeMY.

  • mramorak Jan 18, 2011

    Its get your names in now so you will be sure to get a spot!

  • mramorak Jan 18, 2011

    This has been going on for a long time,i have kids in my neighborhood who knows some teachers at DSA and they get in the first time they applied.we have been trying to get into a magnet school for 4 years with no luck with two is who you know and uh............well you know.

  • Nancy Jan 18, 2011

    Why are the media (WRAL and N&O), who have harped ad nauseum on the WCPSS doing things in secret aren't raising flags about this with the same negative tone?

    What is really going on here?

  • Nancy Jan 18, 2011

    Any moment I expect to see a list of those invited, and it better include the "right" people or there will be protests ;)

  • Durham-Raleigh Jan 18, 2011

    "What a joke that Durham gets no press as they basically are the NAACP."

    Wow... so because Durham has a larger African-American presence than some other communities, "[the school board] are basically the NAACP"...?

    It's hard to imagine a more ignorant or racist comment, frankly. Durham's school board has a balance of white and black members.

    I'm the blogger that publishes Bull City Rising (one of my reporters wrote the story Erin Hartness references here.) I have plenty of problems with the way DPS chose to roll out this strategic plan.

    But jumping into racist territory in comments here? Nothing in this strat plan controversy warrants that.

  • howdiditgettothis Jan 18, 2011

    Oh - if Wake County did this, the NAACP would have a field day.
    Reverse racism at it's best!

  • JAT Jan 18, 2011

    "irk" - now there's a word you don't see every day!

  • Sassie10 Jan 17, 2011

    Was the plan listed as to who determined "invitees"? And all we hear is about the Wake School Board and they are transparent and doing the right thing. What a joke that Durham gets no press as they basically are the NAACP.