Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In Wake and Charlotte, public speaks on schools

In school board races here in Charlotte and in Wake County, some voters channeled the angry newsman in that old flick, "Network," and said through the ballot box that they were mad as hell and weren't going to take it anymore. The ticked-off voters were more clearly apparent in Wake County than here - but discontent was evident in the voting in both.

Here, voters made two political newcomers, Ericka Ellis-Stewart and Mary McCray, the top vote-getters in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School board race. (Check out our editorial.) Both had visible roles in challenging school board decisions - Ellis-Stewart challenged the closing of schools in poor neighborhoods and McCray challenged the CMS teacher pay-for-performance plan. Their voices could mean policy changes on the board. District 6 representative Tim Morgan won the third at-large seat. The board will vote on a replacement to finish Morgan's district term.

Wake County's board got a bigger wake-up call in a school board run-off race that completed an upset of the Republicans who had controlled the board for the last two years and ticked off many in the community who felt they were dismantling a good school system that valued diversity to put in place a neighborhood school system. What frightened many in Raleigh was looking at what happened here in Charlotte when that change was made - the creation of more high-poverty, low-performing schools.

Incumbent Wake County school board member Kevin Hill defeated challenger Heather Losurdo in a runoff Tuesday, which "ended a half-million-dollar, high-profile battle over control of Wake County’s 146,000-student system," said our sister paper, The News & Observer. "The nationally publicized fight for the school board had become a proxy for political control of the county and perhaps beyond."

Coupled with the election victories of four Democratic-backed candidates last month, the win creates a new 5-4 Democratic majority.

In both Charlotte and Wake, at least some of the voters were saying this election season that they want their voices heard on controversial issues before the school board. Boards will have to start listening a lot better.

Cain's Pain?

Herman Cain keeps trying to dismiss the women who’ve accuse him of sexual harassment by trying to paint them as lacking credibility or as a “troubled woman” in the case of the woman who at a New York press conference on Monday alleged Cain put his hand up her skirt and tried to push her face into his crotch. But the woman who talked to the New York Times on Tuesday who says she’s one the previously anonymous women who had complained of sexual harassment by Cain when he was president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association in the late 1990s cannot be so easily dismissed. She works for the U.S. Treasury Department.

Karen Kraushaar, a U.S. Treasury Department spokeswoman, received a cash payment from the group in 1999 after signing an agreement that barred her from discussing the complaint that she filed against Cain.

On Tuesday, Kraushaar told The New York Times that she might participate in “a joint press conference where all of the women would be together with our attorneys and all of this evidence” could be laid out at once. Uh oh.

“When you are being sexually harassed in the workplace, you are extremely vulnerable,” she said. “You do whatever you can to quickly get yourself into a job some place safe and that is what I thought I had achieved when I left.”

CNN quoted Kraushaar as telling the woman who hired her from the NRA that Cain was a “monster.” Cain called Kraushaar’s allegations “baseless.”

But he might want to stop calling the allegations “anonymous.” Clearly with two women stepping forth publicly they are not.

And that stuff about him being the he target of false allegations by lobbyists and others who do not want a businessman to challenge the status quo in Washington sounds like desperation talking. Cain might soon be looking for a 9-1-1 plan to salvage his candidacy to replace that 9-9-9 tax plan.

Fannie Flono


misswhit said...

I would like Fannie to explain to us why our old system of assignment was superior to our current one. Were minority students doing better? Was the public even aware of the huge disparity between scores of black and white students since that disparity was hidden by our "balanced schools". Were facilities in top notch condition? Were new schools being built where the majority of students lived?

Fannie, ever since busing ended you have predicted failure for minority students. Instead, scores and opportunities have increased. Still lots of problems, but many of those unfortunately seem to be culturally induced, something you don't care to mention.

Also I find it interesting that when the board had a major changeover in 2003, ending the board battle over trying to find a way to return to busing, the Observer ran several columns darkly hinting that voters rejected the then school board chair(an African American) because of race. It seems we have a reverse situation here--if you look at the outcomes, especially the large votes for two candidates who were no longer running, it appears to me that race had much to do with voting patterns--but not in a way that you are likely to criticize.

As for Wake County, I believe that studies over the past few years have revealed that Wake had similar hidden issues--minorities were not doing well, and were not getting into high level classes but this again was hidden by those balanced schools. Wake has all district representatives--no at large. The more urban districts elected representatives this year; the more suburban districts elected reps two years ago. When the suburbs took over the board it was called "unfair" and "unrepresentative". Now the story has changed with the urban folks returning to power. Also the News Observer was even worse than the Observer in criticizing the school board and crying discrimination--the editorial board went full tilt on that for two years. Add in the NAACP and the UNC Chapel Hill Center for Civil Rights and you had a total assault on change.

Skippy said...

Yeah Fannie, the poverty class voter really know what the issues are. Never mind our dysfunctional CMS System has been run or run down by liberals for decades now. So what do the "educated" voters do, vote in more of the same that caused the problems in the first place. Now that is one "trusted" electorate right there, I know I feel better.

Wiley Coyote said...

It's too bad we can't vote out the outdated status quo Obsever spin doctors.

Fannie, you and your antiquated way of thinking is what got CMS in the mess it's been in for decades.

You whine about "low income school closings" yet turn around and whine about high concentrations of low income students going to those schools.

Your rhetoric is old and tired.