Parental choice key in Wake

Our upcoming Wake County school board races have shifted away from their nonpartisan roots, given the current debate over neighborhood schools (“Wake County’s dilemma: Diverse schools vs. neighborhood ones,” by Bob Geary, April 8). The economic diversity advocates seek to broadly paint those who oppose busing as a means of achieving diversity as being “elitist”or, more cynically, as Republicans.

Republicans are not opposed to the concept of diversity, since it is well documented that a diverse environment is conducive to a higher level of socialization and learning while preparing children for the real world. Furthermore, Republicans are not the lone voice in the advocacy of neighborhood schools.

Reading articles that seek to disparage the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools while lauding the Wake system for its economic diversity policy, the winning solution seems to be right under our noses. The Wake schools can lead the nation in achieving both a diverse school system, and a neighborhood-centric assignment policy, by broadening the implementation of parental choice. Here’s how: 1. Increase the number of magnet schools in economically depressed neighborhoods, and 2. Allow parental choice based on diversity, giving parents the right to choose a more diverse school. This would solve the dilemma, and allow our school system to move beyond the divisive policies of forced busing so many parents despise.

The Wake County GOP will vigorously support candidates who actively support neighborhood schools. While we may not officially endorse an Independent or Democrat who holds these views, we will work behind the scenes with a diverse group of neighborhood school advocates, regardless of party affiliation. We insist that a neighborhood-centric assignment policy include parental choice along with the growth of the magnet school program to achieve economic diversity.

Yes, we can achieve both goals, and the Wake system can become a neighborhood-centric school system that values diversity based on parental choice.

Claude E. Pope Jr.
Chairman, Wake County Republican Party

Save Wright and Whitaker

Having worked at both Whitaker School and Wright School, I would like to respond to last week’s cover story (“Trouble in mind,” by Lisa Sorg, April 8). Your article focused almost exclusively on Wright School, which is a great program. Whitaker School, unlike Wright School, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The reason is that the children there are older, far more troubled, often violent, and usually lacking in any family or community resource.

It is much easier to build public support for younger children. They are still cute and people are more hopeful of positive outcomes. The children at Whitaker are no longer cute: They often are scary and have very difficult histories.

Both are much needed programs. If only one survives, it will be a tragedy. But if only one survives, it will probably be Wright Schoolnot because folks will take a long hard look at which is more effective (both cost-effective and clinically effective) but because it is easier to build public sympathy for the younger childrenthe older ones are easier to throw away or ignore.

Your article’s almost sole focus on one program, to the exclusion of the other, adds to this tendency. It was a great, but incomplete, article. Both programs are worth preserving.

Allen Murray

Church should ditch lights

I was very upset to read about the family living across from the Lattisville Grove Baptist Missionary megachurch (“Field of differing dreams,” by Matthew Moriarty, April 8). This church does not reflect their so-called Christian beliefs whatsoever. I don’t think anyone can stop “progress” and I can even understand the church wanting to create a place for people to go for healthy recreation, but to completely obliterate the peace of their very own neighbors is unforgivable. Does the church expect their neighbors to join the church for peace? Obviously the church does not feel their neighbors are worthy of common courtesy. At this point, the baseball field is built and it is not going away. But as for the lights, they should be disallowed. Hey, Lattisville Missionary: Nobody wants stadium-quality lights outside of their home. The church is expressing extreme self-centered behavior, and at the very least those lights should be taken down.

Edie Fagan

Impartial survey needed

As a longtime resident of Durham, I could point with some pride to the Bull City’s record on environmental issuesuntil recently, that is. I have just learned that there are plans to reduce protections for Jordan Lake and even New Hope Creek, which feeds into the public reservoir (ongoing coverage on the Indy‘s Triangulator blog, by Matt Saldaña).

Also disturbing is the fact that part of the rationale for change was a survey of the lake’s boundaries commissioned by a developer.

In recent years, there has been no shortage of examples of the dire consequences that result when standards are compromised in policies related to public health, of which protecting the safety of the water supply is surely one.

It is essential that Durham County conduct a second study done by a disinterested party. The study could be done in concert with other nearby counties that could share the costs. The stakes are too high and the risks too grave to not have a second, more impartial opinion in this crucial matter.

Lynn Kohn