This legislative session is finally over and our legislators are gone on vacation. I don't know of another period in history in North Carolina when so much damage has been done in so short a time. Senate Bill 387 makes charter schools boards independent of the State Board of Education. The N.C. Constitution, in Article IX, Section 5, gives the State Board of Education the power to "supervise and administer the free public school system and the educational funds provided for its support." Since charter schools are public schools, any responsibility to authorize, oversee or approve belongs to the State Board as the constitutional authority over public schools. If they use tax money, then they should be considered public schools.
According to Article IX, Section 6, the NC Constitution requires that all money for public education should be "faithfully appropriated and used exclusively for establishing and maintaining a uniform system of free public schools." There is no extensive research proving that charter schools are doing a better job than public schools. There is less accountability, no provisions for failing charter schools, no method of ensuring students meeting accountability standards which are in place for public schools. In addition, this bill does away with even minimal requirements for teacher certification. There is also no provision to ensure free and equal access to education for all students-disabled, minority students, even gifted students.
In sum total, Senate Bill 387 is in direct opposition to what is stated our state constitution. Does this legislature even care about the law. Probably not, since they wasted time trying to vote on a state religion.
In Macon County, our board of education and county commissioners have had to fight hard to overcome the vicious cuts passed in Raleigh. Most people don't realize how extensive the cuts are, and by the time they do, it will be too late. Join us in our Walk for Education in Franklin on Friday, Aug. 16, at 3:30 p.m. at Franklin High School student parking where we will line up and walk through downtown to show our support for our local boards, our schools and our teachers. What was once a proud profession has been attacked and denigrated to the point that we are bleeding professional educators with little hope of being able to replace their competence. Education built our great nation, no matter what legislators think. Bring water, an umbrella, and posters stating your opinion of the current state of affairs.
You can't afford to continue to sit out during wholesale destruction. Our freedom is at stake. No speeches are planned; this is time for you to stand up and be counted and show your appreciation of something which many take for granted.
Joan Maki — Franklin, N.C.