Mebane parent, Duke researcher Charles Parker announces school board run

A Mebane parent announces this week that he plans to file for the ABSS school board, one of three candidates who has announced or already filed for the three non-partisan seats that will be on the ballot this November.

Charles Parker, who runs a research lab at Duke University and manages research projects for both public and private agencies, is a Mebane resident since 2003, and a parent with two children in ABSS schools.

He and his wife of 22 years, Mary, have a son, Andrew, who is a junior at the North Carolina School of Science and Math, where Parker also attended and met his future wife; a daughter, Catherine, is a freshman at Eastern High School; and another daughter, Margaret, is a fifth-grader at Audrey Garrett Elementary School.

In addition to his work at Duke, Parker has been a visiting scholar at Elon University and published with Elon students.

Parker received his Ph.D. and an M.B.A. from North Carolina State University in 2002.

“I am running for school board for two reasons,” Parker told The Alamance News. “First, because the majority of the board failed to show enough urgency in reopening schools once the data showed that it was safe. Private schools in Alamance County successfully reopened more than six months before ABSS. The continued remote instruction caused students to fall further behind, particularly students from low-income communities, widening achievement gaps. When there are additional COVID waves the board needs a majority in favor of in-person education.

“The second reason is to advocate for parents. Parents have the primary right and responsibility for the education of their children, in accordance with their family’s values. This is true not only for parents choosing private schools, or home schooling, but also those utilizing public schools. During remote instruction, many parents saw their children struggling academically. Multiple surveys showed that significant majorities of parents wanted in-person instruction, but the board kept it remote. I will advocate for parents, the people who know their children best. Earlier in-person instruction would have reduced the surge in the number of ABSS students failing a class.

“A second way that I will advocate for parents is to promote curriculum transparency,” Parker says. “During remote instruction, many parents saw details about what their children were learning for the first time. A lot of parents had concerns and voiced them at board meetings. We should make it easy for parents to know what their children are learning.”