Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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School board majority: we don’t care what parents think!


We’ve often contended that some members of the Alamance-Burlington school board aren’t really interested in serving the needs of parents and students.

Sometimes they represent the central office bureaucrats.

At other times, they appear to be members of something akin to a teachers’ union, caring more about the employee’s feelings or desires rather than the employer’s (i.e., the taxpayers of Alamance County).

Student interests are often overlooked, as are those of their parents.

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Of course, sometimes the only parents some of them want to represent are those at the country club. But this week, they didn’t even represent them.

Rarely do we see an actual vote in which the members themselves actually demonstrate, flat out, so vividly and so conclusively that they don’t care what parents think.

Alamance-Burlington school superintendent Bruce Benson this week raised the issue of whether the school system might seek feedback from parents of middle and high school students to determine if they would prefer the school system move back to more in-person classes.

Benson suggested a two-week survey window during which parents could express themselves on whether to have more in-person options at the middle and high school levels or whether to leave things as they are.

Five days a week is now required, based on statewide legislation, for elementary school students (kindergarten through grade 5), but school systems still have flexibility to determine how many days middle and high school students can attend in person.

Currently, ABSS provides for only two days of in-person instruction, with the remaining three days to be remote, for all students in the school’s seven middle schools and six high schools.

We think it is fairly obvious from everyone we’ve seen and heard in recent months that parents would, indeed, like to see more in-school learning for their older students.

But five school board members decided they would rather plug their eyes and ears this week: they don’t want to know what parents think. They’re simply not interested in what parents want. Or as one member put it, “not worth the effort.”

After Benson’s suggestion, school board members Ryan Bowden and Sandy Ellington-Graves motioned to conduct the kind of survey Benson had suggested.

Instead, the status quo nay-sayers on the board voted against seeking or accepting parental feedback via such a survey.

They apparently don’t care about the statistics, previously revealed, that such a high proportion of middle and high school students are failing one or more subjects.

Actually voting against such a common-sense idea of soliciting input were chairman Allison Gant, vice chairman Tony Rose, Patsy Simpson, Wayne Beam, and Donna Westbrooks.

Is it any wonder that so many parents – and taxpaying non-parents – have lost confidence in the “leadership” of the school system?

Our compliments to Dr. Benson and school board members Bowden and Ellington-Graves.

And pardon us, but we’ll tune out the other five school board members the next time any of them attempt to claim to want to really have parental input and support.

Coming from any of them, that’ll be hooey, indeed.


Allison Gant, chair;
Email: Allison_Gant@abss.k12.nc.us

Tony Rose, vice chair
Email: Tony_Rose@abss.k12.nc.us

Wayne Beam, board member
Email: wayne_beam@abss.k12.nc.us

Ryan Bowden, board member
Email: ryan_bowden@abss.k12.nc.us

Sandy Ellington-Graves, board member
Email: sandy_ellingtongraves@abss.k12.nc.us

Patsy Simpson, board member
Email: ptsysm@aol.com

Donna Westbrooks, board member
Email: donna_westbrooks@abss.k12.nc.us

Source: Alamance-Burlington school system website

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