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Charlotte, NC

Commentary Page


        Do CMS policies put Charlotte schoolchildren at risk?


UNC Law School Dean John Charles Boger's Jan. 26 speech to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Bar Association sugggested that Mecklenburg has exchanged Plessy's "separate but equal" for an unsustainable "separate but more" public school policy:

"If we place our students in racially and socioeconomically isolated schools, where the air is thin and the deck stacked against them, where many teachers won't even come and others quickly leave, no small cohort of heroic principals and teachers is likely to protect [students] from the harsh, unsparing elements, even if they fight hard together against the prevailing educational storm. Why, as a matter of policy, would we support conditions that we know increase the likelihood that many earnest students will not survive?"

Below are comments received from readers. Boger has agreed to join this conversation on an occasional basis.



12 Feb 2007 00:01:48 EST, F.M. wrote:

Mr. Boger's speech is very similar to one I would have given if I ever got more than 3 minutes [at school board forums]. His experience is in N.C. Mine is in other large cities as well.

As I have said many times, de facto segregation is normal outside the South and educators have been trying to solve the problems of high-poverty inner city schools for decades without success.

Everyone knows what to do. We don't need the CMS Board to tell us, but like Mr. Boger, I have no confidence in our ability to solve problems that more generous populations couldn't.

Recently I spoke with Trent Merchant on the phone. I suggested he ask his mother, who teaches Latin at Country Day but is a fine 9th grade English teacher as well, to volunteer at West Charlotte and see how many CCDS teachers she could get to go with her. He told me I was being unfair. Right!!!

The wonderful programs at CMS are always for someone else's children and teachers to solve. The leaders of the community have turned their backs. Did anyone applaud Mr. Boger's speech?


22 Feb 2007 15:28:04  EST, S.P. wrote:

If only Dean Boger could bring his thoughtful and long perspective to other audiences around the state.

I serve on a school board North Carolina that struggles to maintain support for policies that attempt to keep all our schools strong, healthy and attractive. Calculated use of choice and assignment are part of our practice as they have proven over many years to be necessary to the task.

But though there are fortunately many who understand the broad importance of this issue, there are a staggering number of us who don't have any experience even thinking about what is necessary to ensure good schools.

Like clean water from the tap, dependable education is something we take for granted; we assume it's producible at will, easily replicable, convenient and shouldn't require much if any sacrifice.

It's ironic that at a time when international trade and interaction demand so much, there is so little appreciation of the opportunities school systems forego to prepare many more children well with sophisticated thinking, coping and communication skills .





Comments on these postings welcome

We will post comments received about Boger's speech or about postings on this page. Posts by those other than Boger will be identified only by the initials of the author, unless the author requests that full name be used. Only comments germane to the discussion will be posted, and the comments will be subject to editing for brevity and civility.

On March 7, 2010 we shut down the comment form because its only users were spammers.



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