Unmasking the failure of public education
By Steve Woodward
Parents have begun to accept that their kids can’t breathe in school. Turns out there are a lot of things they can’t do.
They can’t read. They can’t add and subtract. They can’t stop thinking about sex. They can’t reason. They can’t wait for Thanksgiving Day to be over.
In a world turned upside down, educators demand (pretend) that students will be absolutely safe but are not concerned, apparently, that they know absolutely nothing. The dirty little secret has been unmasked. School performance across Moore County for 2020-21, an academic year sacrificed at the hands of hysterical lockdowns, unreliable “virtual” learning and cancellations of everything, went from lackluster to alarming. Thank God, administrators say, consoling themselves, there were fewer runny noses and scraped knees.
The problem, laments longtime Board of Education member Ed Dennison, is that parts of Moore County are occupied by too many “disadvantaged families”. And how does the Moore County school system show it’s compassion? Let us count the ways.
It allocates tens of millions of dollars drawn from a bond referendum to build Taj Mahal schools in Aberdeen, Pinehurst and Southern Pines for the same reason dogs lick their privates — because it can.
(Case in point, courtesy of fiscally focused board member David Hensley, who reported via Facebook last September: The Moore County Board of Education spent $37,875 per student building the new Aberdeen Elementary School. Contrast that with The Academy of Moore County, a charter school and Moore County’s only “A” rated school, (which) spent only $8,333 per student to build (its) new school. Phrased another way, the Moore County Board of Education spent almost FIVE TIMES building a new school (more) than what the county’s only “A” rated school spent.)
(Another Hensley Facebook nugget from last June: At $47,500 per student seat, Pinehurst Elementary is, by far, the most expensive elementary school ever built in the state of North Carolina. Had the previous Board of Education spent the state average of $26,278.43 per student seat for new public school elementary school construction, Moore County could have FIVE new, 800-seat elementary schools, not three.)
Meanwhile, schools in “disadvantaged” north Moore County remain decrepit and in need of innumerable repairs. But even after blowing its wad on south Moore school construction, the school board’s four disciples of Superintendent Bob Grimesey had a chance to do the right thing and take a fiscally sound vote. This could have happened September 22, just last month, when the board decided the time had come, once and for all, to decide what to do with 17 acres formerly occupied by the old Southern Pines Elementary School.
The back and forth on this debate is well known to those who pay attention (never enough, by the way). The board finally voted 4-3 (chair Libby Carter and her three sock puppets) to “sell” the land to a fly-by-night Southern Pines Land Trust for an apprised value of $685,000. The other board members exercised common sense and backed selling the land to a commercial developer at a fair-market price that was projected to come in around $1.5 million .
Never mind that the Land Trust, in collaboration with the Left wing Southern Pines Town Council, stole the land to build a park that will keep west Southern Pines effectively racially segregated. The real gut punch here is the hundreds of thousands of dollars that Moore County schools left on the table to pander to a racially charged cabal without regard for how the additional funds from a private sale would have benefited students across the board. The land belonged to the school system. The board was obligated to sell it to the highest bidder. It betrayed the community.
Carter lamented that she wanted to separate the board from endless forays into the “real estate business” under the false pretense that it is laser-focused on quality education. But that does not square with:
- A board that twice has voted 4-3 to force kids to be masked all day in classrooms despite overwhelming bodies of evidence that masks are not effective and more than likely pose a mental health threat. Elementary school children especially are distracted and despairing of their filthy masks.
- A board that is hell bent on ramming down the throats of students so-called Social Emotional Learning and Climate surveys to learn as much as possible about their sexual proclivities, gender insecurities and emotional states. Currently, Moore County schools are surveying parents about the implementation of surveys by a third party, Panorama, a data mining operation backed by Tech tyrant Mark Zuckerberg. What could possibly go wrong?
- A board on which three members refused to condemn the inclusion of Critical Race Theory in history and social studies curricula. CRT would, for example, condemn Thanksgiving Day as a celebration of the disenfranchisement of native Americans. In other words, “Tell granny you’re sitting out next Thanksgiving.”
- A board that has refused in recent years to deny Superintendent Grimesey a contract extension amid a downward spiral in school wide performance numbers.
A local sage wisely observed that the Moore County school performance stats are so categorically disappointing that it is impossible to cherry pick them. But three categories shine light on the big picture staring county educators in the face.
- 55% of third graders are not reading at grade level across Moore County public schools.
- 49% of all eighth graders are not proficient in reading. (In other words, they probably can not pronounce “proficient” or tell you what it means).
- In grades three through eight, only 46% of students are performing at grade level in math.
The third rail of public education is the teachers themselves. In Moore County, the time seems ripe to re-evaluate both who is teaching our students and why they’re forsaking them. Let’s not repeat the mistake made in allocating new school funding. Let’s spread the blame around.