CCTA Vice Chair, Glenn Fink, on Public Education in NC and Craven County

Glenn Fink went into the LION’s DEN and made this talk to the Craven County Board of Education a few days ago…

I am Glenn Fink, an active member of the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association, or CCTA.  CCTA recently established a formal Legislative Action Committee on which my wife, Kim, and I both serve.  Our Legislative Action Committee has identified priority items to work on, and several relate to public education.  They are as follows:

(1) Get rid of Common Core,

(2) Have HB588, the Founding Principals Act, enforced,

(3)Have Advanced Placement U.S. History taught to reflect the truth, not full of anti-American bias, and

(4) Have local Board of Education members elected by the districts they serve, not county wide.

In the last few weeks, we have met with all the General Assembly members that represent Craven County, and shared all of our priorities. Somehow, the item about how our Board of Education is elected made front page news on Wednesday.  I attended all the meetings with our local legislators including the one with the representative mentioned in the article, but my wife, also referenced in the article, was not even in attendance at this last meeting. The whole objective of this item is to help ensure the voice and will of the people is heard in the most direct and efficient manner.

The Board of Education members are elected, and by the very nature of that process, serve at the will of the people they represent, their constituents. The more the elected leadership process is moved away from “local” representation (being their district) to a larger constituent group (being the county), the less the voice of the people is heard.

This is the case with our current method. Based on my experience, the Board members seem to report to, and act accountable to, the Board Chairman. This seems reinforced by comments in the article by the Chairman that school board members plan to push back and possibly with a resolution at the Board’s meeting today. I have to question whether the members’ perspectives were even known when that statement was made.  In addition, there is the apparent official position of limiting an individual board member’s access to groups who have concerns.

The lowered voice of the people seems to be reinforced by comments in the article such as, “It has served us well,” and “We are very much in favor of how our elections are established.”  This sounds like it’s all about meeting the Board’s needs versus the needs of the citizens and their children. This concern is further reinforced by the Elections Director’s stating in the article that she doesn’t think all Craven County voters are aware of how the current election method works. Her review of the election data shows that there is only a small vote countywide in those areas.

There is something refreshing from this series of events. We got a timely direct response to our concern by the Chairman who appeared to be speaking for the whole Board. The concerning part is the topic that got an immediate response was not related to questions we’ve raised about the quality of the education process for the students of our county, but rather about a procedure that may impact Board members personally, but cloaked under the guise of, “It won’t be as good for the county.”

On a totally unrelated topic, the recent state wide school grading results are amazing.  You just cannot make this stuff up!  Only in the public school system is there a grading scale where you must be below 40% to receive a failing grade.  I know this is not a Craven County deal.  It is statewide, but it reinforces the mentality of NC Department of Public Instruction (DPI) leadership, and the need for Local Education Agencies (LEA)’s to stand up for what they believe is right.

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