“The event is for Chamber of Commerce members only”

If you live in Holly Springs, there’s a meeting about your kids education but you’re not invited. It’s for the Chamber of Commerce members only.   Via News and Observer:

Local and state officials – including state Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam and Wake County school board member Susan Evans – will participate in a panel discussion at 8 a.m. Wednesday at the Holly Springs Cultural Center.

The speakers will talk about capped schools, new school construction, Common Core standards and achievements at local schools.

“We’re trying to make sure the business community in Holly Springs is aware of developments, because it affects them,” said Tom Wyrick, owner of Whizard Academy in Cary and Holly Springs, who helped organize the event.

Whizard Academy? It’s a math and English tutoring outfit that appears to be Common Core free and has their own materials and method they developed over a 25 year period.  I wish them luck with their SAT/ACT prep service, David Coleman has made their job a lot harder to avoid Common Core.

Further down in the N&O article, with emphasis added:

Wake schools Area Superintendent Lloyd Gardner and Assistant Superintendent Joe Desormeaux are scheduled to speak at the event about plans to open a new elementary school in Holly Springs for the 2016-17 school year.

Stam and Evans, however, said they expect to field more questions about what’s being taught in local classrooms.

“I believe that parents are really concerned about making sure their children and the employees they hire are college and career ready,” Stam wrote in an email.

“Concerns over the school capacity issue rank very highly,” Evans said. “But I get a lot of feedback from parents who say kids these days have an excessive amount of standardized testing.”

Gardner and Lloyd are listed on the district “leadership” page for Wake County Schools. They both seem to deal with aspects of facilities.

I feel like Representative Stam’s comment there came right out of a Chamber of Commerce talking point email. He’s my Representative, voted AYE to SB 812 and to see that statement come from  him horrified me.

Dear Rep. Stam – Parents are concerned their kids are getting a real education, not being prepped them as ‘human capital‘ to be ‘career and college ready’ at the wishes of businesses.  By the way, what the heck does ‘career and college ready’ even mean??  No one can predict the jobs that will be out there when my child is ready to hit the job market, nor can they predict is interests or talents. He’s not a data set that can be extrapolated – he’s a CHILD. We’re concerned about the loss of local decision making in our schools. We’re concerned our kids are being used like lab rats in education experiments — we know they are being tested like them. My advice? Start listening to more parents and fewer Chamber talking heads.

[Read more about the Chamber of Commerce and Common Core:  A Blitz Of Influence And Money In NC Education]

Evans is right for once though, standardized testing is going to be a major bone of contention based on the number of emails and questions I’ve gotten on the subject in the last 2-3 months. Evans goes on to talk about the Wake ‘strategic vision’, which I wrote about before and consisted of bringing in the educational equivalent of a motivational speaker who’s main business is pushing Common Core.

us-chamber-of-horrorsThe article ends with two sentences:

“The event is for Chamber of Commerce members only. A recording of the meeting will be uploaded to the town’s website at hollyspringsnc.us.”

I’ll be sure to get that audio since non-Chamber member parents, who are integral parts of our community, who have the ultimate say over what our children learn and who spend their hard-earned dollars at the businesses in Holly Springs, are not allowed to even attend.

That’s fine, it’s a meeting meant for businesses  even though it’s discussing real hot button issues that concern every parent. Citizens might want to let the Holly Springs Chamber know how they feel about that.

I would urge Rep. Stam and Susan Evans to hold another forum in Holly Springs on the same issues, make it open to the public who votes for you and put an announcement like this one in the paper with enough lead time to allow for a good crowd of parents to show up.  I won’t hold my breath,  but Holly Springs parents shouldn’t sit there and shrug either. Contact them.

Rep. Stam – Paul.Stam@ncleg.net, 919-733-2962

Susan Evans – sevans5@wcpss.net, 919 – 431-7331


Related Reading: CHAMBER WATCH

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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