Letters to the Editor

We hurt children, families when we don’t support educational choice

DeDreana Freeman is a member of the Durham City Council.
DeDreana Freeman is a member of the Durham City Council. contributed photo

Support educational choice

Much has been said since Monday about the Durham City Council voting on whether or not to allow Excelsior Charter School to pursue education revenue bonds.

As tempting as it is to continue the debate, l want to plead for the greater community to be mindful of our ability to repeat discrimination based on rhetoric.

Regardless of your personal belief on the charter vs. public the students are all residents in our city, and not supporting families’ educational choices has the potential to harm children and families.

How? Disrupting the learning environment and jeopardizing children’s access or ability to gain their education during the school year. Mental health and well-being, especially for children, must be considered, as the systems we create as decisions makers can reinforce discrimination based on ideology or dismantle discrimination. We as a city, county and school district are better than this and have more common interests than differences. We all want the best for every child living in our community, so let’s do the work to ensure that.

The continued back and forth around this vote has created a divisive atmosphere that plays into the current national political environment. I urge everyone involved to take a step back and think beyond the opinions and rhetoric to see the children in our city, to embrace our differences, and to develop innovative options for moving forward that supports all of our families, encourages collaboration and partnership.

DeDreana Freeman

The writer is a member of the Durham City Council.

How is school a threat?

Regarding the news story, “The charter school debate gets personal in Durham as council rejects expansion’’:

I'm still trying to digest how "charters are now becoming a mechanism by which public education in our state and our community is being threatened and being harmed"? How can you blame a school that's providing excellent education curriculum, best moral practices to their students, and giving back so much to the local communities as a threat to DPS? Perhaps the DPS should treat this as an opportunity for collaboration and partnership to improve their own curriculum and agenda?

I, as a parent like all others parents, would like to choose the "best" for my children and glad that there options in the Durham area for my kids. Why should I (or any parents) settle when it comes to education for our children? I believe all parents, children, and educators should have better options wherever they are.

I would like to extend my sincere thank-you to the two council members, DeDreana Freeman and Mark-Anthony Middleton, for being the brave few to vote for the young and weak. Excelsior Academy has been delivering excellence to Durham and local communities. We will rise above all challenges. Hear us Roar, Watch us Soar!

Minh-thu Trinh

via www.heraldsun.com

Fruit of poisoned tree

Regarding the news story, “The charter school debate gets personal in Durham as council rejects expansion’’:

Universal education (aka public schools) in North Carolina was started by “the education governor” Charles Aycock , who was an avid klansman, to stop African Americans from starting their own private schools.

The resultant black dependency on defunded public schools and distrust of people of color’s independent education is just a result of supremacist strategic planning. That POC and their supposed advocates have become the most avid supporters of an institution created to scuttle black intelligence and empowerment is either due to ignorance or subornment. Both serve to subvert POC intelligence interests.

African Americans should start their own private schools where pedagogy and curriculum can be tailored to create a true African-American intelligentsia. Anything less is POC begging for fruit of the poisoned tree.

Charter schools are a step in the right direction, but ultimately, independence of state controlled pedagogy and curriculum should be the goal.

POC should also realize that there are agents at all levels of government, regardless of their rhetoric or party affiliations, who are directly invested in their miseducation and that they should be prepared to fund their own educations from the ground up if they want ameliorative results.

Solomon Burnette

via www.heraldsun.com

Singling out Israel

We all are grateful that Sam Bryan was able to learn from his honor that the mayor will not make the same mistake again (“The City Council’s intent,” Aug. 11). Thank you, Mr. Bryan, for that.

Your question was only about the future. But the history is different: The preamble is part of the statement. It posits more boycott for Israel than is found in the next paragraph that prohibits only "militaristic exchanges" with other countries.

Most importantly, Mayor Schewel knows that Mr. Rocamora’s letter (”Revise or repeal,” July 1) reports that he, the mayor, acknowledged the difference was intentional and has not denied it in public or in response to several emails from me.

But the most important fact is that singling out Israel is a hit on human relations with the mainstream Jewish Community; and a completely unnecessary one at that. The only reason to issue a Statement was to please the petitioners so that the poison could be spread to other cities.

Robert Gutman


Choosing party over country

NBC News has reported that Stephen Miller's next step in his white supremacist racist agenda is to start culling legal immigrants from our country by revoking their green cards and even legal citizenship via trumped (pun intended) up charges.

We are a nation of so many immigrants. There is a lot of talk these days about illegal immigration, but what we have seen recently is the government trying to discourage legal immigration and asylum requests as well.

This is un-American and it needs to stop immediately. We can still work on immigration reform together but these particular issues should be bipartisan.

Once again this is a time when I get to see if my elected officials, Rep. Butterfield and especially Republican Sens. Burr and Tillis, will choose their party over their country.

Steve Gardner


We can do better

About 25 years ago I worked for an organization that read and graded written essays for students of the Chicago School System. I recall reading an essay in which the student described beating someone up, putting them in a trash can and setting it afire. The paper was well written and received the highest marks from me. However, I shared it with my room supervisor, thinking that someone back in Chicago should be alerted. I believed the student. I don't know if there was any followup.

Fast forward a few years I was talking to woman who was an addict here in Durham. She was telling me that her 18-year-old daughter had just given birth to twins. Then she told me that her daughter had just gotten out of prison or some kind of juvenile facility. She had been there maybe three years. "What did she do?" I asked. She was with some kids that beat up another kid and dossed him with kerosene. "What did she do?" I asked again. "She lit the match,” the mother responded.

We can do better! I remember when developers where here from Chicago when I was on City Council. They wanted to invest $200 million to build Southpoint mall. I was thinking about the kids in Chicago then and the "dark" public housing communities there, which police officers did not enter. Shouldn't that money be invested there, I thought. I never said a word.

Yeah, we can do better. We must ...

Brenda Buie Burnette


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