Letter to the editor: Townsend believes in public education

Published 11:40 am Tuesday, October 20, 2020

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To the editor:

I believe in public education and am very distressed to watch how it has deteriorated over the past 30 years in NC. We once put a priority on providing students with a well-rounded education, knowing that not every student would go to college after graduation, but agreeing that all of our young people needed to start life in America with the same basic information in order to be successful and productive. In the past 30 years we have seen education in NC degrade from that ideal, where students could learn home economics, agriculture, machine shops, foreign language, physical education, art, music, civics to teaching them to pass a national testing standard. Not only does that not educate our youth and prepare them for the future to be responsible and contributing members of society, it hurts them in many ways that we are witnessing with society now.

Keith Townsend, a retired public school teacher, agrees with me and is running for election to represent us in the NC House District 77. I strongly believe it is time for positive change from the current legislators, who year after year after year have put corporate interests ahead of our young people, our health, and our future. It is infuriating to see how our General Assembly continues an assault on public education through policy changes that masquerade as budget cuts and end up sortchanging our children and our future.

Since 2011, the current legislators ended the NC Teaching Fellows Program that encouraged young people to commit to a teaching career, providing needed scholarships in return for service to the children of NC. It was short sighted to abolish salary increases for teachers with advanced degrees. We should encourage educators to model continuing their education to be better teachers. These career politicians decreased teaching assistants for the classrooms, something that directly hurts our children. Those extra hands in elementary school are important to our children’s education and should not be an option. Ask any school child, teacher or principal about the importance of assistants.

These are only a few concerns about many damaging policy changes made by those in the General Assembly who have been there way too long. Keith Townsend understands how something that looks good on paper does not always work when put into practice. We need more folks in Raleigh that have a connection to what is really happening in our schools.

Please take the time to learn about the two candidates running to represent us in our NC legislature. I am grateful to have the option to vote to elect Keith Townsend for NC House 77, and trust Mr. Townsend  will be a caring community leader for Davie County.

Dr. Erma Jefferies