Last night I attended at the County Commission’s annual budget meeting to hear advocates for public education.
As a candidate for the Mecklenburg County Board of Education, it was not my role to personally speak at the meeting.
Bill Anderson eloquently spoke from MeckEd. Teachers from NAE spoke passionately. Chairwoman McRae was pushed to wait hours and hours before speaking, so I unfortunately did not hear her remarks. Michael Barnes was similarly delayed on the list and could not stay; I certainly do not blame him in the least.
In the end, nobody spoke from the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, Asian-American Chamber, Latin American Chamber, Latin American Coalition, Arrowood Business Association, Rotary, etc.; NO BUSINESS GROUPS AT ALL spoke to the County Commission about how and why public education is a vital business issue, and an economic development issue.
It would have been strongly compelling for diverse business interests to stand together for public education at last night’s meeting.
Conversely, the almost total lack of business advocacy for public education was equally palpable.
Perhaps, I hope, such advocacy is occurring behind closed doors.
When the County points to Raleigh, and Raleigh says “no”, we all get hurt.
We have serious problems in public education, chief among them attracting and retaining the best teachers. Tuesday Night’s Capital Needs Assessment to the Board of Education also projected 20,000 new students in 10 years and the need for up to 35 new schools, an upcoming County issue on bonds.
Leaders run towards problems, not away from them, nor sit silently as problems grow.
I need your help. We, in the community, need your help, as business leaders, to stand together for public education.