Community will miss the Thorps
What a shame for our community to lose Holden and Patti Thorp. They are both extraordinary individuals and we will miss their passion and energy for our university and our community. I wish them well, but it will be a sad day to see them go.Robert Dowling CarrboroReject zoning
Carrboro is being asked to rezone lots along Center Street in the historic mill-house neighborhood. CVS wants to build a two-story 24/7 drugstore/commercial building with a giant parking lot (CHN, Feb. 24, bit.ly/Yrm5Qh
). This is a mistake.
The citizens of Carrboro reject it and the aldermen who represent us should reject it as well. Carrboro has a vital downtown.Carr Mill and the mill houses are still right in the middle of it. Our history is embodied in our architecture.
Shall we rezone so we can plop a big-box store right between the mill and the mill houses and start the downhill process that takes the spark out of downtown? No! The only way to fight a gradual encroachment is to fight it every step of the way.
Carrboro deserves better and the first step is to hold fast to our zoning. It's there to protect a precious neighborhood.Peter de Leeuw Co-owner 102 Center St.Mediocre charters
The New York Times editorial of Feb. 1, “More Lessons About Charter Schools," questions the efficacy of these institutions. It focuses on the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University (CREDO), which tracks student performance in 25 states continuously.
A large-scale study of 2009 showed that only 17 percent of charter schools provided a better education than public schools, while 37 percent offered a worse education. North Carolina was among states in which charter school student’s reading and math gains were either mixed or not different than peers in public schools. African -American students performed significantly below their public school peers in math with no difference in reading.
Given such a mediocre record, what is the justification for increased public expenditure on charter schools at the expense of our public schools?Elliott Mills Chapel Hill The charter challenge
The state Office of Charter Schools received 161 letters of intent for potential charter applications later this spring. This signals a tripling of applications over 2012 and a continued surge in new charter schools opening across the state.
As a charter principal, I am excited by the interest in starting new charters, but I recommend Gov. McCrory and the State Board of Education manage this growth carefully. Our leaders have an opportunity to leverage charter growth to help us solve one of biggest education problems our state faces: how our public schools improve the life outcomes of children from low-income communities.
First, new charters schools need to be held to higher standards of accountability. The application process should be more rigorous and less politicized. We must hold the bar higher for existing charters as well. The governor and state board must aggressively close schools that fail to achieve student growth. Sure, the rules are different for traditional public schools, but that’s the point. Charter schools get autonomy by submitting to high-stakes accountability. In turn, well-run schools that are excelling academically and socially should earn further flexibility in how they achieve their goals.
Second, the governor should push for equal access to all our public charter schools. Too many do not provide bus transportation or free lunch, thereby limiting access to low-income students. It is imperative that we do not create private schools on the taxpayer dime. We need schools that close academic and social gaps for all kids, especially kids who qualify for free lunch, do not speak English, or have disabilities.
It’s critical we move beyond the contentious dialogue between charter public schools and traditional public schools. The Gates Foundation recently awarded $25 million to a small number of school districts for conducting groundbreaking work with charter schools (none in N.C.). The governor should follow their lead and recommend incentivizing a small number of districts that develop concrete partnerships with charter schools to promote innovation. If we truly want to ensure ALL students are ready for college and career we must come together to capitalize on the depth of knowledge, resources, and experience school districts have and the innovative practices happening in charter schools. Doing so will move us closer to the day when ALL children have access to an excellent education.Alex Quigley Maureen Joy Charter School Durham Enough kvetching
The Chapel Hill News seems unaware of Town Council meetings’ full history in awarding roses (CHN, Feb. 20, bit.ly/Yn0StY
) to a council member who has opposed payment in lieu for affordable housing after the Community Home Trust director described the various needs for money to maintain the affordable units and residents.
Certainly the development review process needs streamlining, and council members whom I’ve supported favor that. Sally Greene’s record does not.
Matt Czajkowski simply echoed demands to end Town Council meetings before 11 p.m., as Laurin Easthom and others express. The CHN seems to mimic Greene’s tendency to see issues as either black or white. Czajkowski, and even now Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, see issues in real-world gradations of gray.
I attend many council meetings to speak for those residents who approve of municipality renovations but are too busy running businesses and families to be present through hours of repetitive “neighbors” primarily kvetching. Some residents ask me how I can stand to listen to all that predictable repetitive activist commentary. I do it because the Just-Say-No machine is always present and petitioning, and I am retired.
I suggest Town Council require strings of residents on one issue to make one to two statements that “I agree with X’s comments that Y and Z.” Then a speaker should be advised to add truly new comments or end. This especially applies to speakers following residents’ PowerPoint presentations.
I’m pretty sure Czajkowski would agree with that. I hope the CHN will return to objectivity. Lynne Kane Chapel HillEnd corn subsidies
The commentary by Emily Zucchino is timely (“Free trade promise has failed U.S., Mexico,” Feb. 20, bit.ly/15evYdC
Any sort of amnesty for illegal immigrants now in the country is not going to solve the problem. The only long-term solution is to stop all subsidies to the corn and the dairy sector in the United States so that the farmers in Mexico and other developing countries can make a decent living in their own country. By exempting corn and the dairy from NAFTA, the U.S. is creating an incentive for the poor Mexican workers to cross the border and become a cheap source for labor.
I come from India and even the Indian agriculturalists are worried about cheap imports of U.S. corn products. Most are exported by the U.S. at about 10 percent below cost, possible only because of the huge subsidies doled out by the government.
From times immemorial India has been a strong believer in the Sanskrit saying “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” meaning the whole world is a single family .
This can be achieved only if there is a free flow of both services and goods. WTO and the GATT only controls/regulate the flow of goods, and unless there is a similar mechanism for the free flow of services, illegal immigration cannot be avoided.Parlikad N V Chapel Hill
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