Mayor’s remarks are concerning
Mayor Vaughan’s statement at last week’s City Council meeting greatly concerns us — but not in the way she intended.
She questioned the truth of quotes from the lawyers of Marcus Smith’s family that were written in summaries of 50 incidents of hog-tying by the Greensboro Police Department (GPD) within a nine-month period. The Smiths’ legal team viewed footage from cameras worn by police and described the incidents in the court record.
After we spoke to the council about these incidents, Mayor Vaughan cautioned us not to “parrot” the plaintiff’s attorney, which implied the information we cited was false. This is a serious charge and needs to be addressed. If the mayor believes the Smith family legal team has misrepresented these descriptions to the court and the Department of Justice, it is incumbent upon her to back up what she says with evidence.
Further, the mayor’s statement impugns the integrity of 25 citizens, including N.C. Sen. Gladys Robinson, former Mayor Carolyn Allen, former County Commissioner Margaret Arbuckle, 11 local pastors and the Rev. William Barber II, who signed the letter to the Department of Justice urging an investigation into the discriminatory patterns and practices of the GPD and its “grossly inadequate supervision, discipline, and training.”
Mayor Vaughan’s inaction on police misconduct impugns her integrity.
Christine Hoepfner Marcia Foutch Paulette Montgomery Greensboro
Charles Davenport Jr. was mostly on target Sunday (“Even if you erase 2020, our schools are failing,” Oct. 3) when commenting on recent unsatisfactory end-of-course and end-of-grade public school test results in Guilford County.
Yes, COVID and virtual classes made these scores much worse, but they had already been poor for years. Our public schools are failing our youth and the state’s future workforce, the No. 1 reason for businesses to locate and expand here.
The main editorial Sunday also addressed education, criticizing the legislature for “pinching education pennies” at the expense of those same children.
Yet neither article provided five years of data/results in order to determine a trend. Neither showed if charter schools do any better. And no comparisons were made to the many private schools’ results.
I am not a professional educator, and neither are our legislators. But I do know about constant process improvement in manufacturing and how to maximize first-quality yield, improve productivity and increase efficiencies.
The first rule is to listen to the “operators,” the ones doing the job itself. Seems we should begin the improvements to our public school system by really listening to our teachers.
Watts Carr Greensboro
It’s easy to teach?
I’ll never shy from a debate on the strengths and weaknesses of our schools. It’s important to pause every so often to ensure we’re providing children the education and skills they’ll need to thrive as adults.
Yet anyone (Charles Davenport, Oct. 3, “Even if you erase 2020, our schools are failing”) who proclaims that “teaching is not brain surgery, rocket science, or dental hygiene” and that “if you have mastered the academic material, and you can communicate effectively, you can teach” is strongly suggesting they’ve never spent a day at the front of a classroom.
We already judge teachers based on test scores of students who might arrive each morning with a constellation of obstacles to academic success, from hunger to housing insecurity to the stress of caring for siblings when parents work the late shift. Yes, we should want every student in our public schools to meet grade-level expectations for reading, writing and arithmetic. Let’s just keep a little perspective.
And if Mr. Davenport would care to gain such perspective, I’m sure that as a newspaper columnist he’s mastered the academic material required to teach language arts or writing composition in one of our understaffed schools. Easy peasy, right?
Eric Townsend Greensboro
Words to live by
Please read these 31 words out loud and think about what they mean:
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
In 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked what type of government we have. “A republic — if you can keep it,” he said.
For those who pledge allegiance to Donald Trump and his Republican Party and who fail to speak out against his lies about the presidential election: I ask you to stay seated when those of us who indeed love our country and hold dear the sacred value of our democratic republic rise to pledge our allegiance.
I ask you to act on your values and sit in shame of your allegiance to this man and the members of his party who are hell-bent to destroy our republic.
I ask you to hang your head in shame that you are such suckers for this man’s poison.
If you dare rise to the pledge, I ask you to hear those words anew, and ask yourself, “How am I going to keep this republic safe from Trump?”
William Dudley Greensboro