Editorial: The silence was deafening

January 31, 2014 

We whine. We complain to each other. But given a chance to let the Wake County school superintendent know our thoughts about our schools we become a bunch of shrinking violets.

Shame on us. Of course, it would have been unreasonable to expect every parent of every child to attend the recent Superintendent’s Direct Line meeting. There is more going on than just this single meeting, even here in sleepy eastern Wake County.

But it’s not unreasonable, based on the comments we hear from parents on a weekly basis, to believe that there could not have been a sizable crowd at last week’s meeting. Shame on us. Just, well, shame on us.

There wasn’t a single municipal leader in attendance, elected or appointed. There wasn’t a PTA president willing to take the time to speak. There wasn’t anybody.

At Broughton High School on Monday night, despite the impending weather, about 50 parents turned out to bend Superintendent Jim Merrill’s ear.

It is a cop out, quite frankly, to plead ignorance. It is a cop out to say “Oh, well, we’re not smart enough as a region to make an effective argument.” It is a cop out to say any effort to seek change would fall on deaf ears.

Just about every parent of a student in eastern Wake County would have no trouble fussing at a teacher if they thought their child was being mistreated. Just about every parent in eastern Wake County would have no trouble going to their child’s principal to complain about something they don’t like.

But take a chance on talking to the big man? No way. Not us. We’re not interested.

If folks in eastern Wake County aren’t going to advocate for the needs of their children when they have a chance – and let’s be clear. Merrill came here; we didn’t have to go to a central office meeting – then it’s hard to believe school administrators are going to sense a great need to do anything other than maintain the status quo.

These are harsh words. We understand that. But we want to produce children in eastern Wake County that are on academic par with students of rich parents in Cary and North Raleigh. Guess what? The folks in Raleigh told Merrill what they thought. We were sadly silent. Here’s a prediction: We’ll get what we ask for. And, it’s about what we deserve.

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