16 January 2013

Sad Situation for Holly Springs Students

Ice everywhere this morning. Beautiful and dangerous. The gardenia bush is flattened. Throughout the night, the deep stillness was intermittently pierced by the sounds of branches breaking beneath the weight of the ice and falling onto the roof.

I was scheduled to present before the school principals and superintendent yesterday afternoon. The town was so quiet all morning, I suspected the schools were closed. I checked the school district's website but found no information there -- not even a telephone number for the superintendent. I called their offices and no one answered...but I've called on days of fair weather and no one answered the phone. This was not a clear answer.

I drove out to the office at 2:  no cars in the parking lot and the door was locked...but there was no sign on the door so I still wasn't sure the 4:00 meeting was cancelled.

Returning home, I composed a short email to the superintendent:  is the meeting still on? If so, please send a text message confirming.  If not, I am still eager to present and will wait to hear regarding rescheduling. Then I drove over to Christ Church to spend some time at piano.

It is almost 24 hours later. No response to the email. No text message. No new information at the website.

There's a "Christian academy" in Holly Springs. It's a private school and I'm told the student population is almost entirely white. Admission policy, as outlined on their website states:

Marshall Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, ethnic origin, disability, or sex.  Qualified applicants of all races and creeds are welcome.

Pictures on the website suggest it is a mostly, but not entirely, white enterprise.

Front and center on the home page is an announcement about school closing, yesterday and today.

If I were the parent of a school age child, despite my aversion to religious schools, I would likely place my child at Marshall Academy. Based on all easily accessible indicators, it appears to be a better school. I learned from a Marshall Academy student that there is no music program -- a definite flaw in the curriculum -- still, setting Holly Springs School district schools beside the Academy, the choice is clear for a parent seeking quality educational preparation for life for their child.

It's a sad situation. I imagine many parents, "black" and "white", here and elsewhere, believe public schools are inferior because they are mostly "black." This is an over-simplification. While it is true that the public schools are mostly "black" and also true that they are inferior to private schools in many respects, the two truths do not correlate in a clear-cut way. I've also heard the differences between public and private education attributed to amount of money available to each. I don't believe this explains the differences entirely either.

In my estimation, too many "black" Holly Springs residents have rationalized too many subpar features of this town and, specifically, the "black" institutions in the town, with "We don't have the money 'they' have." Does it take money to contact an artist scheduled to present at your meeting to let her know the meeting has been cancelled or to respond to her email of inquiry?  How much money does it take to post a "Schools are closed today" notice on your website or to tape an "Office Closed due to inclement weather" note on the front door of school headquarters as you lock up for the day earlier than usual (similar notices appeared in several locations around town yesterday)?

How much money is needed to adjust an attitude?