Originally Published on March 7, 2016

Before Betsy and I moved from Florida to Chapel Hill years ago, we studied several potential destinations.

Where would be the best place for us to raise our three daughters?

We wanted to live in a community that offered good public schools and access to the arts.

Chapel Hill seemed like the perfect fit and it was.  The enrolled in Seawell Elementary School, then on to Phillips Middle, then Chapel Hill High School.  All excellent schools where their teachers were wonderfully engaged, caring and inspiring.

Back in the 70s, people in public office tended to support excellence in public education.  That’s changed, of course.  As Republicans have worked hard to undermine public education in every way they can.  Both here in Chapel Hill and across the nation.

When our nation was just getting started, John Adams insisted that people take responsibility for he called the education of a whole people and be willing to pay for it.

When people came to America from other countries for a better life, we all valued public education as a great way to educate them into productive citizens and create unity out of diversity.

These are worthy goals at any time.  Don’t, they still apply today?  Why are other nations educating their people better than we are?

Why are our elected officials bent on widening that gap?  Why are they working so hard to create alternatives for the privileged while destroying the opportunities for the rest of us?

Why do they devalue our best teachers?

Why are the Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools, once the standard-bearer for public education in an enlightened state, now having to choose what to cut from their budget?

We know who got us into the mess.  Their priorities are wrong.  Their systematic obstruction of public education weakens an entire nation.

The misguided campaign has come home now to the once excellent schools of Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

So, what are we going to do about it?

— Raleigh Mann


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