Morehead City, N.C.

July 18, 2019

TO THE EDITOR:

I could not in good conscience allow Mr. Day’s letter in the Sunday, July 14, edition to go unchallenged. It contains several misrepresentations that an educational leader in our fine county should not be sharing.

First, to say that the Board of Education did not vote to close MaST is a deliberate play on words. If you watch the YouTube video of the BOE dated June 20, Mr. Day himself specifically says at least twice that their vote would result in the closure of Mast. And yet his letter to the editor dated July 13 says they did not vote to close MaST. This is an absurd play on words along the lines of President Clinton saying, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” or President Obama’s “If you like your health care plan you can keep it.”

Another typical politician trying to cover his tracks. I encourage anyone interested to watch the BOE meeting from June 20 to get a clearer picture of the agenda here. It is quite clear from Mr. Day’s actions that he is leading the charge to close MaST. He rarely allowed any of the other board members the opportunity to speak, and frequently spoke over them. This is not how a “chairman” is supposed to act.

Secondly, Mr. Day states that he has never communicated with any state representatives in several years. This is a problem! How can the leader of our Board of Education not be in contact with and lobbying state legislators on the behalf of our school system? We asked the Board of Education to contact the state legislators to lobby for MaST funding during the public comment period at their meeting on June 11. Clearly this fell on deaf ears. This is not acceptable for someone who is supposed to advocate for our local Board of Education, especially the “chairman.” It is also indicative of his personal agenda to close the school, rather than to actually try to persuade our state representatives to fund it. Remember, the original vote to open the school was 5-1 with Mr. Day being the only one opposed.

Mr. Day then goes on to point out that he is trying to look out for all of the kids in the school system, and he does not think it fair to provide the benefits of MaST for a small number of kids who were “lucky lottery winners.” This is a blatant misrepresentation of how kids were accepted into MaST. As Principal Mrs. Rosen has repeatedly pointed out, kids were selected based on several factors including family educational background, and the kids’ previous academic records. It was not a lottery! And it has led to a very diverse student body with kids from numerous backgrounds that have really gotten along well. This is good for our county!

Based on his argument, how does Mr. Day defend singling kids out for the AIG programs, for the arts and athletic programs that require kids to try out, and for the Tiller Charter School? All those programs benefit the “few” and I am sure there are kids who don’t make the cut that would like to be included. MaST is simply another school alternative that every eighth grader in the county has the opportunity to apply for.

Statewide, early college high schools have been common practice for several years and often are among the top performing public high schools in the state (www.ncpublicschools.org/src/)

In southeastern North Carolina, Jones and Pamlico counties are the only counties who do not have one. The Wilmington area has five; Craven County has two. We are paying our state taxes into the statewide educational system and supporting over 133 of these type high schools elsewhere and they are performing exceptionally well. Why doesn’t Mr. Day and our local Board of Education fight for us to get those dollars back to Carteret County in the form of MaST? But, as he stated in his letter, he has not felt the need to contact any state legislators in many years.

Lastly, the funding for MaST is now in the state budget of both houses as soon as the legislature and the governor can agree over Medicaid funding. If the budget passes, Mr. Day and company will have vacated our opportunity to receive thousands of dollars in funding from the state. When you add this to the expenditures that Carteret Community College spent on the MaST facility, Mr. Day and company are walking away from a tremendous amount of state funding that was showing exceptional progress for our county students.

Mr. Day, Mr. Jenkins, Mrs. Chadwick and Mrs. Wheatly — your votes to close MaST will be on your public records as well as your efforts that are having a very disruptive affect on the kids of MaST. With over 100 families affected by your short-sighted decisions, I predict that there will be consequences for you all to pay in the next election cycle.

You have one last opportunity to make this right with the upcoming vote on the future of MaST. I respectfully ask that you reconsider your vote and do what is right for our county educational system. Give the MaST students and the MaST school a chance to make a positive impact on Carteret County!

CLARK JOHNSON

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(12) comments

Crabpot

The validity of Mr. Johnson’s letter (here) stands. In the end, regardless of how this MaST debacle turns out, several things are for certain. Faith in the direction and “leadership” of the BOE with emphasis towards Mr. Day has eroded. Platforms used for elections are hollow. Seemingly (or the appearance) of self enrichment and the continuance of personal agenda(s) remains intact. Finally, the standards for which politicians who want to hold positions on the BOE will increase by way of the wary voter.

DeadBolt

Dr. Robert Epstein on Big Tech Censorship [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMU2Vo6_CEQ ] WE HAVE BEEN SO ADVISED. (just cut copy and paste link)

NC-Native-Son

I have already commented that it appears Mr. Day cannot abide by the fact there are high school students in Carteret county who are more intelligent than he is. Therefore his plan is to dumb down the system to something he can understand. This is not a political party thing because many counties run by republicans have equivalent programs to MaST. It really seems that this is a personal matter for a person who has already demonstrated that he is not very bright.

dc

There are HS students more intelligent? And, they were educated where? WCHS, ECHS, Croatan or home schooled? If they are so smart why the need for another school? Traditional HS too dumb to educate them? They got smarter than him after one year at MaST? Some counties have more than one early college HS. How many of these schools do we need? Will MaST be enough or do we need more? Why not just do away with traditional HS and go entirely early college? Will that be good enough or do you want to go even further?

dc

Oh, forgot were some of these kids that are smarter than him educated in and coming directly from the middle schools and rising freshman and actually never at one of the high schools? If so looks like our elementary, middle schools and home schools are doing okay but now all of a sudden our high schools can't handle the job even though we are one of the better systems in the state. Makes no sense except for maybe the home-schooled kids. Don't know what you do about them if they are already so far behind or ahead. Just continue to home school maybe?

dc

So the students weren't really selected by lottery but by an interview process to determine if they were up to the rigors of an early college high school? Suppose a student wants to be a teacher? Can they apply but they don't need to take courses related to marine science? But wouldn't a teaching profession be important enough to rate its own early college? Any of you teachers encouraging students to become teachers? Why don't you advocate for an early college? Guess Marine Science is more important in this area than teaching and it can provide a much more lucrative career right?

dc

How about principals and administrators? Would you advocate a teachers early college?

PR

Talk to the teachers. Their opinion/s always get left out.

dc

That's an excellent idea but some would say it's the teachers' fault so it requires ideas and seed money from a billionaire's foundation to resolve problems in education. All the brain power in the education industry and it takes a Harvard drop out to fix things? When the seed money dries up who picks up the tab in perpetuity? Might it not have more to do with a lot of the garbage that's being handed down from the feds and added to by states and even lower and all the garbage we allowed to infiltrate our culture? Who can blame really concerned parents for home schooling until they no longer have the academic ability to teach their kids but believe they might be safer in an early college HS than in a traditional HS. They might be wrong but that's probably some of their thinking. Education is just a direct reflection of society in general. Where have we gone wrong? If we don't know then that's most of the problem.

dc

It might be said that we have a revolving door problem and not only is education a direct reflection of society in general but society in general is a direct reflection of education. Higher ed in particular maybe?

Lashleylynn

My son was in the first MaST class 2018-2019. I KNOW there was NO interview to get him in?! Please don’t make statements that are completely untrue? My son is an extremely shy and very intelligent boy! He had to wait for some students in his traditional middle school to get up to par with where he was. I didn’t think this was fair but what can you do? Then came MaST and my son thrived for the first time! He now had friends and no longer felt alone and isolated as he had in all the years in school in the traditional school system. I pray that MaST is allowed to continue because my son isn’t quite ready to be thrown back into the traditional school system. He wants to be a doctor and will not have the opportunity that he has at MaST! If anyone with children will just think about their own kids and what they would do for them to get the best education possible! I know my husband and I would do anything we can to continue with MaST! I will also remember the board member who have come against our school and will vote accordingly next voting cycle!

dc

Elected officials are suppose to represent all of us not just a few. Having said that if keeping MaST open will eliminate the need to buy/lease mobile classrooms or build a new school then that alone is enough to justify keeping MaST open. Question then is CCC going be asking for more funding to house and meet MaST's other needs beyond per pupil spending for traditional students? These are questions that need to be answered quickly so everybody can get settled in for at least the next few years.

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