Harkers Island, N.C.

Mar. 5, 2021

TO THE EDITOR:

To the board of education:

I think each of you really need to look at the AMAZING results of MaST students and what they are doing. Your vote today closed MaST, our Early College and turned it into the Dual Enrollment program, which has a NINETEEN YEAR history of being a complete and utter failure for minority and under-served students.

And it was done at the hands of an all-white Republican Board of Education with two direct family members of an all-white Republican Board of Commissioners who changed our school board in secret from non-partisan to partisan without our county's knowledge or vote.

At our hearing in November, there was testimony given that only THREE traditional high school students had managed to graduate with an Associate's Degree in the 19 years that program has been in Carteret County.

MaST high school students are going to do that by December after only being open for 3 years with a total of 94 students enrolled. Why aren't you CELEBRATING them? I watch all the Board meetings. I see you parading kids through there all the time celebrating their achievements.

Why can't you do that for MaST students? They deserve recognition for their achievements, too. But it has never come. Even now, after months of no one on the Board of Education even mentioning the word MaST, you call a "Special Meeting" and allow NO ONE to speak, on purpose I suspect, and then make a decision without allowing ANYONE from the public to say anything???

Even when a student at the school emailed you days beforehand and asked for a few minutes to let you know how the school had changed her life?

Now you have voted 6-1 to close MaST in two years, while at the same time block the only pathway our minority and underserved students have to achieve an Associate's Degree? Wow.

I sent in a request in February for the same information on the Dual Enrollment program as I obtained from the MaST program. The MaST information was freely given and given with pride.

The information request to the Carteret County School System was replied not to me, but to a law firm in Raleigh that represents another parent by Neil Whitford with efforts only to stall its release. Exactly how long does it take to gather and why would there be hesitation?

Perhaps the same reason Mr. Whitford didn't want to answer the demographics that revealed the Dual Enrollment program only had 20 minority students out of 270 enrolled???

It only took Mr. Rick Hill a couple of hours, yet attorney Neil Whitford acts as if collecting that information on the past 3-5 years of the Dual Enrollment program is like asking him excavate an Egyptian sarcophagus! It is PUBLIC RECORD that the school system has to keep and report to the State of NC anyway!

I just want everyone here to see AND ACKNOWLEDGE what these kids are accomplishing. I'm sure these numbers won't make it onto Board of Education member and UNC Professor Travis Day's hate website. Let's not forget MaST has a 25% minority enrollment and was the highest percentage of free and reduced lunch high school (when that information was released.) Dual enrollment has a LESS THAN 1% MINORITY ENROLLMENT.

Also, let me point out that MaST probably will not get the $100,000 principal salary paid next school year because the BOE (intentionally) kept the student enrollment below 100 by "pausing" freshman enrollment last year, and our current enrollment sits at 94, thanks to their efforts.

When Mr. Whitford completes his excavation project with his card catalog and fan brush, I'll pass the Dual Enrollment's certifications and Associate's Degree information along too. Then we'll be able to compare them by percentage to MaST and truly see if the BOE is doing right by the county's students.

ROBIN ANDREWS MEYER

(2) comments

DunnDone

Why are we encouraging these kids to take college courses if they aren't getting a certificate at the end of HS? Why would you tell them to go get college credit, when they could earn a degree instead?

Seems to me that you

1. Offer college coursework that can lead to a degree while in HS (Mast or similar program)

2. increase your offerings of Honors courses.... Community College credits in NC do not transfer out of state. Honors Courses are recognized across the US and awarded credit as such.

What am I missing?

David Collins

Sounds like a lot of indecision , sidestepping , dodging and ducking on this issue by folks that supposedly are qualified to make rational decisions . Does little for the confidence issue . Why is it so hard ? Seems like lots of folks are missing something and that something is probably where the problem lies . Don’t have a dog in this fight , thank goodness.

Welcome to the discussion.

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