Up & Coming Weekly

June 21, 2022

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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4 UCW JUNE 22 - 28, 2022 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM STAFF PUBLISHER Bill Bowman Bill@upandcomingweekly.com OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Paulette Naylor accounting@upandcomingweekly.com EDITOR Emily Sussman editor@upandcomingweekly.com ASSISTANT EDITOR Hannah Lee assistanteditor@upandcomingweekly. com ART DIRECTOR Courtney Sapp-Scott art@upandcomingweekly.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Isaiah Jones graphics@upandcomingweekly.com STAFF WRITER Alyson Hansen Ashley Shirley Cindy Whitt MARKETING ASSOCIATE Linda McAlister linda@upandcomingweekly.com DISTRIBUTION MANAGER/SALES ADMINISTRATOR Laurel Handforth laurel@upandcomingweekly.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Margaret Dickson, John Hood, Nadia Minniti, Ben Sessoms, Kathleen Ramsey COVER Design by Courtney Sapp-Scott and Isaiah Jones Up & Coming Weekly www.upandcomingweekly.com 208 Rowan St. P.O. Box 53461 Fayetteville, NC 28305 PHONE: 910-484-6200- FAX: 910-484-9218 Up & Coming Weekly is a "Quality of Life" publication with local features, news and information on what's happening in and around the Fayetteville/Cumberland County community. Up & Coming Weekly is published weekly on Wednesdays. Up & Coming Weekly welcomes manuscripts, photographs and artwork for publication consideration, but assumes no responsibility for them. We cannot accept responsibility for the return of unsolicited manuscripts or material. Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to edit or reject copy submitted for publication. Up & Coming Weekly is free of charge and distributed at indoor and outdoor locations throughout Fayetteville, Fort Bragg, Pope Army Airfield, Hope Mills and Spring Lake. Readers are limited to one copy per person. © 2020 by F&B Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or advertisements without permission is strictly prohibited. Various ads with art graphics designed with elements from: vecteezy.com and freepik.com. PUBLISHER'S PEN 82 64 82 83 79 82 63 64 83 66 64 65 THU JUNE 23 FRI JUNE 24 SAT JUNE 25 SUN JUNE 26 MON JUNE 27 TUE JUNE 28 101 73 95 73 93 73 94 73 94 73 93 73 PM Thunderstorms PM Thunderstorms PM Thunderstorms PM Thunderstorms Scattered Thunderstorms Scattered Thunderstorms When I first began covering state poli- tics and public policy in the late 1980s, North Carolina families dissatisfied with the quality of education provided by their local school district had limited options. Some could afford private schools, or to move to other communities where they hoped the assigned public schools were better. A few were brave enough to try homeschooling their children. For most parents with concerns about their assigned schools, however, the only recourse was to complain to administra- tors or try to elect different politicians to their local school boards. Neither option proved particularly effective. Since then, the situation has dramati- cally changed for the better. For one thing, the state legislature created three new options — chartered public schools, opportunity scholarships for private education and educational sav- ings accounts for special-needs students — that provide a wide range of choices for many North Carolina families. During the last school year, for example, some 130,000 students were enrolled in the state's charter schools. Another 20,000 students received opportunity scholar- ships to attend private schools. Some 13,000 additional students have applied for scholarships next year. Partially in response to these policy changes, teachers and entrepreneurs have created new educational enterprises that seek to serve families in new ways. Some are new brick-and-mortar schools and networks. Others offer "university model" education that blend in-person and at-home instruction. Still others provide textbooks, resources, supplemental ser- vices and other assistance to homeschool families. And with regard to the governance of school districts themselves, many North Carolinians are part of a national move- ment to push back against slapdash instruction, politicized curricula and operational decisions that fail to put the interests of students first. Initially frustrat- ed by the lengthy COVID shutdowns im- posed by state and local officials, parents grew angry when they saw firsthand what their children were being taught — or not being taught, as the case may be. In the past, school-board elections were relatively low-turnout affairs in which lo- cal chapters of the North Carolina Asso- ciation of Educators — the state affiliate of the nation's largest teacher union — often played outsized roles. e NCAE's influ- ence is ebbing, however, thanks partly to changes in the timing and structure of school-board elections and partly to NCAE's own missteps. e organization is down to about 17,000 members, a tiny fraction of the to- tal number of teachers and principals who staff North Carolina's public schools. Even as NCAE was shrinking, it was becoming increasingly shrill and ideologically left- wing. As a school-choice proponent and prac- titioner — my own children have attended a mixture of public and private schools — I recognize that many North Carolinians continue to cherish their relationships with their local school districts. ey want their district-run schools to succeed, even as they also favor expanded options for families who want something different. To advocate choice and competition, as I do, is not to advocate the abolition of public schools. In fact, I believe com- petition makes school districts better. at's the way most other fields of human endeavor work, including preschool and higher education. As I've written about many times, there's good empirical evi- dence for the proposition that increasing school-choice options in a community tends to improve student achievement and educational attainment within public- school districts, too. Progressives disagree. ey seek at least to roll back and constrain our school- choice programs, if not to abolish them altogether. ey're not going to succeed, though. e constituency for these pro- grams is too large and growing too rapidly. Would you believe that North Carolina ranks seventh in the nation in the share of children educated outside of district- run public schools? I didn't either until I examined the latest numbers from Ed- Choice.org. Only Delaware, Louisiana, Ar- izona, Hawaii, Florida and Pennsylvania had higher percentages of kids enrolled in private, charter, or home schools. According to the most-recent estimates, about a quarter of North Carolina kids were so enrolled last year. at's going to continue to rise, no matter how loudly progressives complain about it. Parents' voices are louder, and more numerous. Power is shifting towards parents by JOHN HOOD JOHN HOOD, Board Member, John Locke Foundation. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomingweekly.com. 910-484-6200 Photo courtesy of Pexels.

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