Letter: Peel wants public funds for private STEM school

By Tommy Old

7 Comments | Leave a Comment

Holly Koerber’s column published March 6 was titled “Probe of Peel’s educational efforts wrongheaded.” However, it should have been titled “Peel’s efforts to start a private STEM School with public funds.”

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Clearing Up Some Inaccuracies

I would like to clear up several inaccuracies in this editorial: 1. “The truth is a private effort for a STEM school would exclude many students who do not have the resources to attend”. This is not a private effort at all. It is a public effort to create a STEM charter school which is a public school established by the State Board of Education and bound by state law 115C-238.29. No resources will be required by any child to attend other than what is required to attend any other public school. This school will not exclude one single child on the basis of resources or any other basis for that matter. Students are selected for charter schools by a lottery which is held according to the state law cited above. 2. “funded by state vouchers” – Charter schools do not receive any funding from vouchers. Charter schools are funded just like normal public schools. State and local education dollars follow students to the school. Again this is spelled out in the law cited above. 3. “I heard Peel’s presentation to the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Board of Education. He almost wore the soles off his shoes tap dancing to pointed questions”. -- The meeting was held prior to the design of the school for the sole purpose of asking the Board to partner with us in developing the school so it could benefit all students in Pasquotank County. Specific questions could not be answered at the time because the design of the school did not exist. We were there asking them to help us answer the specifics. At a subsequent meeting the Board voted to not support this effort which might in the future limit its ability to benefit all students in the county. 4. “His target of an aviation focused curriculum is also misguided. Any job openings locally in those areas are predominately contract positions, not permanent jobs”. There are approximately 1400 permanent jobs at the airpark. The writer is correct contractors may change over time but the jobs will be here. By the way the pay for these jobs averages $50,000. While the student internship opportunities and the projects students will work on will be focused around the aerospace industry, the skills learned will be applicable to any form of advanced manufacturing job, not just those in the aerospace industry. 5. “With the massive military cuts, higher skilled people are available from the local military bases for these jobs rather than an 18 year old graduate.” – Of course there will always be people available from the outside but each company that has come here has made a commitment to hire local people which they have not been able to meet because there are no local people trained to work in this industry. 6. “COA already has a great program in aviation maintenance technology at the … There is no need to duplicate this effort.” This STEM school will not in any way duplicate COA’s program. In fact, it will build a pipeline for the students in the school interested in enrolling in COA’s program. When this school is finally built out, students will be able to graduate having completed this COA degree program. COA’s program is the finest in the country and students from all over the country will be applying to attend. This school will ensure our local students have the inside track. Readers might be interested to know that the school designed for our five county region is being modeled after a school which is already in its second year of operation at the Vernon James Research Center in Roper, NC. Here is a link so you can see the excitement this school has generated: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEWvyqtC9W4 Joe Peel

the mayor's reply should be published

it is only fair.

What is a charter school?

"A charter school is an independently run public school granted greater flexibility in its operations, in return for greater accountability for performance. The "charter" establishing each school is a performance contract detailing the school's mission, program, students served, performance goals, and methods of assessment".

STEM school's are PUBLIC

schools. Exactly how was this to be a private school funded by public money? Mayor Peele was acting in direct response to what local employers described they needed. COA is a post-high school training program. The proposed STEM school is a high school. Big difference. The vast majority of counties in NC now have or have plans for an alternative public school like the STEM school would be. Typical of our area, we will likely be left behind this very successful initiative because of ill-informed, naysayers, many of whom have personal agendas that do not include benefiting children in this area.

Well said

Well said. They are too stupid to realise that poverty is reaching a major tiping point in our area. 20 percent indigent!!! I'll give a real senario that could happen. Sentara closes or redesignates the hospital in ten years to something less due to the high indigent population (what businesses can stay profitable with fixed payments set by medicare and insurance companies while at the same time eating 100% costs of the top 20% most expensive pateints). With out a hospital the Coast Guard would move the base to any of the over abundance of ex military facilities. Poof, two of the areas largest employers gone. The city would be ruined, look at what Williamston, Little Washington or countless other Eastern NC cities used to be twenty years ago and then today. That would be us unless we try everything to save our city.

I'm sorry

I'm sorry, I thought it was a Charter School and not a private school. Now I will have to go research it since there is a huge difference.

Peel proposed a charter STEM school.

Read this newspaper's editorial. Some people do not understand private versus public education options.

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