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To whom did the School Board members pray?

Dear Editor,

There is something wrong about the way Dr. Jackson's contract is being terminated and the season of it. If those who voted against him can't tell the public why they voted and have objective means, they are out of order and will be held responsible for the chaos and discord that follows their private, prayerful decision. School board members who voted to rescind Dr. Jackson's contract stated that with much prayer they decided to not honor his contract and used a newly elected school board member, Mrs. Wilson, to fa├žade their backroom decision making that excluded half of their constituents serving in the same capacity on the school board.

The worst time to release the head of a school district is during the summer months when hiring, recruiting, aligning fall curriculum matters, assessing where funds are and how far they will go, bus routing, class offerings, scheduling, etc, is done. These activities are not done except between closing and opening of schools so this is the worse time for our school board to make a point, of which I am lost as to the real reason. It takes a superintendent with guts to protect students' rights even if students are so totally wrong in their crazy decisions. Dr. Jackson endured cries of crucify the superintendent from those who wanted to use the KKK issue to showcase black solidarity and chastise him for closing Pope Elementary School, an educational health hazard. Sometimes, communities failed to understand that at the heart of the issue is students' protection and state law.

What I don't get is who did these board members pray to? Why is it that only a fraction of the board was doing much praying and about what? The public deserves to know what much prayer was all about and why only half the board was praying because the other half did not know they needed to pray with them about Dr. Jackson.

The Nash Rocky Mount School Board is divided and that is very frightening. If the Nash Rocky Mount School Board can treat the superintendent in this capricious manner, and half the school board members are clueless as to the real reason, how can those educators in the trenches every day feel released with freedom to practice integrity and do their jobs without fear? Why did they not all pray on one accord as in the book of Acts in the Bible? It appears that about half the members had no idea and still are uncertain about what is going on or what to pray for. Let's start with transparency and unity of purpose.

Dr. Jackson led this district in what has been the worst of times for educators in our state. A statement in Tuesday's Rocky Mount Telegram states low teacher morale and his management style. Teacher morale is not to be placed on the back of Dr. Jackson; he did not create the state budget cuts in education.

The 18.5 percent raise for beginning teachers who have to be trained in every aspect of best practices when it comes to the Art and Science of teaching has been a major caveat in lowering teacher morale. Asking educators to do more with less, which is an oxymoron, contributes to low teacher morale. Steep cuts in your education, transportation, and textbook supply budgets certainly have their impact on teacher morale, but nothing has been as ax cutting to the spirit of educators than the removal of longevity pay for veteran teaches in a profession that is already paying the lowest salaries of college trained professionals in any field in North Carolina. Also, refusing to honor Master Degree increases, a bill to phase out tenure, which was not upheld by the NC Supreme Court, and giving a 0.29 percent pay raise to a National Board educators with 20 years experience impact teacher morale. It is not Dr. Anthony Jackson's fault; he is not a legislator!

Dr. Jackson led this district at a time when teacher assistants and teaching positions were not funded and those educators had to share class loads and many rotated daily from one school to another to educate children. Teachers and administrators in public schools have to deal with a crazy system of ABCDF ratings of students' growth and performance measures while being stripped of funding resources to achieve an A rating.

At this point, there are no winners. This is the worse time to assume that a new superintendent does not need the support of the one being asked to resign or be fired as a power play. Those elected to the school board by the public need to conduct school board issues with the same integrity they agreed to utilize for the greatest good, not a particular desire, but the greatest good. The Superintendent must be given autonomy to operate the school district and it is the position of the elected Board to support his efforts openly, not behind closed doors.

Again, I would love to know to whom did they pray? Neither deceit nor personal bias are tools of Jehovah God. If we are going to pray, let us all do it with and by the Wisdom of God which says, "If you have ought or find fault in a brother, first go to him and if things are not corrected that need to be corrected, go to the next level of authority;" the entire school board would be that level, not half of you. Did those who voted against Dr. Jackson follow the protocol God laid out for solving disputes?

Mary Ward, Educator
Rocky Mount


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