A little more than thirty years ago, the People’s Alliance stood in support of the merger of the City and County School systems. Those school board meetings to determine the district maps were also full of parents, speaking to their fears for their children’s education and well being. We knew that the merger was about making the public school system more equitable for ALL Durham students, and we see that today as well. We believe in the hard work of the DPS team to create the Growing Together plan. Thank you to Board Member Rogers for sharing her lived experience of this event in Durham history.
As the PA Education Action Team stated in a letter to the board in June, 2022 “We believe the regional model presented to the Board has many strengths, including a clear focus on equity and efficiency.” PA has stood in support of traditional, publicly funded schools that are overseen by elected officials for almost 50 years. We agree with author and research scientist, Heather McGhee, when she wrote:
“We must challenge ourselves to live our lives in solidarity across color, origin, and class. We must demand changes to the rules in order to disrupt the very notion that those who have more money are worth more in our democracy and our economy.”
We are DPS parents and teachers. We want what is best for our children. And we support this plan.
We understand that change is difficult and disappointment is painful. And we support this plan.
We recognize that community outreach and engagement efforts from the district around this initiative were not robust. And we support this plan.
We know that moving to a new school before traditional transition points may present a challenge for some young learners. And we support this plan.
We appreciate that the financial, medical, social, psychological, and emotional challenges of the global pandemic are not fully behind us for many families. And we support this plan.
We are parents and teachers of neurodivergent and disabled children and understand the unique challenge this presents during unexpected transitions. And we support this plan.
We acknowledge that altering existing programs at schools places an additional burden on teachers already at capacity. And we support this plan.
We hear the angry, fear-based rhetoric pathologizing under-resourced communities. We know this rhetoric is likely to get worse before it gets better. And we support this plan.
We hear families threatening to leave the public school system if the district does not make certain allowances or changes. And we support this plan.
There is never a perfect time for change. It is never effortless when those with privilege are asked to operate within a system based on equity. It is never convenient to reckon with white supremacy and the damage it has done to our public institutions.
Ultimately what matters is that every child in Durham has free access to a highly qualified, certified teacher loving on and guiding them in the classroom every day, with essential support services in place and a nurturing principal at the helm. Everything else – the titles and the specialties and the programming – is window dressing.
Our children are watching and listening. Are we modeling respect, resilience, and a spirit of collaborative problem-solving?
We are DPS parents and teachers. We want what is best for ALL children. And we support this plan.
Approved by People's Alliance Board: 1/18/23
Excerpted for public comment at Board of Education meeting 1/19/23