A Week of Unrest

It’s a stunning thing to watch a city you know so well become the center of a national news story–and that’s exactly what happened to so many of us this week. The civil unrest in Charlotte was on everyone’s mind.

The protests–and some are saying riots–in Charlotte follow an already intense conversation about race relations in our country; Colin Kapernick is on the cover of TIME magazine this week for his protests during the national anthem. And in Fayetteville, NC, a history teacher was suspended without pay after he stepped on an American flag as part of a lesson on free speech.

Schools are part of this conversation, too.

I’m not sure if Lee Francis, the Fayetteville teacher, did the most effective thing in his history classroom, but I know that now is a teachable moment in our state’s public schools. And in our homes and churches. Now, more than ever, we know why we need great teachers leading thoughtful conversations in our classrooms.

James Hogan
Spokesperson, OS1


NO. 2: State test scores, classroom spending, options for minority students, and schools respond to civil unrest in Charlotte.


I-SS Sees Growth in Overall Proficiency Scores
Iredell-Statesville Schools posted an overall proficiency score of about 60 percent for the previous school year–about 10 points behind Mooresville Graded School District. But several gains were made in elementary and middle school performance–and many schools improved their “letter grade” assignment. Read on.

In case you need a pick-me-up
MGSD’s Rocky River Elementary School has a beautiful new outdoor classroom. Several members of the community pitched in to make it possible. (See a pic here.)


African-American students need school choice
Conservative writer Dr. Terry Stoops says that school choice programs within public and private schools is the best solution to a gap in African-American student performance. Read on.

North Carolina fails to invest in child and community well-being
Alexandra Sirota, part of the left-leaning NC Budget & Tax Center, writes that difficulties in school achievement begin with a lack of investment in our state’s communities. Read on.


Mooresville vs. Statesville football game postponed
Friday night’s football game at Mooresville HS was postponed to Monday following a planned protest in the downtown area. Some in the community expressed disappointment that the protest trumped the football game, while others felt that in light of the unrest in Charlotte, postponing was safest. As it turns out, about 125 people demonstrated peacefully with the support of city and county law enforcement.

Students demonstrate in support of change
In Mecklenburg County, students at five area high schools demonstrated Friday in correlation to protests in Charlotte, mostly without incident. In Gaston County, rumors of a student protest turned out to be untrue. Meanwhile, West Charlotte HS football players took a knee during the national anthem before the game at Mallard Creek.

College students gather after Charlotte protests
Students at East Carolina, Catawba College, Davidson College, the state’s HBCUs, NC State, UNC-Charlotte, UNC-Wilmington, and Western Carolina expressed their thoughts in various ways–campus conversations, coming to class wearing black, silent gatherings, etc.


Comments from last week:

Thanks to everyone who wrote in with thoughts and feedback last week–our link to test score results is the direct result of some of that feedback. (And we’re pushing for more information on tests scores locally, too.)

Send your thoughts to info@ourschoolsfirst.com.

Responses to OS1 News, No. 1:

“I was just commenting about how this seemed to be a nice, apolitical, balanced view of issues related to education, and then I scrolled to the bottom and saw ‘And if you think Bill Brawley doesn’t know what he’s talking about, let us know that, too.’ Try to abstain from inserting obvious politicized language into the newsletter. Where is the call for ‘if you think Kris Nordstrom is way off-base, let us know that, too?'” –Brian

“Love the newsletter! Thank you for keeping us informed about important and relevant education issues at the local and state level.” — Susan

“Bill Brawley is out of touch with reality. He thinks that people are not smart enough to see through this mirage he is putting up. He is wrong. […] I for one will not be blinded or fooled come November I will make my voice heard with the other educators in North Carolina.” –Mark