Teresa DeLoatch Bryant District 2 Representative Edgecombe County Board of Education Reflects on Service/Public Schools As She Is About To Exit Off The Board

Response: Bryant will be missed, she was always asking the right questions and challenging the system to do what she felt was in the best interest of the children.

BRYANT RELFECTS ON SERVICE/PUBLIC SCHOOLS

The past five years have been both challenging and interesting ones to say the least. All in all, however, I must say that it has truly been an honor to serve as the representative for District 2 on the Edgecombe County Board of Education.

Although I could never be accused of having a great love for children, I do have a great love and passion for ensuring that they are well-educated. This passion stems from the fact that I am a perfect example of the power of education in transforming lives. It is my heartfelt desire that every child in Edgecombe County be armed with a quality education when they graduate from high school no matter what career or educational path they choose thereafter.

Although I began writing this piece thinking I would do so from the perspective of a soon to be “former” board member, I ultimately concluded that writing the piece from the perspective of a parent might be enlightening and encouraging for the general public which has stood steadfast by our public school system in one role or another over the years.

One of the greatest responsibilities that I have as a parent is to ensure that my child receives a quality education. We started her educational career in private Christian school in Greensboro and continued that path when we first moved to Tarboro with her attending private Christian school in Rocky Mount. After I joined the school board in July of 2007, she enrolled at Stocks and spent a total of four years out of the five that I have served on the board in our public school system.

As many of you know, we chose to go back to private Christian school last year and I am so glad that we did because it taught me a lot. It taught me that my child knew and had been taught even more in our public school system than I would have ever thought. How did I find that out? Well, she competed and excelled in an environment where I could not have handpicked a more rigorous curriculum with children who had been in what I thought to be an idealistic environment since kindergarten. Another parent might attribute it exclusively to natural giftedness of the child or their own efforts but I am not so delusional. She competed and excelled because she had been taught and she had been taught well by those who toll in their respective roles in the Edgecombe County Public Schools. We are very blessed that for this school year she has been taught by some outstanding teachers in our public school system whose skills rival any of those that she has had before in private schools.

Accordingly, it is in this public forum that I take the opportunity to thank all of the teachers, administrators, classified and unclassified staff members in general with the Edgecombe County Public School System who have touched the life of my child and contributed to her growth as a student and citizen and who have done the same thing for so many other children.

The state of public education in North Carolina and our nation as a whole is a topic that we could debate on many pages of this newspaper. Yes, I am concerned daily about negative influences, behavior and all of the social ills that you hear about in the public schools. Of equal concern, however, is the prospect of my child leaving home and going off to college unprepared for many of the lessons that are learned in public school. Although I would hope that she would choose a respectable university such as NC State or Duke, there is another university that she has strong ties to and she could go there for goodness sake.

If I could erase all of the teachable moments that made me cringe when I have talked to her about them in her four years of being educated in our public school system, would I? Should I? The answer is no. I would not because I am preparing her for life. It is the truth that the decision to take a year off from public school was due in part to the issues previously mentioned but when I look at her peer group this year – how well they maintained – how much they obviously learned last year – I think to myself “did I do her a bigger favor or myself a bigger favor” by making the change.

Much is said about the role of the parent and parent activism in schools and in this context we often speak negatively about what we deem to be dysfunctional families and young parents’ involvement or lack thereof but the truth of the matter is that the activism of the parents who are married, who are educated, etc. should be a comparable matter of concern to the state of the traditional public school. We can all do more and should do more for our public school system and I challenge each of you to make your pledge now for what you will start doing in the fall for our schools.

In closing, I will say that which should come as no surprise to you. I am not an opponent of school choice. What I must also say, however, is that in my years of seeking out the best educational opportunity for my child, I have found no solution that stands out head and shoulders above any others. That goes for public schools, private schools, charter schools or home schools. They are all a mixed bag with both pros and cons and at any given time in a particular child’s educational career one may be a better solution than the other for the child and/or the parent.

This notwithstanding, I am proud to say that the Edgecombe County Public School System still has a great deal to offer, not only to the children who may not have the option of school choice, it has a great deal to offer those children who do.

Thank you again for the opportunity to serve you.

Teresa DeLoatch Bryant

District 2 Representative

Edgecombe County Board of Education

See related:

Teresa DeLoatch Bryant

Rep. Womble faces misdemeanor death by vehicle charges – News & Observer

Authorities charged a Winston-Salem state lawmaker with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle Thursday after a fatal car wreck in December.

Rep. Larry Womble left the legislative session in Raleigh to turn himself into the Forsyth County magistrate’s office where a warrant said he "unlawfully and willfully caused the death" of the other driver by failing to maintain lane control, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. (More)

Pastor Moss’ Response to President Obama’s Comments on Marriage Equality by Trinity United Church of Christ

Response: Good preaching! Rights vs rites! I love it! Right on! Right!! Right on!!!

Pastor Moss’ Response to President Obama’s Comments on Marriage Equality

by Trinity United Church of Christ on Monday, May 14, 2012 at 9:21pm · An Open letter to African American Clergy As a result of a group of ministers claiming they are going to pull support from the President, and either not vote or switch support to the Republican party, this response was crafted.

My Brother:

… Tell your brethren who are part of your ministerial coalition to “live their faith and not legislate their faith” for the constitution is designed to protect the rights of all. We must learn to be more than a one issue community and seek the beloved community where we may not all agree, but we all recognize the finger print of the Divine upon all of humanity.

There is no doubt people who are same gender loving occupy prominent places in the body of Christ. For the clergy to hide from true dialogue with quick dismissive claims devised from poor biblical scholarship is as sinful as unthoughtful acceptance of a theological position. When we make biblical claims without sound interpretation we run the risk of adopting a doctrinal position of deep conviction but devoid of love. Deep faith may resonate in our position, but it is the ethic love that forces us to prayerfully reexamine our position.

The question I believe we should pose to our congregations is “ Should all Americans have the same civil rights?” This is a radically different question than the one you raised with the ministers “Does the church have the right to perform or not perform certain religious rites?” There is difference between rights and rites. We should never misconstrue rights designed to protect diverse individuals in a pluralistic society versus religious rites designed by faith communities to communicate a theological or doctrinal perspective. These two questions are answered in two fundamentally different arenas. One is answered in the arena of civic debate where the constitution is the document of authority. The other is answered in the realm of ecclesiastical councils where theology, conscience and biblical mandates are the guiding ethos. I do not believe ecclesiastical councils are equipped to shape civic legislation nor are civic representatives equipped to shape religious rituals and doctrine.

The institution of marriage is not under attack as a result of the President’s words. Marriage was under attack years ago by men who viewed women as property and children as trophies of sexual prowess. Marriage is under attack by low wages, high incarceration, unfair tax policy, unemployment and lack of education. Marriage is under attack by clergy who proclaim monogamy yet think nothing of stepping outside the bonds of marriage to have multiple affairs with “preaching groupies.” Same gender couples did not cause the high divorce rate, but our adolescent views of relationships and our inability as a community to come to grips with the ethic of love and commitment. We still confuse sex with love and romance with commitment.

My father, who is a veteran of the civil rights movement and retired pastor, eloquently stated the critical nature of this election when speaking to ministers this past week who claim they will pull support from the President as a result of his position. He stated, “ Our Ancestors prayed for 389 years to place a person of color in the White House. They led over 200 slave revolts and fought in eleven wars, one being a civil war where over 600,000 people died. Our mothers fought and were killed for women’s suffrage, our grandparents were lynched for the civil rights bill of 1964 and the voting rights act of 1965 . . . my father never had the opportunity to vote and I believe it is my sacred duty to pull the lever for every member of my family who was denied the right to vote. I will not allow narrow minded ministers or regressive politicians the satisfaction of keeping me from my sacred right to vote to shape the future for my grandchildren.”

Gay and Lesbian citizens did not cause the economic crash, foreclosures and attack upon healthcare. Poor underfunded schools were not created because people desire equal protection under the law. We have much work to do as a community and to claim the President of the United States must hold your theological position is absurd. He is President of the United States of America not the President of the Baptist convention or Bishop of the Sanctified or Holiness Church . He is called to protect the rights of Jew and Gentile, male and female, young and old, Gay and straight, black and white, Atheist and Agnostic. It should be note the President offered no legislation, executive order or present an argument before the Supreme Court. He simply stated his personal conviction.

If we dare steal away from the noise of this debate we will realize as a church we are called to “Do justice, live mercy and walk humbly with God.” Gay people have never been the enemy and when we use rhetoric to suggest they are the source of our problems we lie on God and cause tears to flow from the eyes of Christ.

I am not asking you to change your position, but I am stating we must stay in dialogue and not allow our own personal emotional prejudices or doctrines to prevent us from seeing the possibilities of a beloved community.

November is fast approaching and the spirits of Ella Baker, Septima Clarke, Fannie Lou Hammer, Rosa Parks, A. Phillip Randolph, James Orange, Medger Evers and Martin Luther, King Jr. stand in the balcony of heaven raising the question; “Will you do justice, live mercy and walk humbly with our God?” Emmitt Till and the four little girls who were assassinated in Alabama during worship did not die for a Sunday sermonic sound bite to show disdain for one group of God’s people. They were killed by an evil act enacted by men who believed in doctrine over love. We serve in ministry this day because of a man who believed in love over doctrine and died on a hill called Calvary in a dusty Palestinian community two thousand years ago. Do not let the rhetoric of this debate keep you from the polls my friend.

Asking you to imagine a beloved community, your brother and friend, Otis Moss, III Senior Pastor Trinity UCC

Note: This link is to the video from Sunday, May 13, where Rev. Moss read an excerpt of the letter to the congregation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7Ktjqf9Vi4.

See related:

Amendment One

Updated: Commissioner Clarence Bender Candidate For Senate District 11 First of Several Golden Corral Fundraisers

This is the first of several Golden Corral fundraisers hosted by Commissioner Clarence Bender.

The ticket cost at the door is $35 a person.

What’s in it for you?

You get your buffet meal and drink included. You also get to help build on a winning campaign that aims to remove Buck Newton from Raleigh!!

Who should come?

ANYONE who believes that the working and middle class are what built this country and this state.

ANYONE who believes that the working and middle classes need more of a voice, not less of one!

JOIN US!!