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TOMORROW: State Senate Candidates talk K-12 Education at Town Forum


WILMINGTON, NC (NEWS RELEASE) - You are cordially invited to participate in a televised Town Hall Forum to Meet local State Senate Candidates & Discuss K-12 Education for North Carolina. Co-sponsored by Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, this is an opportunity for the citizens of Brunswick, Columbus, and New Hanover counties to hear from candidates Bill Rabon and David Redwine of Senate District 8, and Thom Goolsby and Jim Leutze of Senate District 9. This televised event will also be co-hosted by WWAY NewsChannel 3 and The Wilmington Journal.

Considering the challenges that state policymakers face in reducing the dropout rate and closing the achievement gap for low-income and minority students, the Town Hall Forum will help to shed light on local issues and examine solutions. For example, Education Week recently released some compelling statistics for the more than 45,000 students in New Hanover, Brunswick and Columbus counties:

- Overall graduation rate in the three counties: 56.8%

- Overall graduation rate for low-income & minority students in the three counties: 40%

- Percentage of students passing end of grade tests in the three counties: 62.5%

Thus, the objective of the Town Hall Forum is for each of the four candidates in Senate District 8 and 9 to hear the concerns of parents as well as public school and nontraditional school leaders. Moreover, this Forum will allow for audience members to hear directly from the candidates regarding their positions on K-12 educational issues and their proposed solutions if elected to office.

Town Hall Forum to Meet the Candidates & Discuss K-12 Education
Tuesday, September 14th at 6:30 p.m.
Coastline Convention Center
503 Nutt Street
Wilmington, NC 28401



Town Hall Candidate Forum to Focus on K-12 Education

Candidates for State Senate Districts 8 and 9 to share ideas with parents, school leaders

On September 14th, a panel of community leaders will be joined by all four candidates for North Carolina State Senate Districts 8 and 9 for a town hall discussion on the subject of K-12 education in Brunswick, New Hanover, Columbus, and Pender Counties. Co-sponsored by WWAY News Channel 3, The Wilmington Journal and Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, the forum will be recorded and broadcast exclusively on WWAY News Channel 3 at a later date.


Darrell Allison, President of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina

Tom Goolsby (R), Candidate for State Senate District 9

Dr. Jim Leutze (D), Candidate for State Senate District 9

Bill Rabon (R), Candidate for State Senate District 8

David Redwine (D), Candidate for State Senate District 8

Featured schools include the following:

Columbus Charter School, Whiteville, NC

Steve Smith, Headmaster

Sunset Park Elementary, Wilmington, NC

LaChawn Smith, Principal

Southport Christian Academy, Southport, NC

Lisa Kjome, Principal

L & L Montessori School, Southport, NC

Lynette Watson, Headmaster

Participants will be available for interviews immediately following the event.


Co-sponsored by WWAY News Channel 3, The Wilmington Journal and Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, the televised Town Hall Forum will examine local educational issues and explore potential solutions. A question-and-answer format will enable parents and community leaders to share questions and ideas about K-12 education across all sectors--traditional public schools, public charter schools and nonpublic schools.


Coastline Convention Center

503 Nutt Street

Wilmington, NC 28401


Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 6:30 p.m.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Columbus Charter School (Roger Bacon Academy)

I am the parent of a first grader at Columbus Charter School in Whiteville, NC. I am also the parent of a son who attended public schools in Hampstead, Carolina Beach, Wilmington, and Columbus County. The differences between the public school system my son suffered through and the experience of my daughter attending a charter school with a whole new way of doing things is immense.

My son had such a hard time in public school. He fell through cracks, and limped along, suffered attacks from bullies in schools who had "zero tolerance" for bullyism, but got little or no support from school administration in any area. He just graduated from high school and is now in college, where he has a new set of struggles caused by substandard preparation by the public school system, where he made good grades, but received little education in key areas, such as math.

Columbus Charter School has brought, to say the least, a breath of fresh air from a huge sigh of relief. In kindergarten, the children learn to read. You heard me, they learn to read. All of them learn to read. As a matter of fact, halfway through the year, they hold a ceremony for all children, because the learn to read. They do math. I don't mean just writing numbers. They do addition and subtraction. They have real spelling tests. They learn science, social studies, art, music, reading, grammar; you get my point. My son colored pictures throughout kindergarten that only lasted a half day. My daughter excels. They all excel. Headmaster Steve Smith commented during one of numerous award ceremonies that he hasn't seen the children's limits. You raise the bar, and they meet it everytime.

Columbus Charter school, which is a Roger Bacon Academy, has a whole new approach to teaching, and it works. It would be a travesty to not have this available to our children. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to send my child to this wonderful school of choice. What a difference. Public schools should sit up and take notice, and take lessons. I am hopeful that we have people in power with enough intelligence and optimism that they would continue to support this type of education. Give our children a chance!

funding for Columbus Charter School (Roger Bacon Academy)

I am a single mother of two beautiful and very intelligent daughters. Both of my daughters attend the Columbus Charter School in Whiteville. My oldest dauther attended another public school before going to the Columbus Charter School and the academic curriculum was not up to the standards that they should be when she attended the other local public school. Ever since my oldest daughter has been attending CCS, her academic abilities and her grades are much better and she enjoying going to school and is very eager to learn more and more everyday. I would highly recommend anyone who has children to consider Columbus Charter School for their children. The Headmaster, Mr. Steve Smith is the greatest. He is always on top of things and knows every child's name and their parents names also. He also is great with the children an is very attentive to their academics. The whole staff is amazing and I would not want my children anywhere other than CCS. They have a high standard for academics and they make sure that each and every child meets the expectations of the academic program. They get more "one on one" time with their teachers and the teachers are great at what they do. It is just a shame that not all public schools will not go "charter". One thing i do know is, my children are getting the BEST education that they can possibly get while attending Columbus Charter School. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Crystal Blackwell-Baker


LOL....yes, I went to public school my whole life.
However, my own children attend private school and will NEVER attend public school. Should there ever be a lack of funds to pay for private school---I'd homeschool.

I'm not blaming the schools for the extremely HIGH drop-out rate, it's the

    parents fault

and schools (no matter how much money is thrown at them) will never replace the lack of parenting going on with kids in todays society.

The only blame I would put on the school system is the need to swiftly ban students with behavioral problem before they "contaminate" the other students. If students were kicked to the curb when they should have been, other students wouldn't be exposed to them any further and the graduation rate would probably increase.