Charter School Amendment fight splitting community
October 24, 2012 12:00 AM | 2100 views | 4 4 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print

I have witnessed it firsthand: the tears of frustration, the angry stares, the unrelenting animosity, the blatant hatred.

At first glance, one might think I am a marriage counselor trying to mend relationships beyond repair.

But, alas, it is an election year. I am but a wife, mother, preschool teacher, and a native Atlantan.

I have seen some incredible sights in my short time on this earth, but not many compare to the vitriol seen during this election season.

This goes beyond party affiliations, repeated campaign donation requests, stickers on our bumpers, signs in our yards, or all those tiresome ads on the television that we are all subjected to on a daily basis.

It started quietly and unseen and may have even been unintentional.

Now, it is pervasive, a plague that may not end after our polling places close on Nov. 6 and a winner is declared.

It is deplorable that our community has relented and has let an election issue polarize our community into two camps.

Life-long friendships are strained or have been ended.

Households are at odds with one another and even neighborhood children are arriving at their own conclusions and taking action.

What am I referring to? Amendment One — The Charter School Amendment.

Never before have I witnessed such an extreme inability for two parties to come together and attempt resolution or even a mutual understanding of each other.

It seems that only one story is being heard by the public (whichever side you are on).

Attempts have been made to cross the aisle and the outcome has been negligible if not downright acrimonious. What is it going to take for us to take a realistic look at this issue and come up with pragmatic solutions?

We are Americans; we take pride in our varied opinions and being allowed the freedom to speak those opinions. But, at whose expense?

Just because we are Americans doesn’t mean that we can relinquish our duties to our fellow man, even in an election year.

We should remember common courtesy, patience, graciousness, self-control and ultimately cooperation.

Maybe, just maybe, we could actually move beyond the petty hatred and move towards something greater: Unification for the greater good — our future — our children.

Alicia Doelman Smerk

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Gary Parkes
October 24, 2012
I love this letter by Ms. Smerk, whom I do not know. This is the best thing I have read on this issue throughout the months. I love the fact that she wrote such a great letter without the reader knowing where she stands on the issue. I, too, have chosen not to take a public stance on the issue; however, I am also saddened by the vitriol I have seen. Parents and other groups using their children as pawns is so sad. Yet, unfortunately,like Ms. Smerk has said, the damage to the community will last far beyond November 6th with friendships forever lost or changed.

Like Ms. Smerk infers, if more people listened to each other rather than merely wait to talk, a middle ground solution is probably closer than we can imagine. Like most debates, there are good points on both sides if we only could listen to each other.

Anne Reed
October 24, 2012

I think you are right and wish we could have more Q&A from BOTH sides. I believe we scratched a bit of that surface last night at Freedom and hope to do so again soon, just wish more people would take the time to attend these events. Thanks for joining us and look forward to perhaps putting the UNITY back into our community!
Chris P. Bacon
October 24, 2012
I agree. Change is needed in education nationwide. I don't believe privatizing education is the way to do it though. Amendment 1 is not what will solve our education flaws. It's a change in leadership. We need leaders that talk to educators to find out what changes are needed. Not legislators that listen to corporate CEO's to define our educational future. I'll be voting "NO" on this amendment and think, if we are to become a united community, we need to pull together and push our delegation to work for us, the taxpayers, not for corporations.
Charter student
November 01, 2012
Charter schools are not private schools. They are public schools. We don't take your tax money.


Cherokee Charter Academy Student
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