WWAY publishes hit piece on school board member

According to WWAY in Wilmington, “Brunswick County Schools Superintendent Edward Pruden never imagined the can of worms he would open when he suggested tweaking the staggered schedule plan.”

Apparently, that “can of worms” consisted of objections by school board member Catherine Cooke, which WWAY characterized as a “rant.” Just to reiterate how terrible Cooke is, the station noted that Cooke homeschools her children and wanted The Color Purple banned from schools.  What do those facts have to do with changes to school and district schedules?  Nothing.

The truth is that schedule changes are always controversial.  In Spinning Wheels: The Politics of Urban School Reform (1998), Rick Hess pointed out that changes to school and district schedules are among the most contested school reforms.  The reason is obvious.  As Hess wrote, “Changing the school day, week, or year forces logistical changes on teachers and community members, creating inconveniences and disrupting established routines.” (p. 111) 

Cooke’s “rant” is not a rant at all.  Rather, she responded to changes that are, by nature, controversial.  If this debate surprised Superintendent Edward Pruden or WWAY, then their expectations, not Ms. Cooke’s comments, are the problem.

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