Haywood at a crossroads

By Dr. Doris Hammett | Apr 24, 2014

HAYWOOD COUNTY IS AT A CROSS ROADS

Where shall we go?

 

Dr. Nolte, Assistant Superintendent of Haywood Public Schools, has made the positive statement “Every Child” should have a “free and appropriate public education”.  My definition of an appropriate public education is that every child should have the opportunity to develop his/her abilities to their highest level.  Our schools were accomplishing that with “No child left behind” at one end of the spectrum and Governor’s School at the other end.          Haywood County funding for education of its youth has decreased over the last five years.

The National Great Schools (whose mission is to inspire and support families to champion their children's education - at school, at home and in their community, a national non-profit based in Oakland, CA with programs and offices in Milwaukee, Washington D.C. and Indianapolis.) gives Haywood County Schools the following ratings.

PRESCHOOL

RATING

STARS

Community

Teacher

Principal

Parent Involvement

 

Out of 10

<-- Out of 5 -->

Hazelwood

8

4

4

4

4

4

Jonathan Valley

8

5

5

4

4

4

Meadowbrook

8

4

4

4

4

4

Central

7

5

5

5

5

4

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

RATING

STARS

Community

Teacher

Principal

Parent Involvement

 

Out of 10

<-- Out of 5 -->

Bethel

9

5

5

5

5

5

Riverbend

9

4

4

4

4

4

Hazelwood

8

4

4

4

4

4

Junaluska

8

4

4

5

5

4

Jonathan Valley

8

5

5

4

4

4

Meadowbrook

8

4

4

4

4

4

Central

7

5

5

5

5

5

Clyde

7

5

5

5

4

4

North Canton

6

4

4

4

4

4

MIDDLE SCHOOLS

RATING

STARS

Community

Teacher

Prinicipal

Parent Involvement

 

Out of 10

<-- Out of 5 -->

Bethel

7

5

5

5

5

5

Canton

7

3

3

3

4

3

Waynesville

7

3

3

4

3

3

HIGH SCHOOLS

RATING

STARS

Community

Teacher

Prinicipal

Parent Involvement

 

Out of 10

<-- Out of 5 -->

Haywood Central High

1

5

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Haywood Early College

8

5

5

4

3

5

Pisgah High

5

5

5

5

5

5

Tuscola High

5

4

4

3

3

3

 

 

 

 

This graph and chart shows us where our schools are and where we must work to get at the level we wish for the next generation of Haywood County. We cannot expect the Federal Department of Education or the State Department of Public Instruction to provide the education of our youth at the level we desire. What can we do?

A bit of history might give a background.  Perhaps seeing where we are and how we got here will give us momentum for our efforts.

 

We, Dr. Doris and Dr. Frank Hammett, came to Haywood County in 1951. We chose Haywood County for its many assets. It had an open staffed hospital that was publically owned. Haywood County had a diversified economic base:  industry, agriculture, and tourism.

 

  1. Industry:  Haywood County had five industries which gave employment:  Champion Paper (Reuben B. Robertson),  Dayton Rubber (A. L. Freedlander), Unagusta Furniture (R. L. Prevost) , Welco (Heinz Rollman) and  Pinkington Tapestry owned by Conkin of Philadephia but run by Ben Colquit locally.  These industries are much changed. Champion has changed hands several times and is now much downsized and known as Evergreen Packaging.  Dayco, Unagusta and the tapestry mill are gone.  Welco manufacturing is outside the United States.  Haywood County at one time had the company which paid the highest hourly wage in the state (Champion).

 

  1. Agriculture:  The farming was diversified from burley tobacco, apples, row crops tomatoes and beans, cattle and timber.

 

  1. Tourism:  The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, National Forests and the partly completed Blue Ridge Parkway were national attractions.

 

With these three pillars, the county had leadership for its support:

 

  1. Wayne Corpening and Community organizations.  Wayne used his position as county extension agent to organize the county into communities to determine their needs and means by which to meet them.  This organization provided access to health care insurance for every community.  Wayne left to go to Winston Salem where he was elected Mayor.

 

  1. The Mountain Research station moved to Haywood County in 1944. D. Reeves Noland was on the state board of Agriculture.  The research station included the dairy herd, poultry flock, field crops, horticultural crops, apple orchard and other experimental work.  The Superintendent at the time of the move was Dean Colvard who was later to have a distinguished career as Dean of the School of Agriculture at NC State and later as Chancellor of UNC Charlotte. The Mountain Research station provided the farmers with information about income producing crops (replacing burley tobacco), soil erosion, fertilization and insecticides for best results.

 

  1. Mary Cornwell and the Home Demonstration program educated the housewives of the county to the means of providing the family with balanced diets, economical use of resources, and a higher standard of living

 

  1. Lawrence Leatherwood and the educators before him sought means by which to improve the education of the young of the county.  This included consolidations of the county and city schools. The School board supported the programs preparing the preschool child for success in education.

 

  1. Haywood Technical Institute, now Haywood Community College, a vision of A.  L. Freedlander, provided the citizens with continuing technical and early college education and improved education for industry and jobs.

 

  1. The Health Department, as exemplified by Rubye Bryson, worked tirelessly to take health education into every community, provide prenatal, baby, immunization, child health clinics, family planning, proper diet, dental care, sanitation and provide a foundation for which the services were accepted and could grow.

 

  1. A medical care system of physicians who were involved in the community.  A hospital was established in the 1920s which provided hospital services which have continually changed as modern medical care has indicated.  Drs. Joseph Way, Jerome Reeves, the Stringfields, Stuart Roberson and Ralph Feichter were leaders in their time.

 

  1. A Social Service Department which served the county with understanding to make available what was needed for its citizens.  My first memory of how it worked was under Mrs. Sam Queen and Clara Rippitoe.

 

  1. Banking: Jonathan Woody used his knowledge of money and banking to fund many of the hopes of the people of Haywood County.  He was able to make money while doing it as well.

 

10.  Roads provided access to services.   D. Reeves Nolan in the 1940s, as the Haywood representation on the State Highway Commission, represented Haywood and its transportation needs and was a voice in determining the route of I-40 to Tennessee.

 

  1. 11.   Community Action Agency:  Mountain Projects was formed in 1965 as part of the federal programs to address and break the hopeless cycle of poverty and despair. Bruce Wike, Jess McArthur and George Carpenter were the first administrators.  It has continued to work to meet the needs of the families of the county.

 

Most of the companies and organizations which lead Haywood have gone while some have modified their purpose and leadership.  It is our Haywood County citizens who must provide individually and collectivity through their membership in clubs, organizations, churches, communities, societies and associations the leadership and provisions that education must have to provide the education for our youth that we seek for them.

Haywood County is at the cross roads. Where shall we go?

 

Doris Bixby Hammett, MD

400 Wesley Drive Apt 58

Asheville, NC 28803

828/285-2361

dbhammett1@hotmail.com

 

Comments (17)
Posted by: Grass Roots WNC | Apr 27, 2014 14:26

Dr. Hammett provided examples of the importance of parent involvement in the education of students. The importance of "individuals" in providing leadership to our community. It also seems evident that many people stepped up to the plate to 'make a difference'. 

We should not sit back and expect the 'government' to provide the leadership or vision for the future we need here in Haywood County. Look to entrepreneurs and people that can think outside the box. Allow our citizens to be free to make our own decisions about our children's education and what is best for them; about the direction of business and industry; about our own health care. Since the government does not know what is best for us - We must be allowed the freedom to decide and choose what is best for our family and community.

 



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Apr 28, 2014 21:11

"Haywood County had a diversified economic base:  industry, agriculture, and tourism." -- Industry is something of yesteryear nationwide.  It's too expensive to make things here in the US when our competitors have no minimum wage, can pollute all they like, and have no employment costs like employment taxes and government-mandated healthcare.

 

Agriculture would be nostalgic to return to Haywood in mass.  It seems like a novelty though.  "Migrant worker" used to mean in a lot of cases: exempt from minimum wage, employment tax, and now government mandated healthcare.  Get rid if the low-wage worker and agriculture mostly becomes sustainable in very large productions.  Is it a valid idea to bring back the concept of "poor farms" where people down on their luck could trade services for room and board?

 

Tourism is still strong today in Haywood County.  The TDA loves to report how much tourism comes to Haywood.  And tourists have been coming to visit even before there was a TDA to tell us that.  And if there were no TDA tomorrow, tourists will STILL come to Haywood County -- I promise.

 

Sometimes a little mental exercise is good for the process.  Wave a magical wand and grant Haywood County unlimited funding for 3 years.  What would we want to see?  More, bigger, better?  Be careful of that kind of wish.  I hardly recognize my hometown of Asheville anymore.  It seems when they blasted another way through Beaucatcher Mountain in the name of "more, bigger, better", Asheville has been losing "charm" ever since.  (Not to say that cut was a bad idea, just that there was an insatiable hunger to grow.  To what end?  And what is lost in that quest?



Posted by: Doris Hammett | Apr 30, 2014 07:16

GRASS ROOTS

Thank you for your clear understanding of the message of “Haywood at the Cross Roads”. I would only change the last sentence to read:  “We must be allowed the freedom to decide and the responsibility to do what is best for our family and the community.”

Post by SCOTT Lilly 4-28-2014

            Scott, you have taken a different approach “Haywood County had a diversified economic base: industry, agriculture and tourism.”  You clearly point out that of the three pillars, the only one remaining for Haywood County is Tourism.  You propose a little mental exercise. I recommend giving our Haywood County public school unlimited funding for three years. What would we want to see?

            We would want every child to develop his/her abilities to their highest level. This is what our schools have been asked to do with decreased funding for the last five years, including unfunded mandates from the state and federal government.  Looking at the Evaluations of the National Great Schools, of our  20 Haywood County schools pre-K though high school, only 5 rank at the “5” highest rating of Parent Involvement: Bethel and Central Elementary, Bethel Middle, Pisgah High School and Haywood Early College.  There is no cost for parent involvement.  Why do we not have it at every school?  Let us find out. 

            Our schools need funding at every level. The parents and the community must tell the school board and the county commissioners what they want and help them get it.  This can be done individually and collectively through their membership in clubs, organizations, churches, communities, societies and associations.

            When we get it, it will be the best investment Haywood County will ever  make.

 

Doris B. Hammett, MD



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Apr 30, 2014 08:57

          This is a very well thought out and comprehensive article. Thank you Doris B. Hammett, MD.

 

           George Mason in what would become the Virginia Declaration of Rights from which OUR Declaration of Independence(except the second paragraph) and OUR federal Constitution's Bill of Rights as well as OUR state's Bill of rights was derived, made a clear-cut example of human rights, obligation of Society, and govt. actions:

            Article 1. That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society. they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

 

                      Unfortunetly there are many among US who know nothing of this Founding Document or the Principles thereof. Too many think they are islands unto themselves and are not obligated to Society. Abortion laws. Voting restrictions. Unfair taxation. Etc. etc, are examples of deviations from Mason's Declaration and deprive "posterity" as well as the here and now the liberty of self-determination. But the most egregious nonsense is the constant attacks on public education. This undermines OUR future by not preparing OUR "posterity" to be educated in such a way as to maintain OUR current economic circumstances nor OUR Founding Principles.

                All students not of age of consent must be educated in a manner that allows for OUR self-preservation. Any who do not want their child educated in a manner consistant with the common good is entirely free to home school or provide private education. BUT! Such must still meet OUR requirements. AND! The cost must be borne by those making the choice, while they are still required to pay their fair share into the public till for US.

                   Those not agreeing are free to leave US any time.

                    Good riddance!

 

                     E pluribus Unum was not just OUR national motto, it was the reality of the situation.

 

                      C.Z.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Apr 30, 2014 09:08

Dr. Hammett, you make great points.  Philosophically, when one suggests a student develops to the best of his/her ability, I suggest that is a blank check that has no limits.  Whatever funding provided to a school to teach a student to an infinite capacity is never enough.  One can always make the case that "more" is possible and therefore "needed".  Would you agree?

 

Before allowing a blank check or more funding, someone smarter than I should figure out what the objective is and how it should be measured.  If there is merit to deem the "National Great Schools" rating system the gold standard, so be it.  But my preference would be that OPPORTUNITY for a great education be provided for free by the public school system.  That opportunity should be free, equal to all, and accessible.  The duty to take advantage of the opportunity lies with the student and family of the student. 

 

I think we spend way too many resources placing the burden of the performance of students on teachers.  In private, many teachers will say they dislike the feeling of "substitute parent" and some feel unduly burdened by providing most of some student's "parenting".  Perhaps that is why a public school spending per pupil is 71% more than the average private school spending per pupil.  Public schools don't perform 71% better than private schools.  Funding and spending is not a good measure or assurance that students perform better.

 

Find an example of a student that drops out of high school.  That student is likely to be a problematic student.  Study how many resources that student took from other students through the years of school.  Resources that could have been spent providing opportunities to students that could have and would have appreciated them.  Most private schools don't have to invest so heavily in problematic students and therefore their cost per student is lower.  If some students are destined for a low-paying job no matter what, how can we as a society embrace that fact and provide school opportunities that will make the most of the situation at an affordable cost?

 

I agree with you that we should investigate and know what it is that our highest rated schools do that earns their praise!  Whatever it is, celebrate it and try to replicate it elsewhere.  I think you are onto something with "parent involvement".  As a homeschooling parent, my direct participation in my child's education ranks her more than 2 grade levels above her peers in public schools as measured by a State-proctored test.  Do parents get involved more if we fund schools more at every level?  Or is it something in the community water, so to speak?  (perhaps a special kind of fluoride :-)

 

Dr. Hammett, I wish I could live in the Haywood County of the past you describe.  Where community pride was prevalent and people invested and shared their time and talent.  Where people looked less toward the government and more toward their friends and family.  How can we emphasize some of those community attributes that make small-town living great?  Are we as a society encouraging/enabling habits and systems that do the opposite?  I look forward to a continued discussion on that topic for years to come.  And I LOVE hearing the historical perspective you tell about what was great about our community.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Apr 30, 2014 09:16

Mr. Zimmerman, "pay their fair share" is a subjective measure.  This is the present day divide between Republicans and Democrats.  Republicans emphasize the importance of the Rule of Law and protection/burden of everyone equally.  Democrats emphasize "majority rule" and therefore use a majority to take from the minority.

 

Republicans would support the concept of "fair share" more as a flat tax -- everyone paying the same rate.  Those who earn more pay more -- but the same percentage.  For the TDA tax and another example, Republicans would not favor the taxation of a minority of business owners for the benefit of the many in the name of "tourism".

 

Democrats suggest "fair share" means as you earn more, not only do you pay more but you also pay a higher percentage.  In the TDA tax issue, Democrats see no issue supporting the tax to benefit "the majority" who would not be taxed.

 

Of course there are no "pure" Republicans and Democrats.  Just a generalization of their philosophies.  Defining "fair share" is what makes your argument subjective.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Apr 30, 2014 09:36

                Considering it is the first duty of OUR secular republic to equally protect "All persons", "fair" requires each pay in proportion to what was earned with a progressive scale to protect the lesser fortunate from oppression.

                 Consumption taxes are flat rate. But they do not protect US from oppression of too much power/property becoming owned by too few hands.

                  Inheritance taxes should be used to correct much of the inequalities of property We now face.

                  As I have stated many times, no business nor person should be taxed in support of another person and/or business, as OUR Founders alreddy established. When a business/person is subsidized at the expense of other persons/businesses discrimination results. Plain and simple.

                  We seemed to prosper when the top tax rate was 95%.

 

                    C.Z.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Apr 30, 2014 10:07

                In my grade school we looked out for each other. We recognized we were all in the same situation and that all must contribute to those not doing well. Didn't prevent all abuses. But it helped. Only had one student fall behind and held back in 9th grade after 7 grade schools were consolidated into one. This student had abusive parents that brow beat them. Had a girl get pregnant in 4th grade. She was fully developed in third grade. Raped by a relative. Had a 5th grade teacher that was locally raised. He was abusive. He threw chalk essarers. Picked kids up by the neck. He kept picking on a friend of mine. One day I stood at his desk and advised him not to. I threw a lit match in his trash can and looked him square in the eye and told him "I know where you live". He changed his ways. Was latter arrested for child abuse. 6th grade teacher was worse. He had been demoted from a principle in another school. He preached and forced US to pray. As my school had decided not to recite the pledge of allegiance, he did by himself. He also choose to pick on my friend. I had a private talk with him. He hung himself next year. Multiple allegations came out. 

              When the grade schools were consolidated I could no longer protect/help my friends. It was exasperating. I heard of a teacher picking on my one friend. I stood at this teachers door long enough to witness it first hand. He looked at me as I shook my head, no.  He stopped picking on my friend. Nothing happened to me.

         I did have a long talk with the Principle who lived by one of the farms I farmed and had been acquainted with for about ten years. He advised me that I probably couldn't do what I had been doing in my previous grade school. Knocking some sense into bullies would not be allowed. Etc. Funny thing after that nitwits chose to come after me and I got to knock them around anyway.

 

                     C.Z.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Apr 30, 2014 10:13

"no business nor person should be taxed in support of another person and/or business"....directly conflicts with ....."each pay in proportion to what was earned with a progressive scale".

 

People who earn "more" are taxed in support of another person who pays "less".

 

"We seemed to prosper when the top tax rate was 95%." -- I think a response is best made like this:

Progressives claim an increase in tax rates won’t stop producers from producing. But they presumably understand that people don’t work for free. When the top marginal rate was 90 percent, actor Ronald Reagan worked just half the year. As soon as he made enough money such that every additional dollar was taxed at 90 percent, he stopped working and went off to ride horses. Reagan later said that woke him up to the damage that high taxes impose.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danbigman/2012/04/03/john-stossel-tax-the-rich-the-rich-dont-have-enough-really/



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Apr 30, 2014 10:38

                  "rayguns" was a b-movie star that had an adulterous affair resulting in an out of wed-lock birth. Not anyone I would care to emulate nor take advice from. I liked Jane Wyman. She was a classy lady. Unlike her replacement.

                    Considering "rayguns" actually "worked" very little, I place no credence on the story. He was president of the screen actors guild, along with activity in other now considered "liberal" organizations. As a politician, did he keep that same opinion and just quit working at 90%? I doubt it.

             Regardless, We cannot compensate for idiots that only have monetary goals of achievement.

                                C.Z.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Apr 30, 2014 12:54

Mr. Zimmerman, your point about President Reagan not being a formally-educated economist is well-taken.  However, the example holds true.  Not only for "the rich" -- but for anyone.  "Progressive taxation" means people have to give up more of their earnings as they earn more.  The result is that people are less motivated to earn more.  Here is a well-qualified economic professor that tells exactly how this has a negative effect on even poor Americans:

 

http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/08/opinion/mccaffery-marginal-tax-rates/

 

When you study the real facts, it's not as sensational and gratifying as "stick it to the rich" -- but you have to admit, it is reality.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Apr 30, 2014 13:43

           The effect is irrelevant. Until OUR Constitutional directive of equal protection is changed, it is the prime objective, regardless of income.

 

            C.Z.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Apr 30, 2014 14:39

Equal OPPORTUNITY is likely more the intent of the Constitution.  Equal protection could easily mean I need as much protection from the IRS as any person that might earn less.  Equal protection for me is to not have a majority single me out because of my race, creed, politics, or income. 

 

Who affords "the 1%" equal protection against the 99%?  Those that argue for progressive taxation, how much will they take from the 1% before being satisfied?  And how did they come to the "fair" conclusion that whatever the amount is appropriate and Constitutionally correct?



Posted by: Doris Hammett | Apr 30, 2014 20:32

“Dr. Hammett, I wish I could live in the Haywood County of the past you describe.  Where community pride was prevalent and people invested and shared their time and talent.  Where people looked less toward the government and more toward their friends and family.  How can we emphasize some of those community attributes that make small-town living great?”

Dear Scott:

      You are living in Haywood County where community pride is prevalent and people invest and share their time and talent.  The Haywood County is the same County of 60 years ago. We were faced with different problems but we determined to overcome them.  I look at the leaders of today and find them with the same devotion and skills of those of 60 years ago.  I know Haywood County will rise to meet the needs that are before it.

      I have had to withdraw from involvement for the last few years with Dr. Frank’s progressive Parkinsonism and my advancing age, but I will list those now in Haywood County that invest and share their time and talent.  I beg forgiveness of those many whom I do not name but who are present.  May I name

Bruce Briggs, Gavin Brown, Steve Brown, Mark Clasby, Juanita Dixon, Patsy Dowling, Chuck Frances, Pat Smathers, Mark Swanger, Bill Upton?  There are many more in Haywood County who have not found their project.

      We must awaken them to the opportunities before us and let them find what they can and want to do.  Education will widen their horizons and lift their sights.  We must work together. 

We can do it.  Let us start today with our education system.

Doris B. Hammett, MD 



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | May 01, 2014 07:48

            Mr. Lilly.

 

Amendment XIV

Section 1.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

 

           "Equal protection of the laws" means just that. When OUR tax laws allow the top 10% to collect 90% of OUR revenue as in the last about ten years, there is something obviously wrong. It allows for the oppression of the other 90% of US.

              What kind of moron quits working when they reach so much money? A "rayguns" type of moron. But did you ever wonder just how did "rayguns" achieve the ability to just stop creating revenue? What kind of job allows that? I'd say none that could be counted on to return to dependably.

 

                      C.Z.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | May 01, 2014 09:10

"It allows for the oppression of the other 90% of US." -- This is your opinion.  One I do not share.  Your opinion only makes sense if the economy was zero-sum -- which it's not.  (Zero-sum economy means there is only a certain amount of wealth in existence and if one person possessed all of it, there would be none left for anyone else.)

 

There is infinite wealth and opportunity to earn it in the economy.  No matter how much wealth I earn, it does not impact or "oppress" your ability to earn your own wealth.  For example, you can hire anyone you like to work for you driving trucks regardless of who else has already earned wealth.  In many ways, those "wealthy" and larger trucking companies have lots more overhead and therefore their profit potential is lower thereby making it easier for you to earn more wealth with a lower overhead.

 

Go put your heart and soul into building a company for 15 years, start making some good money after that time, and then tell us how oppressed you made someone by providing jobs and commerce for a local economy to appreciate.  Arguing oppression by wealth is just sour grapes.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | May 01, 2014 10:40

                     Been there done that!

                     I am retired.

                     I farmed 1,100 acres of primarily irrigated ground for over 30 years. Besides farming for most of the 15 years after I was 5.

                     I owned/operated truck(s) putting app. 3,000,000. million miles over the road hauling grain, supplies for farm, steel, aggregates, etc, etc.

                     I hired no one. Tried to. But no would work as hard as long as I did regardless of pay. At 14 we were pulling weeds out of soybean fields. Hired three shifts of people/day at $7.00/hr. 10$ if they could keep up with me. Few could for very long. We had chores to do before we hit the field. And after. Had to carry one kid out of field because of heat-stroke. Put him under pick-up until his shift ended. He was a good kid. His mother came up from Mexico and surprised his father. He had married a white woman. Mother shot kid and father in head with a 12 guage. Father survived, sort of.

                     I know a little about hard work. I also know about the lack of opportunity that those without face everyday thru no fault of their own. We cannot continue to oppress the least of US without dire consequences. OUR Founders did not rise up because they were hungry or without opportunity. They did so because the King chose not to allow self-representation of self-government. AND! Was forcing the colonists to pay taxes in support of his church of England. Take voter suppression, tax inequities, no jobs of value, restrictions on women's liberty, loss of Medicaid/caire, jobless benefits alreddy paid for, etc, etc and the recipe for revolt is being made.

 

                  C.Z.



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