Education Forum: Monday Sept 21 @ 6pm

empty classroom with chalkboard

Are you interested in affordable college for your children or grandchildren? Do you think all young children deserve quality, age-appropriate early educational opportunities? Should high school students have up-to-date textbooks? Can your child receive the education she deserves in an over-crowded classroom?

Our Branch will hold its first annual Education Forum on Monday, September 21, in the Community Room at the Jackson County Public Library Complex in Sylva. The doors open at 6 PM with a looping slide show and the forum officially begins at 6:30. Topics will focus on changes in public schooling since the Great Recession, with an emphasis on the results of decreased funding to all levels of education.

This programs invites the community to take a comprehensive look at changes in support for public schools, primarily since the Great Recession. Speakers will address: What has changed in the area in which you work? What new challenges exist? Is your job harder now? Why? What would you like the public to know about your work?

The panel of speakers will include:

​* Enrique Gomez​President, Jackson County Branch, NAACP
​​​​welcoming remarks

​* Mary Sue Casey​Secretary, Jackson County Branch, NAACP
context and importance of public schooling for the
​NAACP and African-Americans

​* Dale Carpenter​Dean, College of Education & Allied Professions, WCU
​​​​challenges to Colleges of Education (higher education)

​* Karen Holt​​, retired pre-K teacher, Haywood County
​​​​importance of early childhood education and current

​* Jason Watson​, secondary curriculum director, Jackson County Schools
​​​​K-12 education, current challenges and changes

​* Carolyn Cope​, teacher, East Franklin, Macon County
​​​​status and working conditions of teachers,
challenges and changes​

​* Penny Smith​, retired K-12 and university educator
​​​​former NC Teacher of the Year
​​​​context of current educational reform efforts

Admission is free and open to anyone who wants to become better informed. There will be an opportunity to meet and mingle with the presenters. There will also be light refreshments. Speakers include the Dean of the College of Education at WCU and educators from three counties, including Jackson.

Become a more informed consumer of public education. Attend and hear what changes have occurred. When money for public schools decreases, rural and fragile populations suffer the most.

The Education Forum will be the first in a series of annual events sponsored by our Branch to shed light on specific aspects of schooling. Education is one of the pillar policy issues with which the NAACP is and has always been involved. We see education as one of the ways our citizens can improve their lives, the lives of their families, and, consequently, the economic, social and cultural prosperity of our nation. Like the President of the state NAACP, Reverend William Barber, our Branch believes access to a quality education “is a moral issue.”

For more information, or to participate in the Education Committee of our branch, contact Penny Smith at