Macon looks for alternative funding for school projects

By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer

Voters in Macon County rejected a $42.1 million bond that would have provided new funding to build new schools, leaving county officials no choice but to seek out alternative funding.

Transfer tax would help Swain schools

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer

After several years of trying to secure funding for school improvements, Swain County officials say that money generated by a land transfer tax may be the answer they’ve been looking for.

Elections board investigates school bond activities

By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer

A complaint filed against the Macon County School Board over questionable campaign actions has the school district in hot water with the North Carolina Board of Elections.

What is wrong with teaching in the US?

In 1991, 30-year veteran and master teacher John Taylor Gatto resigned immediately after being named “Teacher of the Year” in New York. A number of educators and concerned parents took note — especially after the disillusioned teacher’s reasons for resigning appeared in the Wall Street Journal, under the caption, “I Quit, I Think.”

Time to fix NCLB to better reflect the real world

Congress is likely to re-authorize the No Child Left Behind Act sometime this fall. If that is indeed the case, then we can only hope it makes some significant changes in this flawed bill that will help school systems use their resources to educate children instead of turning out students whose most memorable public school lessons will be a useless ability to ace bubble tests.

School gets scant attention out in the jungle

By David Curtis

As a teacher in the public school system I have often heard teachers express their frustrations by using the famous middle school axiom, “How do they expect us to train a wild animal if each night we send it back to the jungle?”

Making the grade: Schools strain under pressure of misguided expectations

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer

Much like a band-aid on a kid’s scraped elbow, No Child Left Behind was put in place to mend an educational system many claimed was in disrepair. An increasing number of critics, however, are questioning the effectiveness of the act as a permanent fix for the problems plaguing America’s schools.

For teachers, success is in smell

By David Curtis

As a schoolteacher you always wonder how your students will remember you.

“She was a good teacher, but she smelled like garlic,” was my daughter’s comment when the name of a former teacher came up in conversation.

Counties struggle to recruit teachers

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer

Paula Ledford is getting worried.

With a little over a month to go before school starts in Macon County, the school human resources director still has to find 15 people to fill vacant positions. The list includes assistant principals, elementary school faculty, teachers of exceptional children, and more. She’s digging deep — calling universities to ask about recent graduates that still might be looking for jobs, posting notices on as many Web sites as she can think of, even calling retired teachers to see if they’ll come back as a sub on a short-term basis. After all, Ledford says, “sometimes people will graduate in December,” which means she might be able to lure someone to Macon County by the winter.

The school board, economics and political insight

By the time we hit the streets with this edition and this column is read, the election that has been dominating the news will be behind us. Talking heads and columnists will be digesting and spinning the results, givingtheir take on what it all means. As of this writing, though, we don’t know who will win.

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.