The Shriveled-Up Sour Grapes of Pat McCrory

Gov. Pat McCrory’s legacy was just sealed with his signing of the bill called House Bill 17 into law.

pat-mccrory-x750

It literally strips a lot of power from his successor, Democrat Roy Cooper.

  • This from a man who only vetoed his own General Assembly five times in his only term.
  • This from a man who defended HB2 as common sense after signing it into law minutes after it was passed in a special session of the NCGA.
  • This from a man who when he did challenge his own party it was over it trying to take power away from the governor’s office on a smaller scale than he is allowing now.
  • This from a man who challenged the voters in over 50 counties because he could not believe that he actually lost an election in a year that Trump carried North Carolina.

And earlier today he called another special session for December 21st for the “repeal” of HB2.

McCrory’s office, always in its emasculated political voice, issued this statement just hours before signing HB17.

“Governor McCrory has always publicly advocated a repeal of the overreaching Charlotte ordinance. But those efforts were always blocked by Jennifer Roberts, Roy Cooper and other Democratic activists,” said McCrory spokesman Graham Wilson. “This sudden reversal with little notice after the gubernatorial election sadly proves this entire issue originated by the political left was all about politics and winning the governor’s race at the expense of Charlotte and our entire state. As promised, Governor McCrory will call a special session.”

Such a statement marks a remarkable turnaround from the explanation for HB2 given during the Chuck Todd interview on Meet the Press last March.

And remember the “Common Sense” ad from the campaign? Here it is – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hniBMPPN3hM. So he will call a special session to repeal a law that was to protect our children statewide from an ordinance that was passed in one city against the discrimination of the LGBT community?

I guess?

Amber Phillips’s Dec. 19th column “North Carolina’s outgoing GOP governor just stuck it to his Democratic successor” for The Washington Post’s political blog The Fix does a great job of showing how both the calling of a special session to repeal HB2 and the signing of the HB17 bill may have one common denominator – to throw mud at Roy Cooper (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/12/19/north-carolinas-outgoing-gop-governor-just-stuck-it-to-his-democratic-successor/?utm_term=.209cba33427a) .

“So, are the two related — Cooper’s loud proclamation the bathroom bill would be repealed, and McCrory’s decision to sign legislation to limit Cooper’s power? It’s unclear.

But until Monday evening, it wasn’t even clear whether McCrory would sign this last-minute bill that limits his successor’s power.

He kept his head down last week while his party in the state legislature rushed through two bills aimed at reducing the governor’s influence in state government, the judicial branch, the education system and elections oversight, all while strengthening the GOP-dominated legislature’s influence in all those areas. In McCrory’s statement, he pushed back against some proposals to limit the governor’s power even further, like by moving major departments out of the governor’s authority and court-packing the state Supreme Court.

But he wasn’t opposed to it all. On Friday, McCrory signed legislation that would effectively give Republicans control of the state Board of Elections during election years. (The bill also contained a provision approving his chief of staff’s wife to the Industrial Commission.)

McCrory said nothing on the other, more controversial proposal until he announced Monday he decided to sign it, releasing one statement publicly — and sending another, unspoken message to his successor.”

They are related. To those outside of North Carolina, the idea that Charlotte and/or Roy Cooper is responsible for all of this is ludicrous, but to the McCrory camp it is a comforting slippery slope that rivals any Direct TV commercial from their ad campaign from a couple of years ago.

  1. Charlotte passes a local ordinance that extends protections to the LGBT community in the city limits of Charlotte.
  2. The North Carolina General Assembly calls a special session and passes HB2 which also takes away rights for people to sue in state court for wrongful termination and also prohibits local municipalities from establishing their own minimum wages. Of course those last two provisions are directly related to bathrooms.
  3. North Carolina loses face in the country and the world for the HB2 law and companies, entertainment, and sporting venues boycott, hurting us economically.
  4. Roy Cooper as Attorney General says HB2 should not be defended because as legal counsel it cannot be in court. That’s what good lawyers do.
  5. Pat McCrory runs on a platform that embraces HB2.
  6. Pat McCrory becomes the first sitting governor to not win reelection. Over 60,000 voters who chose Donald Trump did not vote for Pat McCrory, presumably over HB2.
  7. Under the auspices of helping victims of Hurricane Matthew and the wildfires in the mountains, the General Assembly calls another special session to remove power from incoming governor Roy Cooper through HB17.
  8. Pat McCrory signs bill and blames Cooper for HB2.

It defies logic. It defies reason, but it sounds like a sore loser who blames others for his misfortune. And now Roy Cooper has something that McCrory does not have anymore because McCrory did not do a good job.

Actually, those are sour grapes.

Shrivelled up sour grapes.

A pair of them.

Dried up.

Into raisins.

You know where.

 

Every North Carolina Lawmaker Should Read The Recent Research From Stanford University About Public Investment in Schools. I Hear Stanford’s a Decent School.

Public education is a sacred trust of the citizenry, not an open market for capitalistic ventures. If one wants to make the argument that states like North Carolina are free to allow for competition within its public school system, then that person would need to explain how that complies with the state constitution which explicitly says that all students are entitled to a good quality education funded by the state.

An adequately, fully funded public school system actually is a foundational cornerstone for a democracy in which participants are represented by those elected to defend the very state constitution they are sworn to uphold. In many cases, those representatives were products of the very public schools that are part of the North Carolina public school system.

But many of our lawmakers have mistaken defending public schools with playing partisan politics.

  • The outgoing governor, Pat McCrory, is a graduate of Ragsdale High School but has never challenged any privatization effort on behalf of traditional public schools.
  • The Speaker of the House, Rep. Tim Moore, graduated from Kings Mountain High School and he helped expand the Opportunity Grant voucher system in North Carolina.
  • Gov. Dan Forest attended East Mecklenburg High School and as a sitting member of the state school board has demanded that DPI redo a report because it did not make charter schools sound positive enough.
  • Rob Bryan graduated from Sanderson High School in Raleigh and he literally strong armed a version system called the Achievement School District that has never succeeded anywhere else and Sen. Chad Barefoot, who graduated from East Davidson High School, let him do it as the head of a powerful committee.
  • Jerry Tillman was a principal for Southwestern Randolph County High School and he might be the champion of charter school deregulation.
  • Jason Saine graduated from Lincolnton High School and now literally champions charter schools in his home county and is helping not only the application process of one but gets campaign contributions from a national chain of charter schools.

It is to these lawmakers and other “re-form” minded individuals that the recent set of studies out of Stanford University should be directed.

The Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) just released “Privatization or Public Investment in Education?” If you are nerdy enough, then you can go here – https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/publications/pubs/1456.

But here is part of the brief report from Dr. Frank Adamson, the Senior Policy and Research Analyst:

“The data suggest that the education sector is better served by a public investment approach that supports each and every child than by a market-based, competition approach that creates winners…and losers. While competition might work in sports leagues, countries should not create education systems in which children lose in the classroom. This report explains how and why some children can lose in a privatized system and makes recommendations to ensure that all children receive equitable, high-quality educational opportunities” (https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/publications/scope-germ-brief-final.pdf)

And while many in the NC General Assembly have claimed that charter schools are “public schools” make sure to see how the funds are dispersed and make sure to see who is actually in control and make sure how admissions processes are administered. Then take a look at the academics and the impact the schools have on the traditional public schools, especially in rural areas like Lincoln County where Rep. Saine operates.

Further in Dr. Adamson’s brief, he makes sure to define what the “Key Features of Education Privatization” are.

“Privatization in education occurs when countries shift towards a “subsidiary state” model that primarily outsources social sector management to private firms. The government only provides services when no suitable private alternative exists. Because public education serves all children, complete privatization of education is difficult to achieve. Nevertheless, mechanisms such as vouchers, charters, and markets allow for private firms to compete in the education market, under the argument that increased competition will provide consumers (students and families) with a greater choice, thus increasing quality. However, in practice, public education contains different constraints than business markets, most notably the obligation of providing every child with a high-quality education. Therefore, as the results in this brief show, privatizing education has accompanied lower and/or more disparate student performance, likely because markets operate with different principles than the requirements of public sectors.”

It’s almost as if it was written in response to North Carolina.

North Carolina: A Veteran Teacher Writes a Letter to the New State Superintendent

Thanks to Dr. Ravitch for posting.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Stuart Egan is a National Board Certified Teacher in North Carolina. The state legislature (the General Assembly) just passed legislation removing educational authority from the state board of education and handing it to the just-elected state superintendent of education, who is a Republican with only two years of teaching as a member of Teach for America.

Egan wrote to Mark Johnson, the 33-year-old neophyte who is suddenly in charge of the state’s schools.

The young man who will control the state school system ran against “the status quo,” which was imposed by the legislature that just put him in charge. Will he tangle with the legislature? Will he fight for teachers? Will he roll back over-testing, as he promised?

If you have …, “taken issue with what (you) sees as a lack of support for teachers and schools coming from the department and a failure to respond quickly to such…

View original post 314 more words

The Cotton-Headed Ninny-Mugginses of West Jones Street.

I’M on a blog and I’m blogging. I’M ON A BLOG, AND I’M BLOGGING!

Leave it to Buddy the Elf to best explain last week’s special session of the North Carolina General Assembly when the angry elves of the GOP decided for a power grab in the last minute to quash the Christmas cheer of the voters’ wishes.

buddy-the-elf-jpg-653x0_q80_crop-smart

  • “The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.”

Translated: “The best way to spread GOP cheer is passing bills in a special session for no one to hear. But doing it during the Christmas season really does add to the festive nature of the special session.”

That whole “loud for all to hear” part? Never happens. That’s called transparency. Not part of their style.

  • “You sit on a throne of lies!”

Actually, there is no translation needed here. They do sit on a throne of lies.

  • “We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.”

Translated: “We NCGA GOP members try to stick to the four main food groups: coal ash, gerrymandering, voter suppression, and privatization.”

  • “I am a cotton-headed ninny-muggins!”

Actually, “they” are all much more than that.

  • “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?”

The color is green in most cases – green with envy that they didn’t win the governor’s race or the Attorney General’s race. Or the state Supreme Court majority.

elf7

The color is yellow because of the nature of how they went about this recent power grab.

  • “I planned out our whole day: First, we’ll make snow angels for two hours, and then we’ll go ice skating, and then we’ll eat a whole roll of Toll-House cookie dough as fast as we can, and then to finish, we’ll snuggle.”

Translated: “We planned out our whole special session. First we’ll make it look like we are helping people from Hurricane Matthew and the wildfires, and then we’ll seize a whole roll of power as fast as we can, and then to finish, we’ll blame it on the liberals.”

  • “I just like to smile; smiling’s my favorite.”

Translated: “I just like to smile; smiling’s helping to cover my

  • “Son of a nutcracker!”

“Nutcracker” really doesn’t capture the mood does it, but it is about as strong as word as Buddy can muster.

  • “You have such a pretty face. You should be on a Christmas card.”

No they don’t.

buddy

  • “You did it! Congratulations! World’s best cup of coffee! Great job, everybody! It’s great to be here.”

Translated: “You did it! Congratulations! Country’s worst job of showing democracy in action.”

  • “Does somebody need a hug?”

“Hug” is too gentle a word here.

  • “Have you seen these toilets? They’re ginormous!”

Translated: “We still never repealed the bathroom bill.”

  • “You stink. You smell like beef and cheese! You don’t smell like Santa.”

Well said Buddy, well said.

635861550523312858719199899_buddy-elf-escalator-scared-face

 

HBS#2 – The Little Known Bill From the North Carolina Special Session to Change State Symbols

In a surprise move (and rather secretly passed and therefore, unnoticed), the North Carolina General Assembly passed yet another little-known special session proclamation known as a BM (bill maintenance) provision, that is tagged with another bill as a supplemental bill.

House Bill Supplement #2 (BS#2) will leave an indelible mark on the state of North Carolina to remind the Old North State of the GOP supermajority’s work this past week in the special session.

H-BS #2 officially changes many of the state symbols to reflect a more accurate portrayal of the true character of the current state of North Carolina.

  • State motto: From 1893 to 2016 it was “Esse quam videri” (“To be, rather than to seem”). However, beginning in 2017, the motto will be slightly switched to “To seem, rather than to be” as it will better reflect the value of talking about values rather than actually following up those words with actions.
  • State flower: From 1941 to 2016 it was the dogwood. However due to the ravenous nature for power that was displayed by the current NCGA GOP power grab in the special session, it was changed to the Venus Fly Trap, which was just the state’s carnivorous flower and now will take over the top floral position.
  • State bird: In 1943, the beautiful cardinal became the state bird of North Carolina. However, in 2017 it will become the vulture for its ability to feed off the carcasses of bills that actually would benefit most citizens of North Carolina.
  • State song: 1927 brought the state “The Old North State” as the state song which is appropriate; however, Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” will become the state song in January as it better fits the isolationist position that the GOP has placed the state in with bills like HB2.
  • State license plate motto: “First in Flight” will now become “First in Teacher Flight.”
  • State fish: The channel bass will now be replaced by the red herring as the red herring is by far the most used logical fallacy utilized by the NCGA GOP when attempting to explain the validity of its bills and laws.
  • State gemstone: The green emerald will now be replaced by pyrite, otherwise known as “Fool’s Gold.”
  • State beverage: Milk became the state beverage in 1987, but a slight modification will change that into “spilled Milk” because after losing the gubernatorial and the attorney general election in a year where Trump won the presidency, it was the crying over the spilled milk that allowed for the special session to commence.
  • State fruit: The scuppernong grape will now be replaced by “sour grapes.” Sour grapes seem to go best with spilled milk.
  • State Christmas Tree: The Fraser Fir was named the state Christmas tree in 2005, but the new H-BS #2 has stipulated that thee official Christmas trees now be not watered and dried out, much like the budgets for textbooks in public schools.
  • State document: For the first time on state history, North Carolina will have a state document. It will be the birth certificate as it not only proves that you were actually born, but validates which bathroom you can go into.
  • State dance – Currently, there are two such dances – the Carolina shag and clogging. However, these will be both replaced by the Texas two-step with an emphasis on not looking at your partner in the eye as to avoid directly having to address the person you are dancing with.

There is talk of introducing the rattlesnake as the state reptile, but many members were looking for an animal with more venom. However, in the long session a bill will be introduced that might eliminate a state vegetable as most vegetables are healthy and that would be antithetical to GOP policy.

Other categories that will be introduced to have state endorsed symbols for include:

  • State mode of privatizing public schooling
  • State form of ruining environment
  • State form of voter suppression
  • State form of gerrymandering

Much remains to be seen.

Open Letter to State Superintendent – Elect Johnson – So What Will You Be Doing With All of This New Power From HB17? That’s Not Rhetorical

Dear State Superintendent – Elect Johnson,

Congratulations on your election to a most important office in public service, but I must admit, I did not vote for you.

I am sure that your intentions are altruistic, but I did not think you were a person with the experience, knowledge, follow-through, and commitment to lead the public schools in the state of North Carolina.

When you campaigned to become a school board member in my home district (Winston-Salem / Forsyth County Schools), you touted your experience as a teacher in an inner-city school, specifically West Mecklenburg High School through the Teach For America program.

However, while your five weeks of preparation and two years in the profession may be enough to witness the obstacles that affect public education, I hardly believe it qualifies you to take control of the Department of Public Instruction. As I stated in an earlier letter to you, there are “Teachers who have taught much longer than your two-year tenure, who have taught longer than you have been alive, who trained to be a teacher longer than you were a teacher, who have experienced procedure changes, changes in leadership, changes in curriculum, changes in salaries, and other seismic shifts in policy” beyond any of your experience.

You may refer to your time as a member of the school board of the fifth largest school system in the state, but even then you did not finish a complete term.

You may say that you too are a parent of public school children, but even in an interview with the Winston-Salem Journal while running for a seat on the school board you admitted that you and your wife were not totally committed to enrolling your own children in public schools.

And now with the impending effects of House Bill 17 from the surreptitious special session of this past week, you will be the most enabled incoming state superintendent in state history. You will have powers that even your predecessor did not possess one-tenth the magnitude of. And considering that you ran against her adherence to the “status-quo”, that’s rather eye-opening.

This past Oct. 23 in the Winston-Salem Journal in an article by Arika Herron you commented on the job that Dr. Atkinson had done in her tenure as a state superintendent.

“More of the same is not the only option for students and educators,” Johnson said, who has campaigned heavily against the “status quo.”

Johnson said he first ran for the Forsyth County school board in 2014 in hopes of making a difference in struggling local schools, an area of interest since teaching for two years in a Charlotte high school through the Teach for America program.

Johnson said he quickly realized that many obstacles to improving Forsyth County schools were statewide issues, over which the local school board had little control. After fewer than two years on the Forsyth County school board, Johnson announced plans to run for state superintendent.

“What’s most at stake,” he said, “is whether we’re going to have my opponent, who’s going to continue the status quo, or someone who’s going to bring in a fresh perspective and make the change needed to improve public education” (http://www.greensboro.com/news/government/elections/forsyth-county-republican-takes-on-incumbent-in-state-superintendent-race/article_768efc7f-c25c-524c-89e6-c1a235a5e950.html).

Those are strong words considering what just happened in the special session and the amount of power you will be granted that Dr. Atkinson never had. It sounds as if the “status-quo” was not really established by Dr. Atkinson, but by the limitations placed on her and her department.

The last I observed, Dr. Atkinson was not responsible for:

  • Elimination of due process rights for new teachers
  • Graduate Degree Pay Bumps Removed for new teachers
  • Less Money Spent per Pupil now than before 2008
  • Remove Caps on Class Sizes
  • Incorporated the Jeb Bush School Grading System that really just shows the effects of poverty
  • Cutting Teacher Assistants
  • Expanding Opportunity Grants
  • Uncontrolled Charter School Growth
  • Virtual Schools Run By For-Profit Companies
  • Achievement School Districts
  • Reduction of Teacher Candidates in Colleges
  • Elimination of Teaching Fellows Program

The people who just granted you immeasurable power as state superintendent did those actions.

Yet if those actions are part of the “status-quo” that you say we need to stop as a state, then what are you going to do?

If you have (as reported in Herron’s article), “taken issue with what (you) sees as a lack of support for teachers and schools coming from the department and a failure to respond quickly to such issues as the state’s academic standards and over-testing” will you really seek to empower or enable those very teachers and schools the way that people in the GOP controlled NCGA special session just empowered you before you even step foot inside of your new office?

When the chair and vice-chair of the GOP controlled State Board of Education say that the General Assembly overstepped its boundaries in granting you as the incoming state superintendent this much power, then that sends more than one red flag into the air.

When two former governors, one of whom is Republican Jim Martin, says the special session has gone too far with bills such as the one which enables you, then sirens are screaming.

When the John Locke Foundation says that the power grab that involves the role of your office has gone too far, then many are saying that part of hell is freezing over.

So, what will you do now that you will have much to say about charter schools and the Achievement School District, the management of monies for public schools, and who is hired in DPI as well as some who may sit on the State Board of Education?

Because if someone who was as experienced as your predecessor was as handcuffed as she and was still able to wage battle against the very forces that have actually controlled the very “status-quo” you seem to have run against, will you be willing to battle those very people for the sake of the students and schools now that they have politically enabled you?

Or will you bend to the wishes of those who have placed this power within your office through a politically motivated special session that was undertaken solely as a coup against the fact that a democrat won the governor’s election?

I eagerly await your answer through your actions in the coming years.

Sincerely,

Stuart Egan
Voter, Parent of Public School Children, Veteran Public School Teacher

A Thank You to Rep. Graig Meyer

Rep. Graig Meyer from Orange County has over the past three years gained a tremendous amount of respect from me, not only as an educator, but as a voter.

I had the pleasure of meeting him one time at a press conference at NCAE headquarters. Rodney Ellis and Mark Jewell had organized a day of peaceful protest and speeches and Rep. Meyer and Rep. Larry Hall were the only two members of the General Assembly to accept their invitation to join us at that time. I met the Rev. William Barber that day as well.

Rep. Meyer was gracious, willing, attentive, and engaging. You could tell he had the “teacher gene” in him.

And what he did today on West Jones Street was what makes him a leader and true representative of North Carolinians.

Standing on a planter in the lobby amongst a crowd of protesters, Meyer gave a “pep talk” to those practicing their constitutional rights to gather and protest a special session that was not in the best interest of the state.

He literally was giving power back to the very people he represents directly in his district and works for in this state. He was doing the exact opposite of what other GOP NCGA members were doing in the chambers all day.

Rep. Meyer talked about engaging others in the community, organizing voter drives, making sure others understand that what was happening in the General Assembly does not have to be tolerated and should not be tolerated. And could be changed with time and effort.

He talked about tomorrows, not just today. And while he may have sounded like he conceded that the republicans may have “won” the day, he made sure to communicate that they will have to answer in both the court system and at the ballot box, ironically in 2017.

If you are looking for a bright spot today, there were many that I could see from my perch here in Winston-Salem.

  • People showed up to protest.
  • There was lots of press coverage – both locally and nationally.
  • This battle is more than just about what happened today.
  • People are galvanizing.

And we have representatives like Graig Meyer stepping up and helping lead.

Merry Christmas And Happy Coup Year From The North Carolina General Assembly GOP

Merry Christmas!” from the GOP constituency of the North Carolina General Assembly.

In the spirit of giving, they have reminded all of us that the most precious gifts are the ones you give to yourself at the expense of others especially during the holiday season.

christmas-card

Besides nothing is more American than Christmas, except maybe backhanded politics.

And the actions of the General Assembly in convening a fourth special session to introduce 20+ new bills without any transparency in time for the new year is the perfect marriage of such American traditions and the celebration of the birth of our Lord.

Of course reducing the number of jobs the governor can appoint by 80% is far more important than giving aid to victims of Hurricane Matthew and the deliberately set wildfires in the western part of the state. That’s why it was saved for the last special session. It’s the one closest to Christmas!

Of course they need to limit the powers of the new governor before he actually takes control of the governor’s mansion because the next governor is not like the outgoing governor who chose to just be a rubber stamp for the GOP establishment in the General Assembly. For a governor to have his own spine and use backbone would go against recent tradition, and Christmas is all about tradition!

Of course they need to change how the state and local boards of elections are appointed because they don’t want to have another situation where an election cannot be altered when the will of the people goes against the plans of the party in power. That would be like blackmailing Santa to bring you everything you asked for despite whether you were good or bad this past year.

Of course they need to give more control of the state’s public schools to the new state superintendent. Allowing him to be able to name members to the Charter School Advisory Board which takes money from traditional public schools, allowing him to oversee more of the state’s charter school growth, giving him control over the ASD district, and giving him staffing powers in the department of Public Instruction is the perfect way to celebrate the season of giving. What better way of celebrating the coming of the infant Christ than giving presents to an infant in education?

  • Think of it as rewarding themselves for helping others help them.
  • Think of it as being letting them be their own Santa Claus.
  • Think of it as using your money to buy gifts for themselves without your consent.
  • Think of it as learning that the best gifts are not the ones that are given selflessly to others in need but are the ones you selfishly take just because you don’t want others to have them.

There is no better time than the holiday season to give the very best to the ones that you love most, us!.