The term “walking contradiction” describes someone who says one thing and then acts in a contradictory fashion. Nowhere do we get a better example of the “walking contradiction” than with politicians who knowingly and blatantly make statements that contradict their own actions or professed value systems.
In North Carolina, we have many of our own walking contradictions. One of them is Sen. Chad Barefoot, the co-chairman of the NC Senate Education Committee which has refused to move on HB13 after the House passed it unanimously.
“For years, the General Assembly has been sending tens of millions of dollars to districts for new classroom teachers for the purpose of lowering classroom sizes,” he said. “The question we keep asking over and over again is, ‘What did they do with the money? …The data that we have received from the districts varies, and some districts did not fully respond to our information request. What some of the data has shown is that there are districts that did not reduce class sizes with the funding we sent them. Why are they holding art and PE teachers’ jobs hostage for their misallocation of classroom teacher funds?” (http://www.wral.com/law-reducing-class-size-has-music-art-pe-teachers-anxious-about-future-/16628678/).
That’s all he has said. No proof of the data. No explanation of what he has seen. No transparency. If he is to make the claim, then he needs to show us where those “misallocations” really are.
But until then, he is just a “walking contradiction” especially for two specific reasons.
First, the arts, music, and physical education are not “specialties” but “necessities.” In a nation that is spending more on health problems caused by obesity, the need to get kids moving and away from the television might be just as important as core subject material.
Even Louisburg College, “America’s Premier Private Two-Year College”, here in North Carolina understands the value of these “necessities.
Just look at its introductory screen on the website. There is even a link to the “Humanities” department.
And the description is rather telling.
“The humanities cover a broad range of academic disciplines that have been, and continue to be, a crucial component of the educational goals of Louisburg College. The Humanities Division’s learning objectives of competent written and oral communication, critical thinking, creative thinking, and aesthetic engagement support Louisburg College’s mission statement of building a strong foundation to prepare students for an academic journey that leads to a four year college.”
The Humanities Division includes Art, Communications, Drama, English, Film, Music, Religion/Philosophy, and Spanish.
So “creative thinking” and “aesthetic engagement” are needed t support a “strong foundation to prepare students?” I could not agree more. With classes in art, drama, film, music, and foreign languages it seems that Louisburg values the continuation of a curriculum that teaches the whole body and mind.
And yes, there is a strong athletics department.
And guess who the is the Vice-President of Institutional Advancement as of this past July 1st.
Vice President for Institutional Advancement
His responsibilities? According to Louisburg’s press release on his hiring (https://www.louisburg.edu/news/barefoot.html),
“Barefoot will serve as chief development officer for the college, which includes directing and overseeing annual fundraising programs and alumni and community relations. He will also serve as a member of the President’s cabinet and as a strategic partner to the Board of Trustees.”
Is it not ironic that Sen. Barefoot raises funds for an institution that is a private industry so that it can fully fund its “necessities” when he is also actually elected to do the same for the public schools and he is stalling a bill called HB13 that if not passed would force public school systems to spend much more money to come into accordance with an ill-conceived mandate while eliminating the very same type of “necessities?”
Secondly, Barefoot’s actions and words concerning HB13 and fully funding public schools show a glaring contradiction to the religious platforms that he and many in state government have been professing while maintaining office.
The predominant spiritual path in the United States, Judeo-Christianity, talks much of the need for music, dance, movement, song, and expression. I think of all of the hymns and musicals my own Southern Baptist church produced, most complete with choreography, which is odd considering that many joke about Baptists’ aversion to dancing.
Even the Bible commands “Sing to the LORD a new song; Sing to the LORD, all the earth” (Psalms 96:1), and “Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe” (Psalm 150:4).
Furthermore, the Bible often talks of the body as being a “temple of the Holy Spirit” and even commands Christians to stay physically fit. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Not passing HB13 is egregious. It’s backwards. It’s forcing school districts to make decisions about whether to educate the whole child or part of the child in order to make student/teacher ratios look favorable. It’s either drop those courses or cutting teacher assistants and that would be yet another detrimental blow against public education.
That’s like going out of your way to get plastic surgery, liposuction, and body sculpting to create a new look while ignoring the actual health of your body. Without proper nutrition, sleep, exercise, mental health, and emotional support, we open doors to maladies.
When the Bible that Barefoot reads talks about a temple, it talks about the insides, not just the outsides.
Interestingly enough, many of the private schools and charter schools that receive public money through Opportunity Grants that Barefoot heartily champions have plentiful art programs and physical education opportunities.
So why put these programs for public schools in jeopardy if they reach so many more children?
What our history has shown us time and time again is that we needed music, dance, arts, and physical education to cope and grow as people and we needed them to become better students. To force the removal of these vital areas of learning would be making our students more one-dimensional. It would make them less prepared.
Rather contradictory to what is supposed to happen.