Rep. Tim Moore’s recent missive in EdNC.org (“Education reforms for North Carolina’s future”) begins with one of the more sweeping fallacies made by many in Raleigh who champion the crippling policies surrounding public education.
“The North Carolina General Assembly is implementing meaningful public school reforms that are popular with parents and students because they focus on families’ shared priority of improving student achievement” (https://www.ednc.org/2017/11/09/education-reforms-north-carolinas-future/).
Popular with parents and students? Meaningful? Focused on shared priorities?
Well, consider the following list that just highlights some of those “reform” efforts from just the last eleven months.
- House Bill 17 was passed and “is meant to shift more power to Johnson and deem him the ‘administrative head’ of the state education department. The current law says some of the superintendent’s duties are ‘subject to the discretion, control and approval of the State Board of Education,’ but that language has been removed in several places in the proposed bill” (http://www.wral.com/bill-would-give-more-power-to-new-nc-superintendent-reduce-role-of-school-board/16341626/).
- A lawsuit by the state board against the superintendent over HB17 starts early in 2017. The General Assembly backs the state superintendent with taxpayer money in the case. The state board must use its own budget to finance lawsuit.
- The General Assembly passes a law (HB13) to limit class sizes in K-3 classrooms but does not allocate funds and resources to help hire needed teachers for new classes created in response or to help build extra classrooms.
- A principal pay plan that actually punishes many principals is passed without input from educators and is crafted in part by private business entities.
- Schools will no longer have Biology I test scores used to calculate school performance grade and school report cards when those scores have been among the highest in past years for each school.
- There is a new version of the N.C. Teaching Fellows that is a mere shadow of its former self.
- Opportunity Grants were expanded without any research backing its success to nearly a billion dollars over the next ten years.
- The Department of Public Instruction has its budget slashed by nearly 20% for the next two years.
- SB599 is passed and it allows people to enter the teaching profession with minimal training.
- An Innovative School District selects an unwilling school to turn over to a for-profit entity to “reform” it. That school system where the school resides is considering shutting down the school.
- Per-pupil expenditures still are one of the worst in the country.
- Textbook funding still lags millions behind what pre-recession levels were.
- There is a rash boon of a method to reformulate how monies are allocated to local school systems based political ideologies and personalities rather than principles.
- The state superintendent has not asserted himself as an instructional leader.
And that lawsuit between the state board of education and the state superintendent is still ongoing as it has been requested by the state board for the N.C. Supreme Court to hear the case all the while the very General Assembly that is propping the state superintendent is trying to recreate how judges in this state are elected and selected as well as drawing new judicial districts in an effort to take over the judicial system. That’s the same General Assembly that has been called out for gerrymandering districts – twice.
And Tim Moore wants to claim “The North Carolina General Assembly is implementing meaningful public school reforms that are popular with parents and students because they focus on families’ shared priority of improving student achievement.”
If “implementing meaningful public school reforms” means “waging war on public education” in this context, then Tim Moore is exactly right.