An amendment offered by none other than Sen. Chad Barefoot on May 10, 2017 was yet another assault by the North Carolina General Assembly against the arts in our schools.
Amendment #2 to Senate Bill 257 proposed to establish a “Legislative School For Leadership and Public Service” using the very funds that would have financed Governor’s School starting in 2018-2019.
Here is a copy of that amendment found at https://ncleg.net/Applications/BillLookUp/LoadBillDocument.aspx?SessionCode=2017&DocNum=4282&SeqNum=0.
In short, Chad Barefoot and others of his ilk wanted to do away with Governor’s School and replace it with a “Legislative School of Leadership and Public Policy.”
Governor’s School has been and continues to be an institution in this state for over fifty years. Its description on its webpage (www.ncgovschool.org) says,
“IMAGINE … A Summer Program
… where students who are among the best and brightest gather for the love of learning and the joy of creativity
… where teachers and students form a community while searching together for answers to challenging questions
… where there are no grades or tests
… where a synergy of intellectual curiosity fuels the exploration of the latest ideas in various disciplines
This is the Governor’s School of North Carolina . . .
Two campuses. One vision. Over fifty years of experience.
And the subjects that academically-gifted students can go and study include:
- Natural Science
- Social Science
- Choral Music
- Instrumental Music
It truly is an institution that has faced termination before but sustained itself because so many found value in what it provides. Yet with the recent events surrounding HB13 and the funding of specialties in elementary schools like art and physical education, it is not totally surprising that Sen. Barefoot launched another attack on opportunities for students to enhance their academic and creative endeavors in the liberal arts.
But he literally wanted to replace it with a summer school for leadership and public service that has an “intensive course of study in leadership and public policy.”
Actually, what he seems to have wanted to do is set up a state-funded camp of political indoctrination for another generation of students who will carry on the policies that he has championed on behalf of the powers that be in Raleigh.
This was another slap in the face for those who see value in what Governor’s School has done for our state enriching the lives of talented students who then keep investing themselves in our communities. It was a slap in the face for those who see the value in the liberal arts.
But what really made this stink of partisan politics is the changing of the name from “Governor’s” to “Legislative.” Whether that’s a snub toward Roy Cooper is up for debate. Well….
Actually it seems pretty clear.
Forget the passive-aggressive nature of not debating the budget and ramming it through committee.
Forget the fact that there are already in existence a multitude of internships, public and private, as well as other funded opportunities for students to become more familiar with public service. In fact, it seems that motivated students already have put themselves in situations to learn leadership and pursue public service.
However, Barefoot and others in Raleigh have an agenda, one which they hoped to turn into a curriculum that could be offered at the Legislative School For Leadership and Public Policy.
There could have been a class that would teach future leaders to allocate public money that would allow a government official to sue other government officials so that the public school system could be put into limbo for an extended period of time such as this example:
That’s right. Three-hundred thousand dollars to Mark Johnson so he could sue the State Board of Education to get powers that he should have never had in the first place.
The Legislative School for Leadership and Public Policy could have also taught academically gifted students to become so partisan that they would begin to budget government positions to create even more bureaucracy. Take for example:
This allowed Mark Johnson to have five more people to work for him than the previous state superintendent who seemed to do a lot more in her first months of service than he has – with fewer people working for her.
The cost of just those two provisions? Almost three/quarters of a million dollars, which is more than enough to help fund Governor’s School for another summer session on two campuses.
Sen. Barefoot needed to call it for what it was – A Legislative School for Gerrymandered Leadership and Public Policy to Suit Private Interest.
And if rumor serves true, he had this person in mind to run the first session: