- Stop extending massive tax cuts to corporations and wealthy people. Maybe we as a state should not keep extending more corporate tax cuts for businesses and people who make significantly more than the average North Carolinian. We haven’t really seen the trickle-down effect from that here in our schools.
- Do away with the Opportunity Grants. We should not invest almost a billion dollars’ worth into a voucher scheme over a ten-year period when it has not shown any real success and put that back into the public schools. No study has conclusively said that vouchers actually improve public educational outcomes because of “competition.”
- Stop testing so damn much. When we measure student achievement through test scores and not through growth, we become addicted to “testing” and “teaching toward a test.” Buying tests and then allowing others to grade them for a premium and then disseminate information for the state costs money, not to mention that amount of time (which is a valuable and costly resource) that is consumed.
- And if we do give tests, then let our own people create and grade them. Why go to so many private companies to get tests and then pay them to grade them without any feedback? This state has an incredible university system with schools of education that can create earmark assessments and we can pay teachers to grade them. The money would stay in the system.
- Highly regulate the ESA’s and allow them to be spent on public schools as well. How about taking some of the money earmarked for Special Needs Education Savings Accounts (which might be one of the most unregulated versions in the country – just look at Arizona) and allowing parents to invest it back into services for their children in public schools?
- Not extend so much money into new unregulated charter schools. No report on the state level has shown they are working in the way that charter schools were intended to work: to be laboratories for public schools to find new ways of teaching and bring back to traditional schools to help all students. Instead many are run by private entities.
- Dissolve the Innovative School District. There is not community buy-in and all models of such “reforms” have proven to not help. Furthermore, it is giving money to a private entity.
- Repeal HB514. Bill Brawley’s bill is nothing more than legalized segregation and allows for municipalities to ask for county property taxes to create charter schools that only service certain zip codes. In essence it allows for more property taxes to be used to fund local schools and possibly state mandates.
- Allow ballot measures for school bonds to remain on the ballot. Let the voters actually decide, especially after two very destructive hurricanes destroyed so much in the eastern part of our state.
- Pass the budget in a democratic process. No more “nuclear options” to pass a state budget. Let the democratic process have its say. That means debate and amendments.
- Consider who has been beaten in the last elections who also championed bad budgeting policies. Just ask Tarte, Nelson, Malone, Stone, and Bradford how their recent elections went. Looks like Brawley might be singing a different song after all ballots are counted. The people spoke.
Then we can start talking about “raising taxes.”
Besides, out kids are worth it.