SIGN THE PETITION! Take Action To Demand That The NCGA Passes A Budget That Will Meet The Needs Of Our Students, Schools And Communities.

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On Wednesday, November 13th, the NCGA has the opportunity to make a choice.

Will they provide adequate funding for public education?

Or will they continue to starve our schools while providing tax cuts for wealthy corporations?

North Carolina’s educators and families are ready for action. We’re emboldened by the unity of educators and communities in Los Angeles and Chicago. We’re inspired by the electoral wins of our neighbors in Virginia and Kentucky. Those victories were the result of years of sustained organizing and strategic action. Let’s take this next step together, for our students and for each other.

Please take action to demand that the NCGA passes a budget that will meet the needs of our students, schools and communities.

Once you have signed this petition, we ask that you set a goal of getting 75% of your co-workers to sign it. Our numbers are our power – when the majority of our school employees act together, we represent a major political force. You can also use the print version of this petition and then enter your signatures here. Join our webinar November 11 or contact info@organize2020.org for support!

I signed a petition on Action Network telling North Carolina General Assembly to Who will the NCGA take care of – kids or corporations?.

On Wednesday, November 13th, the NCGA will reconvene to make a choice. Will they provide adequate funding for public education? Or will they continue to starve our schools while providing tax cuts for wealthy corporations? We are calling on all educators and supporters of public schools to take the following actions together to ensure the NCGA makes the right decision:

1. Print out this petition and get 75% of your co-workers to sign it. Our numbers are our power – when the majority of our school employees act together, we represent a major political force. Once you reach 75%, please visit our campaign page to find a data entry form or contact info@organize2020.org for help!

2. Circulate this online petition through email and social media. This will help us spread the word as widely as possible.

3. Organize a #Red4Ed picket at your school on Wednesday, November 13 Demonstrate public support by encouraging all staff, students, and families to wear RED and meet before school hours. Here’s a simple guide to tell you how. Join our webinar at 8 pm on Monday, November 11 to connect and prepare! North Carolina’s educators and families are ready for action. We’re emboldened by the unity of educators and communities in Los Angeles and Chicago. We’re inspired by the electoral wins of our neighbors in Virginia and Kentucky. Those victories were the result of years of sustained organizing and strategic action. Let’s take this next step together, for our students and for each other.   In This Together, NCAE Organize 2020 Racial and Social Justice Caucus

Can you join me and take action? Click here.

Thanks!

How Can Phil Berger Be “Pro-Teacher” When He Does Not Even Support Public Schools?

No Senate budget in the state of North Carolina gets released without Phil Berger’s approval.

And the one he has been trying to  pass does nothing to help relieve what has been ailing public education in NC.

If the NC Senate’s budget has its way:

  • Schools will still be judged by the 80/20 formula where the %80 is achievement. NC is the only state where achievement is over half of the formula.
  • No graduate pay restoration.
  • No longevity pay restoration.
  • No Medicaid expansion.
  • No minimum wage for school employees.
  • More money for vouchers.

If you do not think then prove it otherwise. Just look at the voting records of people in his party and you will see that he controls the rank and file. And if you want to make the argument that a post like this is targeting a certain political party, then it sure is. But this is not the party that my grandparents knew. This is the party that has drifted from its roots of supporting strong public schools in this state and done what Phil Berger dictates.

Under the leadership of Sen. Phil Berger, the NCGA has done this to public schools in North Carolina:

  1. Teacher Pay – Manipulated raises to make it appear that the “average” teacher salary raise is higher than “actual” raises.
  2. Removal of due-process rights – Teachers who are not protected by due-process will not be as willing to speak out because of fear.
  3. Graduate Degree Pay Bumps Removed.
  4. Push for Merit Pay and Bonus Pay – The bottom line is that merit pay destroys collaboration and promotes competition.
  5. Health Insurance and Benefits – Simply put, health benefits are requiring more out-of-pocket expenditures, higher deductibles, and fewer benefits. Legislation has also taken away retirement health benefits for those who enter the profession now.
  6. Attacks on Teacher Advocacy Groups (NCAE) – Seen as a union and therefore must be destroyed, the North Carolina Association of Educators has been incredibly instrumental in bringing unconstitutional legislation to light and carrying out legal battles to help public schools.
  7. Revolving Door of Standardized Tests – Like other states, we have too many. Such a revolving door makes the ability to measure data historically absolutely ridiculous.
  8. Reorganization and a Weakening of the Department of Public Instruction – It all started with HB17 that was “passed” in a special session of the North Carolina General Assembly after the 2016 elections and before the new terms began.
  9. Less Money Spent per Pupil – When adjusted for inflation.
  10. Remove Caps on Class Sizes – The math is simple: more students per teacher.
  11. Jeb Bush School Grading System – This letter grading system used by the state literally shows how poverty in our state affects student achievement.
  12. Cutting Teacher Assistants –  NC has lost nearly 7500 teacher assistant jobs in the last ten years.
  13. Opportunity Grants – Opportunity Grant legislation is like the trophy in the case for the GOP establishment in Raleigh. It is a symbol of “their” commitment to school choice for low-income families. But it is the least transparent system in the nation.
  14. Charter Schools – Many charters abuse the lack of oversight and financial cloudiness and simply do not benefit students. Especially in rural areas, uncontrolled charter school growth has been detrimental to local public schools.
  15. Virtual Charter Schools – There are two virtual charter academies in NC. Both are run by for-profit entities based out of state. Both also have rated poorly every year of their existence.
  16. Innovative School District – Only one school is part of this ISD which has its own superintendent and was really was never wanted in the first place.
  17. Reduction of Teacher Candidates in Colleges – At last report, teaching candidate percentages in undergraduate programs in the UNC system has fallen by over 30% in the last five years.
  18. Elimination of Teaching Fellows Program – Once regarded as a model to recruit the best and brightest to become teachers and stay in North Carolina was abolished because of “cost”. Yes, it was reintistited, but as a shadow of its former self.
  19. Class Size Chaos – It was never funded by the NCGA.
  20. Municipal Charter School Bill – Passed as a local bill, it now has gone statewide to literally allow for segregated schools.
  21. A Puppet of a State Superintendent – If someone wants to make an argument for how great a job Mark Johnson has done, then I am ears.

There is more.

Too many kids are hungry and poor in this state. ALEC style reforms have not worked. Veteran teachers are being ignored.

The graphics below chart actual data during the time that Phil Berger has been leader of the NC Senate.

 

graphFrom the recent Public School Forum of North Carolina’s report on top ten issues in NC education.

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teacherpay2019

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View image on Twitter

Source: Kris Nordstrom

295 to teach3

Image result for nc virtual charter school performance grades

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The Absolute Fake Sincerity Of Phil Berger Concerning Teacher Raises – Remember What He Took Away

It’s hard to take Sen. Phil Berger’s gesture to raise teacher salaries and add on a bonus this past week as anything but sincere.

For someone who has been touting how he is so “pro-teacher,” he seems to want you to forget how much he has really taken away from teachers.

berger statement.PNG

Simply put, Sen. Berger has spent so much time trying to condition the public about how much has been done for teachers when in actuality what he is doing is simply giving back in smaller portions some of the very things he has helped to take away from teachers.

And he expects that to be forgotten as he tries to use smaller raises than the governor proposed to lure the public into thinking that he is being pro-public education?

A website appeared on the landscape in 2016 that expanded on Berger’s timeless BS and it is still being pushed out. Here is the home page for www.ncteacherraise.com.

And it a wonderful example of legislaining in eduspeak.

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And with some red, white, & blue spin, he presented this:

teacherpay4

But he fails to tell you he spearheaded a North Carolina General Assembly that took away graduate degree pay and due process rights from newer teachers and longevity pay from veteran teachers.

Below is the salary schedule for a teacher in North Carolina for the 2018-2019 school year. Because of the current stalemate in budget negotiations, it is currently the salary schedule for the 2019-2020 school year.

schedule4

Any teacher new to the profession in the last four years would never be on the second schedule because newer teachers are not allowed a pay bump for graduate degrees. Notice how the salaries also plateau after year 15.

There is no longevity pay included as it does not exist for teachers any longer.

And remember that the average pay that people like Mark Johnson, Phil Berger, and Tim Moore like to brag about includes local supplements that the state is not responsible for.

Now go back ten years.

schedule1

schedule2

Ten years ago each salary step would have had an increase in pay.

All teachers, new and veteran, would have had graduate degree pay ten years ago.

All veteran teachers would have received longevity pay ten years ago above and beyond what the salary schedule said.

Yet Berger wants to tell you that what he is offering is beyond grandiose.

According to the 2008-2009 salary schedule, a person with my experience and credentials would be making more than someone with the same experience and credentials today – even with Berger’s new “proposal.”

And that doesn’t even being to help veteran teachers recover what they have lost since Berger has been in office.

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No One Who Champions Betsy DeVos Should Be Governor of NC

Over 50% of the state budget for NC is spent on public education. Currently it stands around 56-57%.

And yes that is above the national average. And there is a reason for that.

Catherine Truitt, current chancellor of Western Governor’s University in NC, is considering her own run for state superintendent in 2020. As the senior education advisor for Gov. McCrory, she penned an op-ed posted on EdNC.org on March 25, 2016 entitled “The truth on education spending.”

“The truth is, total K-12 funding has increased each year of Gov. McCrory’s administration and North Carolina now spends 57 percent of its state budget on education, far higher than the national state average of 46 percent.”

This is the same argument that Rep. Hardister made on Sept, 3rd, 2015 on his blog The Hardister Report. He talked of three sources of financing for NC public education – federal, state, and local. Both Truitt and Hardister are right; 57 percent is far higher than the national average. But that’s because it is supposed to be. The state constitution declares it.

The Public School Forum of North Carolina’s publication the 2014 Local School Finance Study provides a great history of the state’s practice in funding public schooling which is rooted in the proclamation that all children in the state ages 6-21 are guaranteed a good public education.

However, I do want to point out that before we had a “Republican governor and a Republican-controlled legislature,” the state spent an even higher percentage on public education because THAT IS WHAT THE STATE CONSTITUTION DECLARED. As I stated to Rep. Hardister in 2015,

“…those percentages of spending are not a badge of honor that this General Assembly gets to wear; it was earned many decades ago. The fact that the percentage is getting lower actually is not a positive sign for this administration. It is a reflection that the NCGA’s level of commitment to public education is wavering. Since most of the state funding goes to salaries of certified and classified employees, the fact the percentage of funds from the state is not higher than it was in years past is indicative of the stagnated salaries NC gives to teachers and assistants. With the elimination of funds for professional development and talk of cutting numbers of teaching assistants, how can you brag about the level of money spent on public schooling?”

Also lost in this is the uneven fashion in which money from the state is actually dispersed to LEA’s on the county and city levels. One of the more cohesive explanations of North Carolina’s state funding practices is a publication by the Center for American Progress entitled “The Stealth Inequities of School Funding” produced in 2012. It summarizes our state’s practices in a fairly concise manner, especially on page 46.

When Dan Forest recently made known his education platform for his run at the governor’s office, he talked a lot about putting the state’s money for public education into the hands of parents who want to send their children to private schools as well as helping funnel more resources into charter schools.

foresteducation plan

Forest’s plan really mirrors that of another privatizer – Betsy DeVos. And Forest has made no secret that he is a fan of the absolute worst Secretary of Education that this country has ever endured.

In July, DeVos was in North Carolina to tout her new program about school choice. As reported by the News & Observer,

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest promoted a new federal school choice program Wednesday that could allow more families to attend private schools or to homeschool their children.

The N&O article quoted Kris Nordstrom who offered probably the most succinct critique of this new DeVos initiative.

Locally, Kris Nordstrom, education finance and policy consultant for the N.C. Justice Center’s Education and Law Project, said the proposed scholarship program is a terrible idea. He said it will likely result in more money going to help subsidize the tuition costs for parents who would have sent their children to private school anyway.

“We know that where we have these voucher programs we will be subsidizing religious extremist, anti-LGBTQ hate groups,” Nordstrom said in an interview Wednesday. “Schools that tell students dinosaurs walked with man, schools that tell students slavery wasn’t that bad.”

Nordstrom questioned the timing of the new program when DeVos is also talking about federal education cuts for initiatives such as afterschool programs and teacher training. DeVos attributed the cuts to Congress wanting the federal government to “tighten the belt.”

Nordstrom called Wednesday’s visit a “clown show all around” designed to help boost Forest, who is running for governor in 2020.

Nordstrom’s tweet later in the day clarified a little more about that “clown show.”

clown show

That license plate idea was an idea from back in 2015. The plates were to look like this.

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The demand never reached 500 to start the production.

Forest is aligning himself more and more with Betsy DeVos. This is from last June.

forestdevos

It is ironic how Forest can be so anti pro-choice and so pro-school choice at the same time. But that is exactly what Betsy DeVos is as well.

At the end of June, 2019, Peter Greene, who writes the well-known Curmudgucation education blog wrote a piece for Forbes.com entitled “How School Choice Undermines Democratic Processes.”

In this very well-explained piece, he talks about something akin to what DeVos was pushing in North Carolina today – the Tax Credit Scholarship.

But Tax Credit Scholarships disempower taxpayers even further by putting the purse strings in the hands of wealthy individuals and corporations.

A TCS system essentially lets those folks give their dollars to schools instead of using the money to pay their taxes. In effect, the donors fund schools directly, rather than through tax dollars paid to the state (meanwhile, the state’s tax revenue drops a commensurate amount).

 

 

69 Schools “Qualify” To Be Taken Over By The Innovative School District – Not A Single One Is A Charter School

Yesterday, DPI released a list of 69 schools in the state that would qualify for inclusion in the Innovation School District.

isdschoollist

The “School Performance Scores” for each of these “chosen” schools ranges from 25 to 40. Actually only one school is below 30.

25 – 1 school
30 – 2 schools
31 – 4 schools
32 – 1 school
33 – 7 schools
34 – 8 schools
35 – 4 schools
36 – 7 schools
37 – 10 schools
38 – 4 schools
39 – 14 schools
40 – 7 schools

AND EVERY ONE OF THOSE SCHOOLS ON THAT LIST IS A TRADITIONAL PUBLIC SCHOOL.

THERE IS NOT A SINGLE CHARTER SCHOOL ON THERE. And there are many who would qualify based on their School Performance Grades and Scores.

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In fact, there are five charter schools that have a score below 30.

There are those two virtual charter schools that have not very well in the past, but were renewed by the state for another four years and championed by Mark Johnson. Here are their grades and growth by subset groups.

reforms3reforms2

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NC Virtual Academy:

1 – F
6 – D’s
2- C’s
5 – Not Met’s
1- Met

NC Cyber Academy:

4 – F’s
4 – D’s
1- B
6 – Not Met’s
0- Met

Here is the only school that has currently been serviced by the Innovative School District:

isdschoollist2

reforms4

Southside Ashpole Elementary:
4 – F’s
Everything else is an “I” which stands for “Insufficient Data.”
1 – Not Met’s
2 – Met

Here is the data of charter schools versus traditional schools as far as growth is concerned (courtesy of Kris Nordstrom).

reforms6

So why are there no charter schools designated to be taken over by a failed reform? Ask Mark Johnson.

But he’s unusually quiet right now. I have only received one email from him in the past three weeks.

Dan Forest’s Education Platform: Puritanically Privatizing NC’s Public School System With Vouchers

Today, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest released his plan for expanded school choice as part of his platform in running for governor.

Actually, Forest has been running for governor for years as most of his actions as the state’s “second in command” has been focused on campaigning against the current governor, Roy Cooper.

While Forest’s complete education platform revolves around 4 main cogs, he chose today to mostly reveal his wish to provide any family in NC a chance to use a voucher to go to a private school – in other words, expand the Opportunity Grant Program for all NC students.

The News & Observer reported,

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest wants to let every North Carolina family, regardless of their income, be able to receive a state-funded voucher to attend a private school.

Forest made school choice the central piece of his education plan that he released Thursday morning in his campaign to win the Republican nomination for governor in 2020. Forest said he’d continue to give priority for low-income families to receive the vouchers through a weighted selection lottery but would expand the eligibility criteria “to allow every family in North Carolina the chance to choose a school that works for them.”

“Parents should have a choice in education,” Forest said in one of a series of videos released Thursday to accompany his education platform. “They should have a choice where their students actually attend school.”

Simply put, Forest wants taxpayers to “foot the bill” to send any student to a private school in North Carolina.

Many public school advocates, especially the teacher who writes this blog, have argued that the Opportunity Grants are a detriment to public schools in that it takes public money meant for public schools and gives it to private, unregulated entities which can practice admission standards that would never be allowed in public schools and can offer curricula that is not aligned with preparing students for 21st success.

In fact, most all of the vouchers in NC are used to attend religious schools.

93% of vouchers used in NC when a 2017 Duke study was published went to entities that are affiliated with churches and are possibly housed within churches that do not have to give tax dollars due to religious exemptions.

And don’t forget that we as a state are already expanding vouchers by $10 million year until the year 2026-2027.

Under Forest’s plan, that total will probably go up.

Furthermore, the voucher system that Forest is championing is considered the least transparent in the entire country.

Duke study

There has been no valid method developed to show how effective vouchers have been in raising student achievement. Even the now famous NC State Study that many like PEFNC have pointed to in order to validate a shallow narrative concluded that the Opportunity Grants were intentionally nontransparent.

From  WUNC :

study

That sample they used? Over half were from established Catholic schools in NC which represent in reality a very small percentage of the voucher recipient pool. In fact, that study has been attacked so much from non-academics and academics alike that it begs to ask why it was done in the first place. That’s how many holes it has.

But Forest wants to give every student in NC a voucher to attend a private school. And as a member of the State Board of Education and a champion of school choice in NC for years, he knows damn well that most vouchers go to religious schools.

The quote below was spoken by the presumptive gubernatorial nominee for the Republican Party in NC’s 2020 election cycle at a church service over the summer. And just like others have done in the recent past, the use of a pulpit to campaign in even the most veiled of ways is not beyond Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. He has not been shy about his faith, and he has not been shy about mixing it with politics.

“No other nation, my friends, has ever survived the diversity and multiculturalism that America faces today, because of a lack of assimilation, because of this division, and because of this identity politics. But no other nation has ever been founded on the principles of Jesus Christ, that begin the redemption and reconciliation through the atoning blood of our savior.” – Lt. Gov. Dan Forest

Look at that word choice.

  • “Surviving diversity?”
  • “Surviving multiculturalism?”
  • “Lack of assimilation?”
  • “Identity politics?”

And look at the video.

 

How can that not be taken as an “us/ them” statement that screams opposition and “otherness?” How can that not be taken as a denouncement of our diverse society? How can that not be taken as an attack on those who are not white and Christian?

It’s rather appropriate that our “founding fathers” made sure in the Constitution to separate church and state and literally in the same breath established the freedom of the press.

And Forest should not forget that those people who founded the nation were hell-bent on not even approaching the slavery issue. In fact, it was agreed by the “founding fathers” that the issue of slavery was not to be dealt with for years to come.

The fact that Dan Forest wants to extend a program that has almost been used exclusively to send students to nontransparent religious schools to every student in the state can not simply be summed up as school choice.

It’s mixing church and state on a large scale using tax payer dollars of which none come from churches as they are already tax-exempt.

Reminds this English teacher of a time when there was no separation of church and state.

Image result for the crucible

Wonder if Forest has ever read this play.

 

 

Lawmakers Who Fully Fund Themselves But Not The Public Education System

The following is from StrongerNC:

The North Carolina Constitution addresses a right to education in two places:  

  • Article I, Section 15 says: “The people have a right to the privilege of education, and it is the duty of the State to guard and maintain that right.”  
  • Article IX: Education, has ten Sections. Of note is Section 2 which addresses the duty of the state and local government to provide a uniform system of free public schools “…wherein equal opportunities shall be provided for all students.”

There are also state laws that make education a right in North Carolina. One of them is N.C.G.S. 115C-1, which says:

“A general and uniform system of free public schools shall be provided throughout the State, wherein equal opportunities shall be provided for all students, in accordance with the provisions of Article IX of the Constitution of North Carolina…”

These provisions were tested in court when families from low wealth rural school districts sued the state for not providing an adequate education as required by the state Constitution (Leandro vs State). In 1997, the NC Supreme Court found in favor of the plaintiffs, yet to this date the state has been unable to remedy the situation after two decades of trying to figure out how to provide an equitable and adequate education, regardless of zip code.

Some progress was finally made in 2018, when Superior Court Judge David Lee appointed an education based non-profit firm, West Ed, to conduct a study and produce a comprehensive report with strategies for implementation by March 31, 2019. It would focus on three elements:

  1. Qualified Teachers
  2. Experienced Leaders
  3. Adequate Resources

Wendy Lecker, an attorney at the Education Law Center writes:

“In recent years, North Carolina public schools have experienced reductions in education funding, which, in turn, have triggered cuts in essential resources, including teachers, support staff and programs, especially in schools serving high concentrations of low-income students and students at risk of academic failure…”

Remember that the Leandro case documents are still under sealed orders but they may  be released in the future.

Consider that we as a state still spend less on per pupil expenditures when adjusted for inflation than we did before the Great Recession.

Consider that many of the lawmakers in this state make sure that they are fully funded.

From WRAL on November 6, 2019:

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger ‘s political campaign is buying him a home in Raleigh, and the State Board of Elections told him that’s allowed under North Carolina campaign finance law.

Berger’s campaign has paid at least $55,000 since August 2016 to a company he created, YPD Properties LLC. YPD is a property management company, and it appears to be a pass-through entity for campaign rent payments that ultimately pay the mortgage for a townhouse near downtown that Berger, R-Rockingham, and his wife bought in May 2016.

And from WRAL on October 9, 2019:

A powerful state legislator borrowed half a million dollars last year from a man later indicted and accused of trying to bribe another state official.

House Rules Chairman David Lewis said his farm in Harnett County needed help, and he turned to a friend and fellow farmer, John Gray. Gray loaned him $500,000 in June 2018 for what was supposed to be four months.

Deeds of trust filed in the deal show that Lewis and his wife, along with their farm and property company, put up land in four North Carolina counties as collateral. The loan has not been repaid, and Gray has not foreclosed on the properties as the deeds indicate he could.

According to both Lewis and Berger, what they have done to make themselves “fully funded” is completely legal.

Making sure that public schools are fully funded is mandated by the very state constitution that these two lawmakers are sworn to uphold.

But both have been more than willing to prolong the summer session of the NCGA while keeping teachers and education hostage just to see if they can get a veto override vote without everyone present.

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When Those Who Shun Democracy Also Legislate Our Public Schools – The Video All North Carolinians Should See

You want to know why the North Carolina General Assembly is so dysfunctional?

Just look at the video below.

And the older man who speaks in response is Sen. Jerry Tillman.

Many public education advocates know Tillman. But for those who do not:

Sen. Jerry Tillman is a former teacher, coach, and administrator in public schools who retired long ago. Now is he one of the biggest champions of reforming the very public school system from which he gets his pension. Those reforms are not good for our public schools. They favor privatization and opaque transparency of charter schools.

He made that perfectly clear on Feb. 23rd, 2011, when he was shown on a video posted by Rob Schofield on the ncpolicywatch.org website fielding a question that expressed concern over whether lower-income kids could have equal chances to attend charter schools. His response was indicative of the exclusionary attitude he embraces.

Tillman said, “It’s certainly okay if they don’t go there [the charter school]. They can go to their public schools. They can get their free and reduced price lunch. And they can do that. But the charter school itself and the commission must decide what they can do and when they can do it financially. And that’s where we are now and that’s where we’re gonna’ be and I’m certainly for that.”

Tillman was also  a primary sponsor for the Voting Reform Act in the 2013-2014 sessions, leading the charge to fight non-existent voter fraud in our state by fast-tracking a voter ID law that was purposefully constructed to keep many people’s voices from being heard, especially minority and low-income citizens.

That version of the Voter ID law was ruled unconstitutional.

And unlike a good teacher or a servant of the public, Tillman’s manner of debating hotly contested issues around public schools is the antithesis of what we really need in Raleigh. If you read Sen. Tillman’s comments from the June 16th, 2016 report by Alex Granados in EdNC.org,  you will see the strong-arm method of debate that is often used by the senator when he senses that others disagree with him.

Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Buncombe, first said he wouldn’t vote for the bill because it didn’t extend to the way math is taught at the elementary school level, where he said damage was being done with the teaching methods currently being used.

“I’m not voting for this bill, because this bill doesn’t do enough,” he said.

Tillman fired back that if Apodaca wanted to be stuck with Common Core, not supporting his bill would make that happen.

“If you don’t like choice, and you want to be stuck with the June Atkinson/Bill Cobey Common Core, well that’s exactly what you’re going to get,” Tillman said.

June Atkinson is the state Superintendent, and Bill Cobey is the chair of the state Board of Education.

It seemed that according to Sen. Tillman,  Dr. Atkinson and Mr. Cobey invented Common Core.

That bill from 2016 concerning math tracks in high school would have required all high schools to offer two tracks of math  and presented an incredible challenge for schools to adequately teach those differing courses in high schools in such a quick amount of time – especially when the likes of Tillman keep funding from going to traditional public schools.

Sen. Tillman thought it could be done in the blink of an eye. He was quoted in an EdNC.org report,

“If you can teach math, your same certifications are required, same students, same allotment of teachers. Not gonna change,” he said.

Tillman said the practical aspect of teaching could be accomplished by having a teacher teach Algebra I alongside Math 1 in the same class.

“With a good teacher, you can do it,” he said.

That’s shortsighted.

Remember House Bill 334 from the summer of 2015? As reported on July 23rd of that summer in Lindsay Wagner’s news story entitled “Tillman’s bill impacts charter school oversight”, Tillman championed an amendment to that bill to place oversight of charter schools under the care of the State Board of Education and out of the Department of Public Instruction’s jurisdiction. That was when Dr. June Atkinson was the state superintendent. She would have made sure that charters would be overseen as much as possible. Today’s state super is not as keen on that transparency.

What House Bill 334 would have done was to allot more money on charters by creating a situation where Tillman could have protected them from checks and balances. It was a way for Tillman to fashion a favorable situation for new charter schools to not only operate more freely, but be less transparent.

Ms. Wagner also detailed the abrupt manner in which you fielded questions from other legislators who were concerned with the surreptitious manner in which you operated. You made ludicrous statements such as:

  • · “DPI was never in love … with charter .”
  • · “I’m not going to give you the details. A good lawyer would never do that.”
  • · “We don’t air dirty laundry here.”

 The person he was talking to? Josh Stein, the current NC Attorney General. He’s considered a good lawyer.

Tillman’s bills and lawmaking have also enabled measures to allow for school takeovers by private entities. Billy Ball reported in his article on NC Policy Watch on June 24, 2016 (“Senate committee approves controversial charter takeover of low-performing schools”),

“Committee Chair Jerry Tillman, a Republican who supports the measure, declared the “ayes” to have won the vote Friday, although to some listeners, the voice vote appeared to be evenly split or favoring the opposition.“

Tillman was going to make sure it would pass. That’s why there was a voice vote. And the oldest ears in the room declared a winner.

The measure being voted upon? The ASD which became the Innovative School District.

And then there’s Tillman’s steadfast allegiance to the virtual charter schools. The following is a tweet from T. Keung Hui today:

tillman1.PNG

That’s delusional.

And Sen. Tillman co-chairs the Education Appropriations Committee for the NC General Assembly.

This man is not the legislator public schools deserve.

What Happened In Virginia

From CNN:

“Democrats cemented a new reality in Virginia on Tuesday: For decades a Republican stronghold, and then a swing state, the commonwealth is now controlled by Democrats.
The party won majorities in Virginia’s House and Senate, gaining full control of the state government for the first time in two decades.”

From WTOP.com in Virginia:

Democratic leader Sen. Dick Saslaw cited gun control, affordable health care and public education funding as key issues. “After years of Republican inaction, we are ready to get to work.”

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These General Assembly elections will be the only ones conducted using the district maps chosen by a panel of federal judges in January, after ruling last year that lawmakers had racially gerrymandered 11 House districts by packing black voters into them.

Ten years ago, Virginia had a majority in their state legislation that looked much like what North Carolina has now. That will no longer be the case.

Citing the need to fund schools fully, raise minimum wages, and overcoming racially gerrymandered districts, voters changed the political landscape of Virginia.

It now politically looks like what North Carolina could look like in 2020.

Image result for virginia north carolina map border

Election Day in 2020 is less than a year away. Go vote.