Consider the following tweet:
Jennifer Berkshire is a well-known education blogger. Her tweet refers to a recent post on Valerie Strauss’s well-known education blog for the Washington Post called “The Answer Sheet.” That post, entitled “Many public schools never recovered from the Great Recession. The coronavirus could spark a new education crisis,” includes this graphic – one which has been shared many times on this blog.
North Carolina never fully came back to pre-recession levels of funding when adjusted for inflation. It’s now 2020. If unemployment claims and financial market drops are any indication, what we are experiencing now might make the effects of The Great Recession seem less catastrophic.
The events that occurred in 2008 and the following years helped to bring people like Phil Berger and Tim Moore to power in the North Carolina along with the election of Pat McCrory as governor. As a group, they and their cronies began to institute “reforms” into public education without fear of reprisal. THEY USED THE RECESSION AS AN EXCUSE TO PUSH THROUGH THOSE REFORMS.
Those reforms turned a once progressive state system of public education into one of regression. Eliminating longevity pay, taking away graduate degree pay and career status from newer teachers, revamping the salary scales, and cutting teacher assistants were just a few of the actions taken to “reform” public education.
What Berger and others also started a decade ago and continue to champion today has made North Carolina the literal working laboratory for ALEC-inspired reforms that are targeting the vitality of public schools and enabling a variety of privatization initiatives that are padding the pockets of many at the expense of taxpayers.
In fact, in under a decade, NC has become the nation’s Petri Dish for harmful educational reforms.
Add some gerrymandering and voter restriction attempts and you can see how much they want to hold on to what power they have.
And now there is the corona-virus epidemic that could lead to a situation where Berger & Co. could hurt public education even more. They can look at public education as the first places to make cuts and that graphic above showed how bad the 2008 recession was.
Remember THEY USED THE 2008 RECESSION AS AN EXCUSE TO PUSH THROUGH THOSE REFORMS. Imagine what could happen in this current situation.
So what do we do?
Vote for pro-public education candidates in November. That’s a great start.