10 Years Of Deliberate Actions On Public Education – So How Many Vacancies Does You System Have?

Tomorrow is the first day of the month of August.

Athletic teams will be starting practices.

Teachers will be going back in a couple of weeks for preplanning.

Students will start class before September.

So, how many vacancies do you have in your school? Your system?

If it seems like a lot, remember that it is deliberate.

NC’s GOP Lawmakers Need To Openly Oppose Phil Berger For The Sake Of Public Schools

This week over 50 business leaders filed a statement urging the NC Supreme to back a judge’s order to fund the Leandro plan.

Here’s a link to that amicus brief.

And that’s good. But they could have done it earlier.

What’s even more egregious is that no lawmakers within Berger’s own political party have never raised voices in the public ear for the sake of public schools.

In the past ten years, Sen. Phil Berger has spearheaded as many attacks against public schools and the people who work in them as any lawmaker in the country.

1. Teacher Pay Kept Well Below National Average

2. Removal of Due-Process Rights 

3. Graduate Degree Pay Bumps Removed 

4. Retiree Health Benefits Removed For New Teachers

5. Push for Merit Pay and Bonus Pay 

6. Removal of Longevity Pay 

7. Health Insurance and Benefits 

8. Attacks on Teacher Advocacy Groups (NCAE) 

9. Reorganization and a Weakening of the Department of Public Instruction 

10. Less Money Spent per Pupil When Adjusted For Inflation

11. Remove Caps on Class Sizes 

12. School Grading System 

13. Cutting Teacher Assistants 

14. Read to Achieve 

15. Educational Savings Accounts 

16. Opportunity Grants 

17. Charter Schools 

18. Innovative School Districts 

19. Reduction of Teacher Candidates in Colleges 

20. Elimination & Reinventing of Teaching Fellows Program 

21. Frozen Salaries For Years 15-24

22. Ignorance of LEANDRO Decision

23. Budget Taking Three Years To Pass

Can’t remember when a lawmaker in the NC GOP publicly spoke against what Phil Berger has done to public education in North Carolina. And despite what they may claim in private, when they had a chance to publicly tell North Carolinians that they would work for public schools, they did not go against Senator Phil Berger.

On behalf of the kids.

That’s complicity.

Remember When The Lt. Gov. Of NC Created A Personal Finance Class Requirement? Well…

From 2019:

The NC Senate passed HB 924 by an overwhelming majority. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest in one of his rare statements about actual public education other than bathrooms and his love for charter schools tweeted the following:

forest1

Fast forward three years and the man sitting in the same office as Lt. Gov. and member of the State Board of Education…

From that WRAL.com report:

Maybe he was too busy still trying to find things that do not exist.

50 Business Leaders Support LEANDRO. It’s 2022. Where Was This Support In 2004? 1997? 1994?

Apparently, over 50 business leaders filed a statement urging the NC Supreme to back a judge’s order to fund the Leandro plan.

And that’s good.

Here’s a twitter feed from Keung Hui, the education reporter from the News & Observer.

Here’s a link to the amicus brief.

A list of the business leaders who signed is at the end of this post. And yes, this is a good move.

In an election year.

But in North Carolina, this lack of fully funding public education has been a decades long situation.

From the News & Observer this past spring:

Where was this amicus brief in 1994?

Where was this amicus brief in 1997?

Where was this amicus brief in 2004?

Where was this amicus brief in the 18 years since?

What has happened since then is the lowering of corporate taxes and the stagnation of per pupil expenditure. Lisa Godwin, an NC Teacher of the Year stated this:

It amazes me too. Especially the timing of this “advocacy” brief.

Here’s the list:

Adam Abram

Chairman, James River Group Holdings, Ltd.

Sepi Asefnia

President & CEO, Sepi Engineering, Inc.

Chair, NC Chamber

James Babb

Former President & CEO, Jefferson Pilot Communications

Rye Barcott

Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Double Time Capital

Ronald J. Bernstein

Retired CEO, Liggett Vector Brands

Crandall Bowles

Former Chair & CEO, Springs Industries

Erskine Bowles

Co-Founder, Carousel Capital

President Emeritus, University of North Carolina

Thomas W. Bradshaw, Jr.

Retired Managing Director, Citigroup

Former Chair, NC Citizens for Business & Industry (now NC Chamber)

Former Chair, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce

Former Chair, Public School Forum of North Carolina

John R. Bratton

Director, Wake Stone Corporation

Samuel T. Bratton

CEO and President, Wake Stone Corporation

Theodore D. Bratton

Chairman, Wake Stone Corporation

Jack Clayton

President of Business Strategy, TowneBank

Sue W. Cole

Managing Partner, Sage Leadership & Strategy, LLC

Former Mid-Atlantic CEO, U.S. Trust Company

Sandra Wilcox Conway

Former Manager, Excellence in Education, The First Union Foundation

Peter Conway

Founder (Retired), Trinity Partners

John Cooper

Chair, Mast General Store

Don Curtis

Founder & CEO, Curtis Media Group

Richard L. “Dick” Daugherty

Former Vice President & Senior North Carolina Executive, IBM

Former Chair, NC Citizens for Business & Industry (now NC Chamber)

Emeritus Board of Directors, Research Triangle Park

Charter Board of Directors, Public School Forum of North Carolina

Bert Davis

President, 95 Impact Capital, Inc.

James M. Deal, Jr.

Former Chair, Watauga County Board of Education

Former Chair, Watauga Board of County Commissioners

Former Chair, Board of Trustees, Appalachian State University

Clay Dunnagan

Founder and Manager, Anchor Capital

John Ellison, Jr.

President, The Ellison Company

Frank E. Emory Jr.

EVP, Chief Administrative Officer, Novant Health

Ken Eudy

Founder and Former CEO, Capstrat

Jim Fain

Retired Bank Executive

Former Secretary, North Carolina Department of Commerce

 Anthony Foxx

Former Mayor of Charlotte

Former US Transportation Secretary

Paul Fulton

Former President, Sara Lee Corporation

Former Dean, Kenan-Flagler Business School

Chairman Emeritus, Bassett Furniture Industries

Founder and Chair, Higher Education Works

Hannah Gage

Former Owner, Cape Fear Broadcasting Company

Former Chair, UNC Board of Governors

 Alston Gardner

Managing Director, DGI Capital, LLC

Patti Gillenwater

President and CEO, Elinvar Leadership Solutions

James F. Goodmon

Chair & CEO, Capitol Broadcasting Company

James and Ann Goodnight

SAS Institute

Greg Hatem

Founder & CEO, Empire Properties and Empire Eats

Barnes Hauptfuhrer

Former CEO, Chapter IV Investors, LLC

Former Co-Head, Corporate & Investment Banking, Wachovia Corp.

Melody Riley Johnson

Director, Strategic Accounts, Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices

Steven J. Levitas

Senior Vice President, Pinegate Renewables

Elizabeth Martin

Producer, Wild Violet Media, LLC

Easter A. Maynard

Board Chair, Golden Corral Corporation

James H. Maynard

Board Chair/Founder, Investors Management Corporation

Founder, Golden Corral Corporation

Hugh L. McColl, Jr.

Former Chair & CEO, Bank of America

Dr. Bill McNeal

 Author (with Tom Oxholm):

 A School District’s Journey to Excellence:

Lessons From Business and Education

Former Superintendent, Wake County Schools

National Superintendent of the Year

Carlton Midyette

 Venture Capital Investor

Thomas B. Oxholm

Executive Vice President, Wake Stone Corporation

Former member, Wake County Board of Education

 Author (with Dr. Bill McNeal):

 A School District’s Journey to Excellence:

Lessons From Business and Education

Roger Perry

Chairman, East West Partners Club Management

Orage Quarles, III

Former President & Publisher, The News & Observer

Co-Founder, Journalism Funding Project

Thomas W. Ross

Chairman of the Board, Bausch & Lomb Company

Director, Bausch Health Companies

President Emeritus, University of North Carolina

Retired Superior Court Judge

Thomas R. Sloan

Founder, Sloan Capital Company

Gordon Smith III

Retired Investment Advisor

Founder and CEO, Wood Pile LLC

Sherwood Smith

Former Chair, NC Citizens for Business & Industry (now NC Chamber)

Former Chair, Triangle Universities Center for Advanced Studies, RTP

Charter Board Member, Public School Forum of North Carolina

Norris Tolson

Retired Business Executive

CEO & President, Carolinas Gateway Partnership

Former CEO, North Carolina Biotechnology Center

Former Secretary, NC Departments of Commerce, Revenue, and

Transportation

Richard Urquhart

Retired Vice President, Investors Management Corporation

J. Bradley Wilson

President & CEO Emeritus, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina

Former Chair, UNC Board of Governors

David Woronoff

President, The (Southern Pines) Pilot and Business North Carolina

Magazine

Smedes York

Chair, York Properties

Former Mayor, City of Raleigh

SAS & EVAAS Are All About The Money. They Should Be Called $A$ and EVAA$.

From Justin Parmenter today (@justinparmenter) continuing to shed light on this toxic merit pay proposal:

This is part of that email.

Look a little at how much SAS is entrenched into the workings of DPI and how it helps to market itself behind closed doors.

But it’s what the public sees that is concerning because not everyone knows what happens behind the scenes.

Because it’s all about this:

“#MeritPayGate With A Side Of Menthol” Or “Why Does DPI Need A PR Firm To Sell A Proposal?” Either Way, “It Ain’t Kool.”

This week’s episode of Mountain Philosopher further explores the faulty licensure / teacher pay proposal by DPI and the Human Capital Roundtable. John deVille interviews Justin Parmenter, whose work in digging through communications by all parties has exposed what has become another stain in the attack against public school teachers.

Earlier in the day deVille released this graphic highlighting the role that PR Firm Eckel & Vaughan have played in helping to market this merit pay scheme for teachers.

Not ironically, they also were hired to help lobby the FDA to not ban the use of menthol in cigarettes marketed specifically to the African American community.

Parmenter released a communication chain on his Twitter account (@JustinParmenter) today that also highlighted Eckel & Vaughan (EV).

In fact, read that whole thread and his recent posts on his blog Notes From the Chalkboard.

It seems odd on the surface that DPI would need a public relations firm to sell a surreptitiously crafted merit pay scheme and licensure plan to both the NC General Assembly and a state that has about 100,000 classroom teacher positions.

But then again, maybe not. The relationship that State Superintendent Catherine Truitt has decided to have with teachers in this state is a one-sided toxic relationship where she takes and never gives. Her loyalties lie with the powers that be in the NCGA and with her top donors and enablers.

If you look into Parmenter’s thread there is reference to NCAE, the largest teacher advocacy organization in the state.

Never has Truitt even engaged in talking with NCAE or seeking input from them. In fact, Truitt does not seek input from teachers in a substantial manner. Questionnaires with prepared answers and no room for giving thoughts and rehearsed “discussions” in select venues are the extent of her engagement.

That’s why this plan absolutely “ain’t Kool.”

Simply Put, This NCGA Does Not Want Veteran Public School Teachers

What a veteran teacher received ten years ago compared to what a veteran teacher who would start a career in NC today is quite startling.

Not only is there a significant loss in projected income but ramifications on being able to get health care after retirement and not having to fear reprisal in standing up for students and schools in advocating.

Specifically there are four distinct actions taken to keep teachers in NC’s public schools from retiring as teachers in public schools.

Removal of due-process rights. At one time the NC General Assembly took away due-process rights for all teachers. It was ruled unconstitutional by the court system in the case for those veteran teachers who already got those rights when they became fully certified. However, newer teachers in the profession will not get due-process rights in North Carolina. That will surely inhibit those teachers from advocating loudly for schools in the future for fear of reprisal.

Graduate Degree Pay Bumps Removed – Because advanced degree pay is abolished, many potential teachers will never enter the field because that is the only way to receive a sizable salary increase to help raise a family or afford to stay in the profession. It also cripples graduate programs in the state university system because obtaining a graduate degree for new teachers would place not only more debt on teachers, but there is no monetary reward to actually getting it.

Longevity Pay – In the long session of 2014, the NC General Assembly raised salaries for teachers in certain experience brackets that allowed them to say that an “average” salary for teachers was increased by over 7%. They called it a “historic raise.” However, if you divided the amount of money used in these “historic” raises by the number of teachers who “received” them, it would probably amount to about $270 per teacher.That historic raise was funded in part by eliminating teachers’ longevity pay. Similar to an annual bonus, this is something that all state employees in North Carolina — except, now, for teachers — gain as a reward for continued service. The budget rolled that money into teachers’ salaries and labeled it as a raise. That’s like me stealing money out of your wallet and then presenting it to you as a gift.

Retiree Health Benefits – If you are hired as a new teacher after 2020 is over, you will not have something that teachers hired before 2021 have: retiree health benefits. A 2020 report in the News & Observer explains that the budget set forth in 2017’s long session of the NCGA did away with retiree health benefits for hires on and after January 1, 2021 to “save money.”

No wonder NC has a teacher shortage and a teacher candidate shortage.

Don’t Like The State Of Public Education? Don’t Look At Teachers; Look At Who “Legislates” Them.

Teachers did not institute school performance grades that measure achievement on standardized test scores heavily over student growth. The North Carolina General Assembly did.

Teachers did not remove longevity pay, graduate degree pay, due-process rights, and retiree health benefits. The North Carolina General Assembly did.

Teachers did not create a non-transparent voucher system, rampant charter school growth, and opaque ESAs. The North Carolina General Assembly did.

Teachers did not make a salary schedule the freezes pay for teachers in the years 15-24. The North Carolina General Assembly did.

Teachers did not take away almost 7500 teacher assistant positions, increase class sizes, or institute the use of EVAAS. The North Carolina General Assembly did.

Teachers did not underfund schools and cause many to work in old dilapidated school buildings. The North Carolina General Assembly did.

Teachers did not intentionally refuse to pass a new state budget for three years. The North Carolina General Assembly did.

Teachers did not brazenly ignore the findings of the LEANDRO court decision. The North Carolina General Assembly did.

Teachers did not create the vacancies that plague our public schools. The North Carolina General Assembly created the conditions that caused them.

Teachers did not create partisan school boards. The North Carolina General Assembly did.

Teachers did not create a false CRT scare. The North Carolina General Assembly and other lawmakers did.

Teachers did not create indoctrination witch hunts. The Lt. Gov. did and the NCGA stood behind him.

Teachers did not begin challenging and banning books. The NCGA is allowing for that to happen.

And teachers did not create COVID.

If you want to see what is really ailing our public schools, don’t look in classrooms. Look at what “legislates” public schools.

What is hurting our schools come from outside forces mostly housed in Raleigh.

But if you want to look at what is holding our schools together against the storm of attacks, then do look in those classrooms.

Students Have Been Watching How This State Treats Teachers For Years. No Wonder The Teacher Pipeline Is …

… drying up and losing numbers.

Unlike most parents of students, citizens who graduated decades ago, or taxpayers who never sent their children to public schools, the people who have gotten the most intimate view of how public school teachers in North Carolina have been really been (dis)respected by lawmakers are those students who matriculated in classrooms since 2010.

Especially any student who ever had an inkling that teaching might be the profession that he or she might want to pursue.

If any person feels the stress of having to see beloved teachers leave the classroom because lack of a competitive salary or professional respect, it is a student who is in our public school classroom right now.

This state is teaching our students from a very young age that being a teacher in North Carolina’s public schools is not a worthy calling to pursue despite what propagandized message lawmakers want to send.

Ask students how many of their teachers did not return to their schools the following year.

Ask students if they had more then one teacher for a single subject in a school year or a long-term sub.

Ask students if they ever felt like they were measured by a single test score and that their futures relied on that test score.

Ask students if they feel like a lack of support structures in their schools hurt their ability to learn.

Ask students if they felt like their classes were too big and didn’t have enough materials.

Ask students if they think being a teacher in a North Carolina public school pays enough.

Ask students if they think that being a teacher in a North Carolina public school offered respect.

Ask students if they have watched a school board meeting this past year.

Ask students if they ever wanted to be a teacher but saw how their teachers were treated and changed their minds.

This state says it is recruiting teachers and wanting to retain them.

In actuality, they have been discouraging public school students from becoming teachers for years.

House Bill 1173 – A Gerrymandered Power Grab To Avoid Honoring LEANDRO

Here is the link to House Bill 1173.

The text for the second addition is not long. Actually, it’s very straightforward.

Simply put, the bill will make the leader of the Department of Public Instruction also be the chair of the State Board of Education.

If this constitutional admendment passes in November, then it would bring to fruition a six year plan for an ultraconservative, privatizing segment of lawmakers to fully take over public education in North Carolina.

Look at this timeline.

In 2011 North Carolina got a super-majority in the NC General Assembly and the rise of Sen. Phil Berger as the most powerful lawmaker in the state. Then we got the removal of due-process rights, graduate degree pay bumps removed, less per-pupil expenditures, vouchers, unregulated charter school growth, school performance grading system, class size cap removed, etc.

And then came the 2016 election of Mark Johnson and a special session in late 2016. It was supposed to be for hurricane relief after another busy storm season.

It gave us HB17.

With the effects of House Bill 17 from the surreptitious special session of December in 2016, Mark Johnson became the most enabled incoming state superintendent in state history. He gained powers that even his predecessor did not possess one-half the magnitude of. Those powers still remain with the state super.

In 2018 DPI got reorganized. The State Board of Education got less control over the state’s public school system.

And Phil Berger got his puppet. Then it was Mark Johnson. Catherine Truitt is now the puppet.

Below is what DPI’s organizational chart was prior to the reorganization of 2018.

chart1

This is what it looks like now.

reorg.png

What that did was to replace the check and balance that the State Board provided against DPI with no check and balance. Now imagine when both the State Board and DPI are led by the same person who blatantly cowtows to the wishes of one Phil Berger, Tim Moore, and the powers in the NCGA.

The other part of HB1173 is “All non-ex officio members of the State Board of Education will be elected to
four-year terms from the State Congressional Districts.”

State Board members already come different regions in the state that they represent.

Now look at that time line above again, specifically 2016. This state is embroiled in trying to lawfully reset congressional district lines and keep them from being unlawfully gerrymandered. This NCGAS is not good at that. In fact, they have been stopped in court at trying to draw lines based on racial makeup of districts.

This state has more registered democrats than republicans but the way that the maps are currently drawn skew heavily toward the party with fewer registered voters.

What HB1173 would do is allow for the State Board of Education to have its ex-officio members be elected with gerrymandered congressional maps and then serve on a board that caters specifically to the people who drew those gerrymandered maps in the first place. That board would then be controlled by a person who controls DPI and is loyal to those same gerrymandering people.

It doesn’t end there. Look who the primary spnsors of the bill are.

Specifically the names of John Torbett and Hugh Blackwell

Funny that the same governing body that is moving this bill through the current session also had a committee put together to “reimagine” what public education in NC should be in response to the LEANDRO decision that so many in Raleigh refuse to acknowledge. Like Berger. Like Tim Moore. Like Catherine Truitt.

Look who the chairs of the committee are.

It’s part of a powergrab. Pure and simple.

That constitutional amendment should be struck down in November.

Pure and simple.

For the sake of LEANDRO.