NC taxpayers subsidize discrimination

In addition to keeping the salaries of for-profit charter school employees secret, the NCGA's charter school bill allows discrimination against LGBT students.

Back in June, after a two-day battle over amendments that would have banned charter schools from discriminating against students on the basis of sexual orientation, House Republicans advanced a compromise provision that said "charter schools shall not discriminate against any student with respect to any category protected under the United States Constitution or under federal law applicable to the states."

That amendment was added to the bill on a 115-0 vote.

But when the measure went to conference committee for a compromise deal, Senate negotiators successfully pushed to have the clause removed.

Rep. John [sic] Hardister, R-Guilford, the lead House negotiator, said he agreed to the change out of concern that "it could have broad effect." Asked for clarification, he couldn't explain further.

Allow me to clarify on Jon's behalf: Powerful bigots told him the clause was coming out, and Jon caved because he wants to build up brownie points in a quest to get some of that power for himself.

Rep. David Lewis assured everyone that discrimination wasn't allowed, while he knew full well that the bill allows discrimination.

Reiterating his opposition to any kind of discrimination, Lewis answered, "This bill is not the vehicle to try to start to enumerate different classes of people. This bill treats everyone the same. Everyone who wants to go to a charter school is allowed to go – period."

The trouble with David's lie is that it's a lie.

"A principal can say, 'We’re not taking LGBT students,'" [Rep. Marcus] Brandon said. "That same principal could not get up and say, 'I’m not taking black students.' That would be illegal. But he can get up and say, 'We’re not taking gay students.'

"We have protections for every child except an LGBT child," he continued. "It is not in the language, and if it’s not in the language, anybody can do it."

Bigotry and lies wins the day. Again.

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About that charter school secrecy

The other big problem with the charter school bill is that it allows some for-profit charter school employee salaries, paid with public money, to remain secret.

However, [Rep. Tricia] Cotham said, school leaders at for-profit charters are usually employed by the EMO, not the school or the board, so they would not be subject to disclosure requirements.

For example, she said, a principal could hire a spouse into the EMO for a non-teaching position for which he or she isn't qualified and pay him or her any amount of taxpayer money. None of it would be public information, even though it's public money.

Why would anyone want this? Well, it turns out one charter school profiteer has made $16M at the public trough and he has been pushing hard to keep salaries secret.

And that same charter school profiteer donated $4,000 to Sen. Jerry Tillman's campaign.

And Tillman is credited with inserting the salary secrecy language into the charter school bill.

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014