Just what the GOP ordered

It's not the best of times at Elizabeth City State University. Enrollment is down, funding is down and they're considering dropping some academic major programs.

This is just what the GOP wants to see, and what they've been trying to bring about.

First, academic major programs likely to end up on the chopping block often are liberal arts foundation programs. History is one such program mentioned for ECSU.

[Jacquelyn Dowd] Hall, the UNC-CH historian, speculated that doing away with foundational liberal arts programs “is a way of pushing Elizabeth City more and more into a very narrow vocational niche.”

Tata's DOT sends out alert on "women drivers" and "Obamacare"

The McCrory administration's inept hiring practices continue:

"Women drivers, rain and Obama care" were causing problems on the beltline Wednesday afternoon, according to a traffic alert from the North Carolina Department of Transportation. "Stay home," the alert advised.

"The individual violated procedures by failing to turn off the external feed while testing and for the inappropriate test message content. The contractor was let go immediately for this action," DOT officials said in a statement.

It was a stupid mistake, but what's even more stupid is the idea of making emergency messages like this automated in the first place. Road conditions change continually, and an incorrect message can cause more problems (and danger) than no message at all. A labor-saving system isn't "efficient" if it can't do the job properly.

Private school voucher proponents engage in direct mail recruiting

Next they'll be trolling the playgrounds with an ice cream truck:

Cards with pictures of smiling blond children point parents to a website to see if they qualify for “Opportunity Scholarships,” which provide taxpayer dollars for private school tuition. The personalized mailers address the recipient by first name, adding, “our state now provides money for private school. Now YOU have a choice!”

The mailers are paid for by Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, a school choice group. Darrell Allison, president, declined to disclose how many cards went out or how much the group paid for the marketing campaign. He said the goal is to give parents accurate information about “quality” school choice.

I'm more interested in where the money came from to finance said marketing campaign. Time to get out the shovel and do some digging...

McCrory tries to deflect blame for teacher unrest

In his usual bumbling, grammatically incorrect fashion:

McCrory referred to the morale problem as "a cloud that’s been hanging over the state, especially during the past five years, where many of these problems have been swept under the rug and not addressed. And I’m now the governor who needs to address them."

"These issues have not been – they didn’t just come up during the past nine months," McCrory reiterated. "They’ve been problems that we’ve kind of ignored during the past five years. It’s time we address them and address them head on, and get input from many of the different aspects of education that need to be listened to, including teachers."

While the word "aspect" is nominally a noun, it's not an entity that can give you input, such as a "stakeholder" or even an "element" could. And even if an aspect could give input, it would be visual in nature (angle of observation), and it wouldn't make a sound that could be "listened to." *sigh* I know it may seem I'm being overly sensitive about McCrory's verbal skills, but the job is kind of important. And having a moderate grasp of the English language shouldn't be too much to ask. As to what he was probably trying to say:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Just as state-level politics can have more of a direct impact on your lives than national, municipal elections can also result in changes that affect you. Check it out, and then make your voice heard in the voting booth.

Wetlands under attack by out-of-state ag business

Sowing the seeds of ecosystem degradation:

The 4,658-acre tract is owned by Spring Creek Farms LLC, which is registered in Illinois, according to Pamlico County tax records. About 250 acres on the south side of State Road 1324 have been cleared, a fact acknowledged last month by Abel Harmon of Hydeland Construction & Consulting in Swanquarter, who is working on the project. Farming could begin any time after the land clearing is completed, Harmon said in late September.

Not only do these wetlands provide a habitat for a wide range of local and migrating species, they also serve as a natural water filter to absorb toxins and nutrients. By turning these wetlands into agricultural tracts, you're taking away that filter and introducing even more toxins and nutrients via pesticides and fertilizers. Not good, to say the least. What's even more frustrating about this issue is the fact that once you've drained the wetlands, DENR no longer considers them wetlands anymore, and refuses to take action:

Warning from a North Carolina teacher: the exodus has already begun

Fix the problem now, before it's too late:

After one year in North Carolina she was offered a $7,000 a year raise to teach at the private school she attended as a child. Her compensation included the tuition to pursue her master’s degree. She walked out in June of 2013 and didn’t come back. Last month, the chairman of the English department at a Charlotte high school left in the middle of the term. He is pursuing a career that will pay more money and provide more time to spend with his family. He walked out and is not coming back.

These are examples of teachers who cared deeply about their students. They also have a healthy dose of self-respect. They didn’t walk away for just one day, but for the rest of their careers. What will it take to bring them back?

It should be apparent to both teachers and parents that Republicans' claims of "reforming" schools is simply a ruse. A ruse to conceal their true intent, to destroy the public school system in North Carolina. Which makes these tactics more understandable, however reckless they are:

Public Schools First NC walks with teachers

Trying stop the GOP from eating our seed corn:

Far from tweaking the teacher evaluation process, current legislation takes away an educator’s career status – turning our teachers into temporary, year-to-year contractors without protection for retaliatory or arbitrary firing. Forcing teachers on contracts will eventually lead to legal issues, lower teacher morale and their continued exodus out of public schools.

The elimination of additional pay for earning advanced degrees denies the value of continued professional development, which research ties to student achievement. Efforts to establish merit pay sets up competition with little financial reward and destroys the cooperation and teamwork that is the heart and soul of excellent teaching. Students benefit when teachers collaborate and share best practices with one another.

Divide and conquer is the standard operating procedure for the destroyers in the NC Republican Party. Tossing one piece of meat into a group of fifty starving dogs and betting on how many will survive the melee is the height of entertainment for people like this, but smart teachers know that meat is tainted.

GOP outreach to black voters: start out with lies, then work from there

A doctor should know better:

Fisher, during an interview this week, accused N.C. NAACP President William Barber of being inflammatory. “Some of the things he’s saying are not in the bill,” she said.

Fisher, who has long supported voter ID, said when one strips away the misconceptions and confusion, the measure simply ensures that only citizens vote.

“It is not a voter suppression effort in any respect. If it were something like that, I wouldn’t stand for it,” she said.

And if the bill was merely what you say it is, it wouldn't be 38 pages long. This kind of outright misleading rhetoric won't get very far with African-American voters, although it might be readily accepted by the readers of NC Renegade, of which Dr. Fisher is a frequent contributor. And yes, if you're a black woman wanting to be accepted on that site, you better know the magic anti-government incantations. Such as this one:

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