Republican attack on public schools

Dan Forest blabbers on about God and morality at Christian school

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Oh where did I put those anti-nausea pills?

“So when you go off the college and a professor immediately confronts you with this idea about God and says to you ‘God does not exist. Prove that he exists.’ And the first response from any student is to go ‘Well, I don’t know how to prove that, so God must not exist, so I’m just going to be quiet and go over into the corner and I will allow this professor to say whatever he wants,’” Forest said. “You need to be able to stand up in that class and say ‘Professor, you prove that God doesn’t exist.’”

Forest said college professors and “everybody else in the world” is trying to put the burden of proof on the students for their beliefs and “you need to be able to defend what you need to defend.”

Okay, aside from the fact the vast majority of professors don't and wouldn't confront a student in such a fashion, and that whole meme is straight out of a demented pastor's sermon, that is not how science works. At all. And that's not how education, especially higher education, works either. The goal is to jumpstart the critical thinking skills of students, not reinforce the idea they already know everything they need to know. But the most telling aspect of Forest's mind-numbing address to students is about government:

Blistering analysis of the GOP Legislature's failure to address school shootings

Talk about an exercise in futility:

Consider Recommendation 2, which urges a civics curriculum in each grade that focuses on citizenship, courtesy, and deference to school administrators. Of course, nothing is inherently objectionable about civic responsibility. But emphasizing it in a report ostensibly about school safety, in a year in which so many students died from gun violence, is a slap in the face to the teachers, students, and parents across the state who have demanded and deserve serious-minded solutions.

Most troubling of all is Recommendation 3, which urges legislation requiring that students receive first-aid instruction “on the immediate response to bleeding, how to recognize life threatening bleeding, and appropriate ways to stop the bleeding.” Tying tourniquets and applying quick clot bandages: no longer, apparently, the exclusive province of paramedics and other first responders, but tasks kindergartners must master.

What about triage? At least two (2) children in each class should be well-versed in what constitutes a fatal injury, so they can use a red Sharpie and put an "X" on the foreheads of any classmates that can't be saved. Yes, I'm being facetious, but that still shows a higher level of respect than this "report" deserves:

Stark evidence that private/charter schools are bringing back segregation

The numbers don't lie:

In 1988, enrollment figures for Wilson County Schools showed 52 percent non-white students and 48 percent white. Today, a breakdown of Wilson County Schools’ 11,164 students shows the student population is 44 percent black, 30 percent white, 20 percent Hispanic, 1.4 percent Asian and 4.6 percent other race.

According to PrivateSchoolReview.com, Wilson area private schools have a lower percentage of students of color. The site notes that Greenfield School has 11 percent students of color, Community Christian School has 17 percent students of color, Wilson Christian Academy has 5 percent students of color and Garnett Christian Academy has 11 percent students of color.

Bolding mine, because a shift of that magnitude over a thirty year period doesn't happen by accident. That's what providing "choice" to parents will accomplish; the choice to avoid black people. Let's roll back the clock a little bit to see why this is so important in Wilson County:

Veto S469, Municipal Charter School pension access

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Segregation then, segregation now, segregation forever:

A law that allows for town-run charter schools in four Charlotte suburbs has been criticized because it could lead to more racially segregated schools in that area. Now, a bill to offer state pensions to teachers at those proposed schools could make it easier for the model to spread to more cities. That bill (S469) is on the governor’s desk awaiting veto or signature.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has publicly opposed the technical corrections bill passed last week that would allow municipal charter schools to offer state benefits to their employees. “Prior to this technical corrections bill, the functional reality is, these schools weren’t going to start,” said Charles Jeter, legislative liaison for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

The whole idea of municipal charters is insane, but allowing them to participate in the state's pension system is even crazier. Why? Because it makes us all complicit in the re-segregation of schools. First of all, municipalities have the ability/authority to refuse incorporation of poor and (quite often) African-American communities, basically blocking those black students from attending the new schools. And throwing the pension in there will no doubt draw many good teachers away from county schools and into the same white incubator. But that's not all this particular bill would do. It's a "technical corrections" bill (see omnibus), which would also give $8,000 vouchers to disabled students attending private schools:

NC GOP's school safety plan fails to mention firearms

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The first rule of Gun Club: You don't talk about Gun Club:

It is a stark reality when your General Assembly feels it necessary for all public school students to learn how to control bleeding in order to keep schools safe. It is even more stark when, even though it isn’t explicitly said, that bleeding is likely to come from a gunshot wound. But here we are.

The House Select Committee on School Safety approved its report to the full General Assembly, along with draft legislation, Thursday, and without talking about guns, it ends up being all about them.

The really sad (and disgusting) thing is, the main reason NC Republicans refuse to discuss guns, even when it comes to school shootings, is because they're afraid of gun nuts like Paul Valone of GRNC. They're afraid they will be a target in the GOP Primary, which for many of these gerrymandered empty suits is the only electoral danger they face. They would rather do nothing of substance than risk popping up on the radar of these groups, which makes them complicit in whatever future school shootings occur. And it's doubtful if the gun debate will even happen in the near future:

Charter school foxes in the public school henhouse

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Mark Johnson has just proven he's nothing but a shill:

Johnson touted Maimone’s background with the charter school in his announcement Friday, pointing out that he led the school as it grew from 110 students in grades 7-9 in 1999 to about 1,300 students in grades K-12 today. The superintendent’s announcement said students “thrived” at Maimone’s school.

The charter earned a “B” performance grade and did not meet growth expectations on its 2016-2017 assessments, according to the most recent state report available. The school serves a decidedly different population than many typical public schools, however, with just 7.5 percent of its students considered “economically disadvantaged.” Traditional school supporters have often pointed out that the state’s growing charter sector serves a more affluent population.

Aside from being completely in the thrall of the school choice crowd, Johnson may have just hired somebody who's keeping a dark secret:

Private school vouchers lead to lower math scores, even four years later

Not the kind of "choice" parents were hoping for:

In math, the results, which focus on grades five through eight, are consistently negative. Even four years into the program, students who use a voucher had lower test scores than public school students. In English, there were no clear effects. Here, there was some evidence that voucher students improved over time, though there were no statistically significant positive effects after four years.

The results, published this week in the peer-reviewed Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, are largely in line with an earlier version of the same study — with a key exception. The first paper suggested that declines in math disappeared for students who used a voucher for multiple years. The latest version finds that the negative effects seem to persist for at least four years.

No doubt Civitas and/or John Hood will quickly dredge up some study they can cherry-pick to refute these findings, but it's becoming more clear every day that both parents and lawmakers have been hoodwinked. We've gone from better than to just as good as to considerably worse than public schools, but the private school cheerleaders in Raleigh still want to shift more public education dollars into the gaping maw of this black hole. And the only possible explanations left for that continued support are 1) Racial segregation revival and 2) Misappropriation of taxpayer dollars. And as for "why" parents would continue to pursue this apparently substandard education for their kids, don't discount the power of bigotry:

Introducing Kristen Powers for Alamance County Commissioner

"After Charlottesville, some of the Alamance County commissioners made comments so hurtful to people of color that my black friends refused to come back to that building. It may have been the comment that somebody’s family slaves were considered workers or perhaps the part where a commissioner was willing to spend money rebuilding a torn down statue instead of allocating funds to repair deteriorated rooftops on schools. In North Carolina, the county commissioner is powerful. Unfortunately, in Alamance County, there are only a few who are using that power for good. When I saw that one of them was essentially running unopposed, I decided that I had to step in."

Editor's note: Kristen is a friend, but she's also *exactly* what is needed on our County Commission these days. She's not only intelligent, but she puts that intelligence to work for the good of all people, especially those who need it the most, in her work for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. Here's more about her decision to run:

School uniforms required after forced privatization of Ashpole Elementary

Because apparently "choice" is only an option for parents and not students:

Eric Hall, Superintendent for the ISD, added, “In addition to fostering a sense of community and school spirit, student uniforms will help make mornings easier for families by eliminating discussions about what to wear from morning routines; relieve school staff from administering school dress codes, reduce the potential for teasing with regards to a student’s attire, and they’re economical.”

Wait, I thought charter schools were supposed to be an incubator for creative thought, a radical shift away from the "conformity" of the factory-styled public school model, a monument to freedom of thought, a paradigmatic shift...You're right, I'm being facetious. The school choice movement has nothing to do with innovation, and everything to do with social engineering and money-making. Expecting them to operate in the way they've promised in order to sell their destructive policies is an exercise in futility. Also, we'll see how "economical" those uniforms are going down the road. Parents will be buying replacements before Halloween rolls around.

Justin Burr wants to track what films were shown in schools

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We'll have to be more careful with our Liberal Socialist Indoctrination Program (LSIP):

AN ACT TO REQUIRE LOCAL BOARDS OF EDUCATION TO REPORT MOVIES SHOWN IN SCHOOLS DURING INSTRUCTIONAL TIME.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts: SECTION 1.(a) Each local board of education and each charter school shall report in writing to the Superintendent of Public Instruction by September 1, 2018, on each movie shown during instructional time at each school in the local school administrative unit or at each charter school during the 2017-2018 school year in the months of November, December, January, April, May, and June.

SECTION 2. There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Public Instruction the sum of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) in nonrecurring funds for the 2018-2019 fiscal year to provide for collection and summarization of data in accordance with this act.

If you're wondering about those dates, join the club. This bill was filed three days ago, but it seeks data from the previous school year. Data that was not (previously) required of teachers to compile. Yes, most of those teachers could probably tell you exactly what was taught on a specific day by perusing their schedules, and could probably tell you off the top of their heads what films were shown. But the timing of this tells me Justin Burr has a burr up his butt about something. Like, some irate evangelical parent told him about some evil film that was shown (Evolution!), and he's on a crusade to root out that evil. Whatever the case, get a life, dude. Are you upset you couldn't punish judges all across the state, so now you're going after teachers? I'll take that silence as a "yes."

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