Dueling editorials on the GOP's education policies

Fact and propaganda are the weapons of choice:

With close to the lowest pay in the nation, no money for advanced degrees and 75 percent of teachers operating with less than two years of job security, why would they remain in the profession? Again, the question begs to be asked, do we value the profession of teaching? What is the message we are sending to our teachers, including those who might consider moving here?

It's not just the teachers being disregarded, it's the bulk of the information they are trying to impart on their students. From history to science, and all points in between, that information doesn't fit the narrative that Republicans want people to work from. And a well-educated populace is far less likely to swallow the propaganda they throw out:

There are some dishonest but powerful special interests in Raleigh who are forgetting what our public schools are all about. Instead of focusing on the kids, they’re focusing on one thing: money for their union members.

As for claims there are fewer opportunities to teach? The N.C. Department of Public Instruction website currently lists nearly 1,000 open teaching positions.

Those are tough facts for unions and special interests to swallow. But education isn’t about lining their pockets.

Berger is using the tried-and-true method of character assassination by taking an unpopular entity (unions) and trying to paint teachers with that brush. It's a disgusting tactic, but it might actually backfire on him. People know that teachers aren't paid enough and suffer under a grueling workload during the school session. The knowledge that a union is trying to help them might make a lot of people reconsider their opposition to unions.

And as far as that "1,000 open teaching positions", there are 100 counties in this state. That's an average of only 10 positions per, and with the concentration of population in urban areas, that means many of the rural areas have few (or no) openings. It's called math, Phil. The attack on teachers continues:

Unfortunately there are some bad teachers out there. In 2011-2012, just 17 of North Carolina’s 97,184 teachers were dismissed for cause. Clearly, our school administrators couldn’t remove underperforming teachers from classrooms. Why? Because of guaranteed lifetime employment offered through the outdated teacher tenure system. The new system allows teachers to work under contracts that are renewed based on performance – like nearly every other profession.

Another propaganda tool: take a statistic and make wild and evidence-deficient assumptions based on it. Teaching isn't like any other profession. Many of them leave (on their own) after only a few years, and the ones that stay do so in spite of the difficulties, not because they're trying to reach tenure so they can all-of-a-sudden morph into somebody who no longer cares.

But this is what Berger wants readers to think. That there are hundreds of bad teachers that are polluting the education system. And the move to reward 25% of teachers gives you an idea of how many bad teachers the Republicans think are standing in front of the classrooms.

The arrogance is astounding, and the lack of understanding is frightening.


Where exactly is this "union"

Where exactly is this "union" Berger speaks about? I've been teaching for 26 years and I have yet to see one in NC. The fact that he thinks there is one kind of makes the accuracy of everything else he writes questionable.

I'm a moderate Democrat.


Perhaps he's referring to the NC Association of Educators.

Last time I checked, this isn't a union, but a continuing education and advocacy group for NC educators. Perhaps Berger can enlighten us on which "union" has strike powers and is involved in collective bargaining for educators in NC schools.

The Republicans have been trying to paint the NCAE as a "union" for years. And even sane conservatives in NC think that's just a bogus bogieman.

I'm sorry, Charlotte Observer - no responsible newspaper editor would allow such brazen lies to be printed, even in the editorial page, without challenging these "facts" specifically.

If that's the kind of standard the Observer is going for, I'd like to offer up my "fact based" op-ed to the paper on how Berger and Tillis are Reptilian Aliens that dine on the blood of small children when they attend meetings at Bohemian Grove.

The lie about the NCAE is

The lie about the NCAE is strongly believed by a lot of people. If you repeatedly call it one, regardless of the fact that it isn't, people will believe you.

I'm a moderate Democrat.