There's a good reason NC is becoming known for crappy public education

His name is Phil Berger

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger doesn’t have to go very far to see the effect of the education budgets he and his Republican colleagues in Raleigh have passed in the last four years. The Winston-Salem Journal reported this weekend that the schools in Berger’s home county of Rockingham are struggling with the very basics.

A bathroom that doesn’t have toilet paper. A classroom lacking textbooks. A copy machine without paper. In some Rockingham County schools, there’s not enough money to buy these — and other things.

The Rockingham schools are receiving $55 less per pupil from the state than they received two years ago and voters defeated a proposal for a quarter-cent increase in the sales tax in November, thanks no doubt to the anti-tax sentiment whipped up by Republicans and their Tea Party allies on Right Wing Avenue.

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Such a great business recruiting tool!

Come on down to NC, where the people are ignorant, the public schools suck, and your busienss can hire just about anybody for damn-near next to nothing.

The paper chase

The school doesn't have copier paper, toilet paper or paper for books, because Phil Berger decided that all the paper -- the green kind with dollar signs on it -- needed to go in Art Pope's pocket.

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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

The Journal should know better

This is just what Berger wants.

Gut and defund a program until it whithers and dies. Then complain about how government "isn't working" and push through legislation to take all those sweet, tasty, luscious government dollars and give them to private schools that can be "more efficient".

Then, once the private contractors erupt in scandal and the taxpayer winds up paying two or three times as much for something much worse than they had before, retire from the legislature to enjoy a consulting or management job with the industry you've created a windfall for.

Nice of the Journal to point out the problems with schools, giving us the who, what, when, where, and how, but leaving out the most important part of a reporter's job - why.

Ain't that the truth

This is the setup for ALEC's 2015 charter school legislation, which I wouldn't be surprised to see Phil & Tillman push. First you get the public schools to fail, then you pass a law that includes a "parent trigger" -- that is, parents can vote on whether that public school should continue as is or instead be taken over by outsiders and run as a charter school.

Yes, really. The education profiteers could take over the public schools we've paid for and run them as unaccountable charters.

The bill explicitly provides for these schools to be managed by “for-profit” education management organizations -- and since there are no other sources of revenue than what the school district pays, the profit must be “carved out” from the money intended for students. Notably, the bill also sneaks in a "parent trigger" mechanism, which allows for paid petition drives and a snapshot of parent opinion to shut down public schools and reinstate them as charters.

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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

Of course, before education profiteers

can completely take over the public schools we've paid for, those schools will need to be formally declared failures. That would require another ALEC law that gives a single letter grade to each school. And if you're wondering if North Carolina already has that, the answer is (SURPRISE!) yes.

The new grades, which will be released in February, are expected to result in many schools across the state getting a D or F.

If anyone had the mistaken belief that privatization of our public school system was something in the distant future, it's time to abandon that belief, because:

  • Our ALEC NC GOP has ensured that many schools will receive "failing" grades in February 2015.
  • Our ALEC NC GOP is ready to pass the next ALEC law that says that private school profiteers can take over "failing" public schools.

So watch for the first few public-to-for-profit-charter conversions to be underway next summer, in time for the 2015 traditional calendar school year.

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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

Isn't this convenient?

Guvnor McCrony's new deputy chief of staff is the former charter school lobbyist and Jesse Helms crony Jimmy Broughton.

Also notable: Broughton is the grandson of Gov. Melville Broughton, a Democrat who led North Carolina from 1941-1945. His emphasis on education included adding a 12th grade to public schools and increasing the school calendar to nine months.

That rumbling you feel is Gov. Melville Broughton spinning in his grave.

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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