"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Spellings Leader in NC Taliban War on Public Ed

In August Valerie Strauss posted a report by James Hogan on the effects of the Tea Party Taliban that seized control of North Carolina politics and its public education system in 2012.

Besides draconian cuts to everything from teacher positions to drivers' ed, the Bircher wing of corporate education reform has legalized vouchers and has uncapped the growth of both non-profit and for-profit charters.  Here a a clip from Hogan's report:
N.C. teachers are prohibited by law from unionizing, but they did have a common advocacy group in the North Carolina Association of Educators. In 2011, the legislature passed a law targeting how the group collects dues from member teachers.
Then-Governor Beverly Purdue vetoed it. In 2012, the law made its way back to Purdue, who vetoed it again–but the House overrode it during a sneaky, late-night vote. (The law was later found to be discriminatory, retaliatory, and a violation of free speech and thrown out by state courts.)

But with teacher’s main advocacy group effectively muzzled, the legislature was free to run rampant, and teachers quickly came under fire.

Teacher salaries fell to near the bottom among all states in the nation and worst in the South after five years with zero pay increases. And when Republicans finally acted to increase teacher pay, they claimed to make the biggest pay hike in state history–but in reality only bumped up paychecks by an average of $270 per year. When you factored inflation into the mix, teachers were losing money.

Meanwhile, Texas and Virginia started actively recruiting North Carolina teachers to go work in their states. It didn’t take much to convince Tarheel teachers to flee–especially after some teachers discovered they earned substantially less money than when they started thanks to inflation.

In case pitiful paychecks weren’t enough to deter teachers from returning to work, the legislature next took aim at teacher tenure. The Republican-led proposal initially was to eliminate tenure altogether, but eventually they came up with a plan that would grant teachers pay raises for giving up their career status. It was, as I wrote then, a clever way of getting rid of veteran teachers.
To add the greatest insult to injury, the anti-knowledge ideologues of the NC Taliban have put Margaret Spellings in charge of UNC and the 27 other state campuses in the NC public university system.
If nothing else, Spellings is consistent, and it didn't take long for Maggie to let her true colors show as the new prez of UNC.  Read it and weep.

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