posted on August 06, 2013 08:40
John Wilson went from teaching school in Raleigh to leading the NCAE and then the NEA. He went from leading teacher protests against Governor Hunt in 1984 to working with Hunt 10 years later to raise North Carolina’s teachers’ pay above the national average.
He wrote a recent blog in Education Week (“The Most Backward Legislature in America”) that is worth reading, especially for this summary of why, for all this legislature’s outrages, the Democrats’ strongest case is education:
“Once known for having the most innovative and progressive public school system in America, North Carolina is now a trajectory of backwardness.
“This legislature has put North Carolina in a race to the bottom on per pupil expenditures. This legislature chose to cut education by a half a billion dollars--even though the state had more resources available than in previous years. North Carolina will lose over 5,000 teachers, counselors, and school psychologists. A reading program that provided teaching assistants for K-3 classrooms was decimated by the elimination of almost 4,000 positions. Cuts to textbooks and instructional supplies exceeded $120 million. This is backward….
“North Carolina has always been rated as a great place to do business because of its renowned universities, research and innovation, and strong public schools. However, this legislature has cut the institutions that prepare North Carolina's workforce. This action is more about rewarding friends and donors than it is about economic development and recruitment of new employers. This is backward.
“North Carolina was recently rated 46th among all states and DC for teacher pay. The state was already projected to be 48th this coming year, but that did not satisfy this legislature. Lawmakers wanted their teachers to be last in the nation so they failed to provide them with a salary increase. To underscore their anti-intellectual credentials, they eliminated additional pay for those who earn master's degrees and other advanced degrees in the future. To add insult to injury, in two years, they will give 25 percent of the teachers a little over $300, after taxes, if their test scores are the highest. Of course, to silence teachers, they eliminated career status (so-called tenure) for all teachers and replaced it with terminating contracts. This is backward.
“North Carolina has been known for its programs to improve teacher recruitment and retention. This legislature eliminated our crown jewel, the Teaching Fellows Program, which provided scholarships annually to 600 high-achieving high school students who wanted to make teaching a lifelong career. Instead, they chose to give Teach for America an allocation of $5 million to place 175 teachers in our schools next year. Of course, school districts must pay salaries, benefits, and finder's fees for these TFAers. There are 6,000 Teaching Fellows who are still teaching. Those175 TFAers will be gone in two years. What kind of ROI (return on investment) is that for the taxpayers of NC? This is backward….
“Yes, North Carolina has the most backward legislature in America. However, thankfully, NC still has a majority of progressive and pro-public school people who have learned a great lesson about studying candidates' positions on issues and voting in every election. They've also learned about encouraging good people to run for office and the power of civil disobedience to call attention to the misdeeds of a misguided legislature. The majority of concerned and compassionate Tar Heels will prevail. It will just take time, mobilization, and voting.”
Tuesday, August 06, 2013 10:18 AM
Right from the start in your presentation, you tell us about how John Wilson's claim to fame is being heavily involved in the NCAE and then the NEA. Both of these are union-based organizations with severely left-leaning ideologies. So, your first sentence here should raise a huge red flag. The education budget in NC under McCrory is more than adequate and because of many of the cuts in duplicate staff and many other unwise expenditures, our kids will be able to get the needed resources in public schools and parents will be able to make choices on schools for their children.
Our schools have gone downhill since the days of Jim Hunt, Gary. I too believe he was our very best education governor. After him, we lost our edge here in our state. I had four children go through public schools and I have 11 grandchildren living in our state, so all of the rhetoric and skewed facts and figures don't fool me. We need a very big change in our school system in North Carolina, and McCrory is trying his best to make that happen in a positive way.
Tuesday, August 06, 2013 11:10 PM
Somebody please explain how this "cut education by a half billion dollars" jibes with the Republicans' claim that they increased spending by 5%. I don't know how they can both be true.
Wednesday, August 07, 2013 2:48 PM
John Wilson is a teachers union labor boss, and he says exactly what you would expect a big labor apparatchik to say. If you want to see backward, look at our labor unions, especially the teachers unions. ''Back in the USSR'' could easily be their theme song.
Wilson talks nonsense and plays fast and loose with the facts in his political hatchet job. North Carolina's budget this year appropriates the most money ever for public school K-12. Wilson plays the phony game of calling not getting all the increases the teachers unions wanted ''cuts''. That is a typical Orwellian ''newspeak'' ploy by the left.
What is it that Wilson and his big labor comrades really do not like? It is the education reforms adopted by the General Assembly. like eliminating teacher tenure so that it is easier to get rid of incompetent teachers, and setting up a fund to give raises of up to $10,000 to the best teachers. Rewarding quality and punishing incompetence will make better schools and better education but it steps on the toes of the teachers unions,so they squeal like stuck pigs.
Friday, August 09, 2013 6:55 PM
Chris, that's just such an excellent observation. Gary can say pretty much anything he wants here with impunity and without anyone showing his "facts" are incorrect because, after all, this is a very small blog with very few participants.
Read Reaganite's post above for some real truth on this issue. In addition, trust me, the real facts are that the education budget coming up is above last year's. The problem the left/democrats have with it is that it isn't a budget increase to give teachers and administrators and assistants etc. a salary increase. It's a budget increase to give the kids more things they need to succeed. It's a shame that the democrats are more about their voting block (the teachers) than they are the kids. But, very few people will see that. The media will skew the information, the numbers and the reason for what McCrory & Co. is doing. At the end of the day, education in NC and the kids are the losers if McCrory bends to what the radical left wants.