Bob Geary, in the Independent Weekly, does a more-than-adequate job of summing up the first 77 days:
Taken as a whole, the Republican agenda thus far is a mix of short-term program cuts, longer-term ideas for dismantling the public sector, sops to corporate backers and series of bills aimed at putting minority groups down.
Jobs? Not so much. Public education? The new Republican majority has shown its hostility in any number of ways. Geary's assessment is pointed:
...many Republican legislators are at odds with the whole idea of traditional public schools—of a free, K–12 system, that is, which enrolls most school-age children and offers them roughly the same educational opportunities.
That's been clear throughout the debate over charter schools, with Republicans voting on party lines for a bill to ditch the "cap" of 100 such schools (SB 8) and open the gates to many more with few restrictions about who they must enroll. The bill, different versions of which have passed the House and Senate, infuriates Democrats, especially African-American Democrats like Rep. Mickey Michaux of Durham, who denounced it Monday night on the House floor as "a pure racist move."
Democrats believe that if charters are permitted to recruit just the "gifted and talented" students, for example—as the GOP bill would allow—and are not required to have diverse student bodies or provide transportation to kids who live miles away, the upshot will be a proliferation of schools that are private in nature but receive public funds (supplemented by parents' contributions).
Such schools will be cheaper to operate than the traditional public schools while "creaming" the better students from them, they argue; the traditional schools will see their support dwindle and their budgets cut, even as they're left to educate heavily low-income and special-needs student populations. "These schools will become more and more segregated," an angry Michaux declared. "Your wish of doing away with the traditional public schools will come true." ...
There's more to shake the head over in Geary's report.