Friday, September 23, 2011

The Deliberate Obtuseness of Thom Tillis

Thom Tillis, the new Republican Speaker of the NC House, has been going around the state, holding town hall meetings, and when he hears from laid-off public school employees, he uniformly expresses shock and even bewilderment. "How could that be?" he sez. "The Republicans in the General Assembly did not cut any teaching jobs."

There are lies of commission and lies of omission. The latter is a deliberate withholding of the truth and no less destructive of the public trust.

When a now unemployed teacher's assistant in Wilmington confronted Tillis, he lied even more deliberately. He huffed, "We'll get to the bottom of that," implying that the woman was the victim of her local school system instead of the victim of a doctrinaire conservatism that is hurting this state's prospects for a generation yet to come.

Tillis simply ignores and will not admit that a $400 million+ cut to schools "discretionary" spending did in fact impact teaching jobs. Yesterday in Boone, former House Speaker Joe Hackney, conducting with other Democrats in the NC House their own town hall tour of the state, said that we may never know the true total number of job losses in education from the new Republican budget but that the number is certainly in the 10,000 range already, counting both public school jobs and university system jobs. Add to those losses are layoffs in the court system, juvenile justice, cultural resources, etc.

To help off-set projected losses in Watauga, the Republican majority on the county commish coughed up an additional $700,000, very much against its will and begrudgingly, so that Watauga is not in the fix of many other counties, as far as public education goes.

Those who cannot see through Tillis's crocodile tears for out-of-work teachers likely don't want to know the truth, but a growing majority will not forever forgive him for his deliberate attempt to shift the blame and pass the buck.

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