Thursday, May 04, 2023

The Slow Death of Public Schools in North Carolina


On April 25, Governor Roy Cooper called on the General Assembly to increase spending on public education, siting as incentive the recent report from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction showing that public schools had delivered "significant learning recovery" for students since the easing of the pandemic. North Carolina’s public schools saw an unprecedented amount of federal funding in response to the pandemic, but that extra funding runs out in 2024.

On April 26 -- the next day -- the Republican bosses in the General Assembly responded that they would be decimating public education even more, not fully funding it, but rather pumping $1.3 billion into more private school vouchers. Senate Bill 406 would create the largest expansion of the state’s private school voucher program since it was created.

Republicans say they are supporting “choice” and “students over systems,” but their job is to fund public schools — not private ones. They say that students deserve the opportunity to receive a better education than what’s provided at some public schools, but if they provided schools with adequate funding, perhaps students would not need to look elsewhere to receive a quality education.

--Editorial, Raleigh News and Observer

The bottomline: Republicans have made it gospel to attack and denigrate public education, so expanding opportunities for families to abandon their local public schools, which constitutionally state government is required to support, sets up a new indoctrination to conquer an older supposed indoctrination that committed the cardinal sin of recognizing what must never be spoken of in front of Republicans -- injustice.

Who was very visible at the Republican press conference announcing S406? Why, former Democrat Tricia Cotham, who both defended herself from implied criticism and just incidentally demonstrated Karen-level self-interest masquerading as public policy:

“I started off really anti-school choice for a while when I first entered the General Assembly,” Cotham said at the press conference.

Then, she said, she started thinking about where her own children would go to school. Eventually, she opted for her son to attend a private school.

“That’s where my policy really started to change,” she said. “Because as a policymaker and as a mom, I’m also not a hypocrite. I do believe that as policymakers and legislators, if we have the ability to send our children to a private school or to a charter, then we cannot say to others, well, you can’t.”

The "me first!" moral compass of the contemporary Republican Party! Even a former Democrat can't leaven it. 

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