NC Teacher: Lawmakers Trying To Dismantle Public Education
In an extremely critical op-ed, North Carolina high school English teacher Chris Gilbert, accuses the current crop of state legislators of attempting, on multiple occasions, to dismantle our public education system in favor of a privatization model. From his op-ed in the News and Observer,
We, however, have not forgotten the recent past.
We remember the recent plan to “reward” the top 25 percent of a district’s educators with small raises in exchange for relinquishing due process rights.
We remember that North Carolina’s teachers were recently among the lowest paid in the country.
We remember the passing of a state budget that led various districts to cut teacher assistants.
We remember a damaging bill passed last year that eliminated class size caps in early grades.
We remember the reduction of textbook funding from over $111 million in 2009 to $23.3 million in 2014.
We remember the implementation of the unconstitutional voucher program that siphons funds from public education to private schools.
We remember changes to the tax structure that have decreased revenue and threatened sustainable funding for teacher pay, our education system and other essential services.
This list could certainly continue, but the point should be clear: Recent state history reveals serious intent, and multiple attempts, to dismantle public education in order to justify privatization and create profit opportunities in the public sector. Such a privatized system would not honor our state’s obligation to provide a sound education for all students, regardless of race, location, religious beliefor socioeconomic status. One can look to schools in New Orleans, Philadelphia or Chicago to observe the disastrous effects of such free-market policy.
We must see through the political rhetoric that conceals the past so that we can identify and support those candidates who genuinely care about public education. In an election year, everyone claims to be a friend of education, but our citizenry must go beyond the talking points and examine history as represented by each candidate’s voting record, his or her political and business connections, and associated party positions.
This election is a crucial one, and if this state will not make a lasting commitment to public education, I know many educators, like me, will seek out another that does.