Legislation is advancing in North Carolina that will harm the state’s underfunded public schools and strike a blow against its beleaguered teachers.
North Carolina is a right-to-work state, so there is no collective bargaining, and teachers have no voice in policy decisions about education.
Among the worst of the new bills is a proposal to fund a voucher/tax credit program, removing $90 million from public schools so that 1% of the state’s 1.5 million students may attend private and/or religious schools.
Another bill would strip away due process rights from teachers, so that teachers would have no right to a hearing if fired, no matter how many years of experience they have.
The new legislation would restrict eligibility for preschool, reducing the number of children who may enroll, and remove class size limits for some elementary grades.
Make no mistake (President Obama’s favorite expression, mine too): this legislation will save money in the short run but will cost the state far more in the long term. The Legislature is planning not only to harm public education, but to harm the children who benefit by being in preschool and in classes of reasonable size.
Former Congressman and State Superintendent Bob Etheridge said: “To the folks now running our state government in Raleigh, education reform is just another code word for cut, slash and burn.”
Governor Pat McCrory, who supports the radical anti-teacher, anti-public education agenda, has just named Eric Guckian as his Senior Education Advisor. Guckian was regional director of New Leaders in North Carolina (which recruits “transformational” leaders) and before that, was executive director of Teach for America in the state. He has been a consultant for the Gates Foundation and worked with KIPP. The following comes from the Governor’s press release:
“I am honored and humbled to serve as a member of Governor McCrory’s team,” said Guckian. “This is a critical time for education in our state, and I’m looking forward to working with committed teachers, leaders and community members to ensure that all of North Carolina’s students, regardless of circumstance, achieve an excellent education that will put them on the pathway to a better life; a life of honor, prosperity and service.”
Guckian joins John White in Louisiana and Kevin Huffman in Tennessee as TFA alumni in state-level positions serving reactionary administrations.