North Carolina is one of several national hotspots for the
“reform” movement’s campaign to privatize public education. With
extremists in control of the Legislature and the Governorship,
public education is under siege.
The governor has cut hundreds of
millions of dollars from the public schools, while claiming that
his cuts were actually increases. Acting with the Legislature, the
governor has enacted radical privatization measures, including
charters and vouchers.
North Carolinians are not standing still.
They are getting the picture. Every Monday, thousands gather at the
Capitol in what is known as Moral Monday rallies.
One of the stalwarts of the effort to stop the destruction of public education
is Dr. Yevonne Brannon. She is one of the leaders of Public Schools
First NC, which has encouraged resistance to the extremists. She
has lived in Wake County for 40 years, and has been a steadfast
supporter of racial integration and quality education for all.
She was one of those who pushed back against efforts to resegregate the
schools in 2009. Read more
about her here. Her biggest concern right now is
She says: “I’m very worried this is a corner
we’ve turned that we can’t turn back,” Brannon says. “[In other
states with these kinds of programs], the funding for it continues
to grow, and it becomes more and more expensive. It absolutely
devastates the public education system in every community, in every
state it’s been implemented in. “This is, for
the public school system as a whole, probably the worst thing that
could have happened,” Brannon continues.
“Taking public dollars and putting them in private schools – that is the thread that we will
keep pulling until we have unraveled the public school system. The
public has got to understand this.” Brannon
explains that voucher programs aren’t about school choice. Rather,
they are the result of a “perfect storm” of those who are
anti-government, those who want to make money off of public
education, those who want religion in schools, and those who “don’t
want their kids going to school with children who are not like
them” – all supported by parents who don’t recognize the impact
vouchers have on their communities and on the state as a
whole. “For forty years, we’ve seen this push
by the ultra-conservative religious right to erase that line
[between religion and public education]. For forty years, we’ve
seen profiteers try to get their noses under the tent. And for
forty years, we’ve seen people who want to re-segregate schools.
Since 1973, I’ve been fighting to strengthen and integrate public
schools. And now, in 2013, here we are. I’m absolutely
devastated. “But I also feel energized. I am
determined that I will spend the last days of my life fighting for
what I fought for 40 years ago, which is a strong public school
system that serves every child. And I’m more determined now than
The fight is on. North Carolina is only one of
many battlegrounds. But make no mistake. Engaged citizens and an
informed public will push back the forces of destruction and save
public education for future generations of children.