Ron Schofield of NC Policy Watch thinks that the schools would thrive if legislators gave them their annual appropriations and then left them alone.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that the single, best thing that North Carolina lawmakers could do to aid public education in our state is this: nothing.

Seriously, lawmakers would do our young people, educators, public education officials, employers, and the state at-large an enormous service if they would simply pass one bill each year providing the funding that our schools really need and then get the heck out of the way and check back in five or ten years. No more “ABC’s” of this or that or “Excellent Schools Acts.” Nothing, nada, zip. Just give our professionals the money and the mandate and let them do their jobs.”

I bet teachers and principals feel the same. Unfortunately, the legislators can’t resist the urge to meddle. Maybe they heard something at dinner or on Fox News, and here’s a new law.

The latest comes from state Senator Tim Apodaca. He wants to bill schools for the cost of remedial courses that students take in college.

Schofield writes:

“You got that? The premise of the law — as with so many other conservative education proposals in recent years — is that North Carolina can wring better results out of its public schools through sheer force. Rather than addressing poverty, providing universal pre-K, lowering class sizes or investing the money that it would really take to hire the teachers and counselors and other professionals who could perform the miracle of preparing millions of kids for the insanely competitive 21st Century economy (half of whom come from families too poor to afford lunch), the Senate would propose to get better K-12 grads by threatening to take away more money from their schools.

“What a great idea! Maybe this can even set a precedent for other parts the education system. For instance, after this bill is passed, lawmakers can pass legislation that allows K-12 systems to bill pre-K programs (or parents) for the kids who show up needing “remediation. ” Another bill could force colleges and universities to pay for the young teachers who arrive in K-12 not fully prepared to teach.

“After that, who knows where such an innovative idea might lead? Maybe North Carolina could enact a law that forces prisons to pay for the cost of recidivism or perhaps one that cuts the environmental protection budget each time there’s a coal ash spill. How about a law that docks legislators’ pay for poor state job growth? Yeah, that’s the ticket!”

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