Search results for: "North Carolina"

Edward B. Fiske was the education editor of the New York Times and editor of the Fiske Guide to Colleges. Helen F. Ladd is a nationally prominent economist of education and professor emeritus at Duke University. They are married, a power couple of American education. This article appeared on the website of WRAL in North Carolina.

Forty years ago this spring a national commission charged with evaluating the quality of American education issued a blistering report entitled “A Nation at Risk.” It cited a “rising tide of mediocrity” in the country’s schools and declared that the country’s failure to provide high quality education “threatens our very future as a Nation and a people.”

North Carolina leaders took this warning to heart. They began investing heavily in public education and even became a model for other states in areas such as early childhood education. Significantly, the state was making progress toward fulfilling its obligation under the North Carolina Constitution to provide a sound, basic education for all students.

The situation started to change, however, in 2012 when Republicans came to power and began an assault on public education that continues to this day.

When it comes to public education, North Carolina is now “A State at Risk.”

The Republican assault has taken multiple forms, starting with inadequate funding. North Carolina now ranks 50th in the country in school funding effort and 48th in overall funding. Despite widespread teacher shortages, the Republicans have kept teacher salaries low — $12,000 below the national average – and they have failed to provide adequate funding for the additional support staff that schools need.

In addition, they have permitted significant growth in the number of charter schools. Such schools divert much-needed funds from traditional public schools and make it difficult for local boards of education to operate coherent education systems.

The Republican-controlled Legislature is currently working hard to weaken public education by politicizing the process. Pending legislation would regulate how history and racism are taught, give a commission appointed mainly by lawmakers the job of recommending standards in K-12 subjects, and transfer authority to create new charter schools from the State Board of Education to a board appointed by the General Assembly.

The problem is about to get even worse. The Legislature is now poised to expand the earlier Opportunity Scholarship program, which had provided public funds for low income children to attend private schools, into a much larger universal voucher program that would make all children eligible regardless of family income – at an estimated cost of more than $2 billion over the next 10 years.

Given that private schools are operated by private entities typically with no public oversight and no obligation to serve all children, why in the world would it ever make sense to use taxpayer dollars to support private schools?

A common argument has been that voucher systems raise achievement levels of the children who used them. While some early studies of small scale means-tested voucher programs in places like Milwaukee showed small achievement gains in some cases, recent studies of larger voucher programs in places such as Ohio, Louisiana and Indiana consistently show large declines in average achievement — often because of the low quality of the private schools that accept vouchers.

Supporters also argue that vouchers provide more schooling options for children and that having more choices is a good thing. But in the context of education policy that need not be the case. Americans support public education – and make schooling mandatory – not only for the benefits it generates for individual children but also for collective benefits such as the creation of capable workers and informed citizens. What matters is the quality of education for all the state’s children.

An expanded voucher program would lead to a substantial outflow of funds from traditional public schools to privately operated schools, with the potential for a significant loss in the quality of our public schools, and subsequent vitality in the state’s economy.

A strong public education system – from elementary and secondary schools to the nation’s first public university, the University of North Carolina – has long been pivotal to our state’s cultural, political and economic success. We must stop the current assaults on public education and reaffirm our commitment to one of North Carolina’s great strengths.

Back in 1983 when the education system of the nation was “at risk,” President Ronald Reagan – who had earlier been lukewarm in his support of public education — took the warning seriously and began touring the country to talk about the problem. His successors from both parties then took up the cause and continued to make the case that a strong public education system is essential for a vibrant economy, and importantly, to make the policy changes needed to strengthen it.

Let’s hope that our current Republican leaders in this state can muster the wisdom and courage to follow the example of President Reagan and other leaders from both parties in pushing for strong public education. In the absence of such wisdom, we will indeed continue to be “A State at Risk.”

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency for the state’s public schools after the General Assembly passed a universal voucher bill.

Universal vouchers provide a public subsidy to every student in the state, no matter what their family income or where they go to school. In other states, most voucher recipients already are enrolled in private and religious schools. North Carolina adopted a plan that ensures public money for rich kids in private and religious schools.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper declared Monday that “public education in North Carolina is facing a state of emergency” in the face of “extreme legislation” being promoted by Republican state lawmakers.

In a video posted online Monday, Cooper said GOP lawmakers will “starve public education” and “drops an atomic bomb on public education” with plans to further cut taxes and increase funding for private school vouchers.

He said the public needs to speak out against the changes before they’re adopted in the state budget. “It’s clear that the Republican legislature is aiming to choke the life out of public education,” Cooper said. “I am declaring this state of emergency because you need to know what’s happening.

“If you care about public schools in North Carolina, it’s time to take immediate action and tell them to stop the damage that will set back our schools for a generation.”

Cooper’s speech comes as Republican legislative leaders are negotiating a state budget deal for the next two years. The GOP has a legislative supermajority, so it can adopt a spending plan and other legislation without needing Cooper’s support.

The governor will hold public events across the state in the days ahead to call on parents, educators and business leaders to speak against the GOP proposals, the Associated Press reported.

Read more at:

Here’s another version of the story that is not behind a paywall:

Cooper said extreme GOP legislation could cost the state’s public schools hundreds of millions of dollars, exacerbate a stubborn teacher shortage and bring political culture wars to classrooms.

He lashed out Senate Bill 406, a bill to expand the state’s school voucher program. Under the proposal, even the state’s wealthiest families would qualify for what are known as “opportunity scholarships” to help pay for private schools. The voucher program was created a decade ago to help low-income families escape low-performing districts and schools.

“Their private school voucher scheme will pour your tax money into private schools that are unaccountable to the public and can decide which students they won’t to keep out,” Cooper said. “They want to expand private school so that anyone, even a millionaire, can get taxpayer money for their children’s private academy tuition.”

Voucher critics complain that the private schools that receive taxpayer money engage in religious indoctrination and exclusion, discriminate against LGBTQ students and parents, and are not held accountable for academic outcomes the way charter schools and traditional public school are.

They also contend that vouchers divert money and other resources from already underfunded public schools. Under the proposed legislation, annual spending on private school vouchers would steadily increase until it reaches $500 million by the 2031-32 school year.

The voucher legislation was defended by turncoat legislator Tricia Cotham, who switched parties to give the hard-right Republicans a super-majority in both houses of the General Assembly:

Meanwhile, voucher supporters such as Rep. Tricia Cotham, a Republican from Mecklenburg County, contend that expanding the voucher program will help families that decide that public schools aren’t the best fit for their children. Cotham, a former Democrat who switched parties in March, co-sponsored a House bill with the same language.

On Monday, Cotham tweeted that Cooper is “advocating for systems rather than students themselves…”

Cooper also took aim at the Senate’s teacher pay raise proposal, which he said will only increase veteran teachers’ salaries $250 over two years. There are currently 5,000 teaching vacancies, he said.

“Two hundred and fifty bucks,” Cooper said. “That’s a slap in the face and it will make the teacher shortage worse.”

The Senate recently released a budget calling for a 4.5% average teacher pay raise over two years. The budget would bump starting teacher pay to $39,000 annually. First year teachers currently earn $37,000 a year.

Cooper’s budget includes an 18% teacher raise over the biennium. The budget approved by the House in April called for raises of 10.2% over the two-year budget cycle. Teachers would receive a 5.5% pay increase the first year, with the remainder coming in year two.

Cooper also said Republican lawmakers want to accelerate tax cuts that are projected to cut North Carolina’s state budget by almost 20%, which will hamstringing the state’s ability to pay for public education.

North Carolina Representative Tricia Cotham ran for office as a Democrat. She pledged to oppose vouchers and restrictions on abortion. In April, she unexpectedly switched from Democrat to Republican. Her party switch gave the Republicans a supermajority in both houses of the General Assembly, the state legislature. This meant that the legislature now has the votes to override Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s veto.

When the General Assembly recently passed a 12-week restriction on abortion, Governor Cooper vetoed the bill. With the vote of Rep. Cotham, the General Assembly overrode his veto. When she was a Democrat, she strongly supported women’s reproductive rights.

A few days ago, the General Assembly passed a universal voucher bill that provides vouchers to all students, rich and poor. Rep. Tricia Cotham sponsored the bill. The public schools of North Carolina will lose hundreds of millions of dollars. Every student currently enrolled in private and religious schools will get taxpayer dollars to subsidize their tuition.

Before her election, Cotham was a public school teacher, then a charter school lobbyist. After switching parties, she wasted no time in supporting a bill that removed oversight of charter schools from the State Board of Education, which is appointed by the Governor, and transferring it to a board appointed by the General Assembly.

The Washington Post reported:

Cotham, who represents part of Mecklenburg County, beat her Republican opponent by nearly 20 percentage points last year after a crowded Democratic primary. She ran on raising the minimum wage to at least $15 per hour, championing LGBTQ rights and expanding access to Medicaid, voting and affordable housing, according to her campaign website.

She switched parties, she said, because her fellow Democrats were mean to her and Planned Parenthood didn’t endorse her, despite her strong support for abortion rights.

Cotham’s mother Pat Cotham is a leading member of the North Carolina Democratic Party. She is on the executive council of the state party and a member of the Democratic National Committee.

As reported by Susan Runkunas in Jezebel, Cotham’s dejected staff members were baffled and disappointed. In the past, she was known as a passionate supporter of abortion rights. But then she supplied the one vote that Republicans needed to override the Governor’s veto. She supported gun control, but managed to be absent (along with two other Democrats) when her vote was needed to sustain his veto of a bill to eliminate the requirement of a permit to buy a handgun. .

Imagine campaigning for a Democratic politician—a thankless, low-paying job, especially at the state level—because you believe in what they stand for. The candidate gives powerful speeches about abortion rights that make you proud. You’re in a purple state, where every single seat in the legislature is critical to protecting abortion access. So you join the fight, help them win, and continue working for them in the legislature. Then inexplicably, in the middle of their term, that politician does an about-face, switches parties, and votes in favor of an extreme abortion ban, delivering Republicans the one vote they needed to override a veto and actually shutter clinics in the state.

Two (now former) aides to North Carolina State Rep. Tricia Cotham found themselves in that position earlier this month. Cotham, a Democrat until recently who was endorsed by EMILY’s List, had given speeches for years about abortion rights, sworn over and over to defend them, and even talked about her own medically necessary abortion. “My womb and my uterus is not up for your political grab,” she said in one particularly passionate 2015 speech.

Emily’s List has, of course, withdrawn its endorsement of the turncoat.

WRAL in North Carolina fact-checked her claims.

The blog of the Network for Public Education posted Justin Parmenter’s concern about the latest meddling into education by the state’s Republican-dominated General Assembly. The NPE blog is curated by the estimable Peter Greene. Justin Parmenter is an NBCT high school teacher in North Carolina.

Teacher Justin Parmenter monitors anti-public ed shenanigans in North Carolina. He explains in a recent post a bill to force adoption of Hillsdale College’s “patriotic” curriculum.

Parmenter writes:

Legislation filed in the North Carolina General Assembly last week would authorize Beaufort County Public Schools to ignore the state’s standard course of study and instead teach a controversial social studies curriculum developed by a conservative Michigan college with close ties to former President Donald Trump.

The bill was filed by Rep. Keith Kidwell, who represents Beaufort, Dare, Pamlico and Hyde counties.

The curriculum Kidwell is proposing be used in Beaufort County’s public schools was created by Michigan-based Hillsdale College after white fragility over Nikole Hannah-Jones’s 1619 Project prompted former president Donald Trump to issue an executive order setting up what he called a “patriotic education” commission.

Trump said at the time that the commission was intended to counter “hateful lies” being taught to children in American schools which he said constituted “a form of child abuse.”

Trump appointed Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn to chair the 1776 Commission near the end of his presidency in 2020.

The commission’s report, published on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January 2021, was widely criticized by actual historians as a whitewashed take on American history for its downplaying of Founding Fathers’ support for slavery and quoting Dr. Martin Luther King out of context in order to create a falsely rosy view of race in the United States, among other reasons.

Hillsdale College released the “1776 curriculum” in July 2021. In its “Note to Teachers,” the curriculum reminds anyone who will be using the curriculum to teach children that “America is an exceptionally good country” and ends with the exhortation to “Learn it, wonder at it, love it, and teach so your students will, too.”

In North Carolina, current state law gives the State Board of Education the authority to develop a standard course of study which each school district is required to follow. The state’s current social studies standards were adopted in 2021 over objections of Republican state board members who said the standards portrayed America in a negative light and amounted to critical race theory.

Kidwell’s bill comes just days after Representative Tricia Cotham’s party switch handed North Carolina Republicans a veto-proof supermajority in the legislature. That means there’s a good chance this Trump-inspired, whitewashed version of American history will end up on desks in Beaufort County, and there’s no reason to think other counties won’t follow suit.

According to DPI’s Statistical Profile, more than half of Beaufort County’s 5,821 public school students are students of color. Those students deserve to have their stories and their ancestors’ stories told. Those students and all students deserve to learn real American history, warts and all, not a watered-down, Donald Trump-conceived version designed to make white people feel comfortable.

Read the full post here.

Rep. Tricia Cotham ran for office as a Democrat and was elected as a Democrat. She had previously been Teacher-of-the-Year and claimed to be a strong advocate for the state’s beleaguered public schools. She switched her party and joined the Republicans, giving them the one vote they needed to have a supermajority in both houses. Republicans can now override Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s vetos.

The NC General Assembly has been consistently hostile to public schools and to teachers. They have authorized charter schools, including for-profit schools, and vouchers. Many financial scandals have marked the charter sector.

Yet Rep. Cotham just voted to give the Republican-dominated General Assembly contro of charters. No critics or skeptics allowed!

Former Democratic lawmaker Tricia Cotham sealed her move to the Republican Party this week by co-sponsoring a bill that would remove the State Board of Education from the charter school approval process.

Under House Bill 618, that approval would be handed over to a new Charter School Review Board, whose members must be “charter school advocates in North Carolina.”

The new review board would replace the Charter School Advisory Board.

Most members of the new review board would be chosen by the General Assembly, which is currently led by state Republicans. The review board’s membership would include the State Superintendent of Public Instruction or a designee, four members appointed by the House, four by the Senate and two members appointed by the state board.

Open the link to read more.

Stuart Egan teaches in North Carolina and blogs about the state’s politics. North Carolina has a Democratic Governor, Roy Cooper, but Republicans control both houses of the General Assembly. In the State Senate, they were one vote shy of a super-majority. And then—BOOM—a Democratic legislator switched parties, giving Republicans a super-majority, meaning they can override any vetoes by Governor Cooper.

Egan writes about the defector, Tricia Cotham, here and here.

Cotham was a teacher of the year. Her family was long involved in Democratic politics. She campaigned as a Democrat. She said she supported abortion rights. She said she was a strong supporter of public schools.

Yet now she has joined a party that is determined to ban abortion. That has spent the past dozen years attacking public schools, demonizing teachers, and introducing charter schools and vouchers.

Egan wrote in his open letter to Cotham:

Five previous terms in the NC General Assembly before running on a 2022 platform of pro-public education, pro-choice, and protections for all North Carolinians that got you elected in a heavily blue district and you…sold out.

And before you talk about that “well I had to go with my heart and my convictions” excuse, the very things you said you would champion on your campaign website just months ago seem not to be important any longer.

Many of us remember what you said on that campaign website. You seem to want to forget about it. In fact, just today that same website which talked about your “priorities” after five previous terms terms was gone. Erased.

Just like your integrity.

In an interview concerning the switch with, you stated:

“The party wants to villainize anyone who has free thought, free judgement, has solutions and wants to get to work to better our state. Not just sit in a meeting and have a workshop after a workshop, but really work with individuals to get things done. Because that is what real public servants do. If you don’t do exactly what the Democrats want you to do they will try to bully you. They will try to cast you aside.”

Did you see whom you were standing with when you made your switch from those “bullies” to the NCGOP?

Ma’am, you just went to a party that is run by two people who happen to be right next to you: Sen. Phil Berger and Rep. Tim Moore. If you do not do what those two expect of you, then you don’t remain in Raleigh.

And you know that. You’ve been in the NC General Assembly long enough to know that you must “toe the line” with that party to remain in that party. You know exactly what is expected of you now.

You now become the vote that almost ensures that another 1.5 billion dollars goes to unproven school choice “reforms” that take more money away from traditional public schools. Remember your tenure as an educator in public schools? Sure you do. It was on your website before you erased it.

Tricia Cotham has betrayed her voters and her profession. She should be ashamed of herself.

For the past dozen years, the General Assembly of North Carolina has been relentless in its efforts to crush the state’s public schools and their teachers. This period began with the ascendancy of the Tea Party in what was once the most progressive state in the South. Parents, students, and teachers got good news from the State Supreme Court on November 4. The following description of the decision was written by the Center for Educational Equity at Teachers College, Columbia University.


On November 4th, in a stunning 227-page decision, the North Carolina Supreme Court ordered the state controller and other state officials to transfer approximately $800 million from state budget reserves to the state educational budgets to fund a comprehensive compliance plan in the long-pending Leandro litigation.  The decision comes after the state legislature refused to appropriate the full amount required to implement the second and third years of the eight-year phase-in of the compliance plan.

The 1997 Leandro case affirmed NC students’ constitutional right to the opportunity for a sound basic education and recognized the duty of the state government to provide adequate funding to guarantee that right to all students. 

In its 4-2 decision on Friday, the state supreme court refused to permit further delay in fully vindicating the state students’ constitutional right. It remanded the case to the trial court to recalculate the exact amount of funds required for the transfer and ordered that the trial court to retain jurisdiction to ensure that the plan is fully implemented in the years to come.

The court stated the significance of the case in potent language:

A quarter-century ago, this Court recognized that the North Carolina Constitution vests in all children of this state the right to the opportunity to receive a sound basic education and that it is the constitutional duty of the State to uphold that right. Leandro v. State , 346 N.C. 336, 345 (1997). … In 2004, we affirmed the trial court’s determination “that the State had failed in its constitutional duty to provide certain students with the opportunity to attain a sound basic education,” and that “the State must act to correct those deficiencies.”… At that still-early stage of the litigation, this Court deferred to the legislative and executive branches to craft and implement a remedy to this failure. 

In the eighteen years since, despite some steps forward and back, the foundational basis for the ruling of Leandro … has remained unchanged: today, as in 2004, far too many North Carolina schoolchildren … are not afforded their constitutional right to the opportunity to a sound basic education. …

Now, this Court must determine whether [the state’s constitutional] duty is a binding obligation or an unenforceable suggestion. We hold the former: the State may not indefinitely violate the constitutional rights of North Carolina schoolchildren without consequence. Our Constitution is the supreme law of the land; it is not optional. In exercising its powers under the Appropriations Clause, the General Assembly must also comply with its duties under the Education Provisions. 

Rejecting the legislature’s separation of powers objections, the court held:

[W]hen inaction by those exercising legislative authority threatens fiscally to undermine the integrity of the judiciary, a court may invoke its inherent power to do what is reasonably necessary for the orderly and efficient administration of justice.”… Although “Article V prohibits the judiciary from taking public monies without statutory authorization [,]” when the exercise of remedial power “necessarily includes safeguarding the constitutional rights of the parties [,] … the court has the inherent authority to direct local authorities to perform that duty. …

For our Constitution to retain its integrity and legitimacy, the fundamental rights enshrined therein must be “guarded and maintained.” When other branches indefinitely abdicate this constitutional obligation, the judiciary must fill the void.

This forceful order reminds us that, at a time when the U.S. Supreme Court seems bent on abolishing or reducing important constitutional guarantees, state courts can play a critical role in upholding and fully enforcing important constitutional rights.

Note: The Center for Educational Equity helped draft the brief, amicus curiae, of the “Professors and Long-Time Practitioners of Constitutional and Educational Law” that was submitted in support of the plaintiffs’ position on this appeal.

A few days ago, I posted a column by Peter Greene about a dreadful plan in North Carolina to align teacher pay and evaluation with test scores, an approach that has always failed and that always demoralizes teachers.

Peter was relying on the thorough research of Justin Parmenter, a North Carolina teacher who is a National Board Certified Teacher.

Another North Carolina teacher wrote the following comment:

As a North Carolina teacher, I can personally attest to everything that Justin Parmenter has written about this god-awful plan. It has absolutely no support either from teachers or from school districts, where the administrators know full well that it will only increase their already desperate staffing problems. Yet there seems to be almost nothing that we can do to stop it short of the NC State Board of Education. At least there, a majority of the members were appointed by our Democratic Governor Cooper and may balk at a plan so universally opposed by those it will directly affect. We have no real union (NCAE is an “advocacy organization”) since we’re prevented by law from forming unions or collective bargaining. We’re also barred from striking. We have no recourse except to appeal to those few sympathetic political figures (like the Governor) who might be able to stand in the way of this. The DPI and the Legislature, who created PEPSC, are just looking for another way to undercut public education (without just coming out and doing it openly) so that they can move on to the privatizing that they really want to do but that the public at large still opposes. Driving away experienced teachers by undercutting their pay and heaping new burdens on us is just their latest scheme.

Peter Greene writes in Forbes about an insidious, nefarious, behind-closed-door plan to sabotage teachers’ pay and evaluations, while relying on the discredited value-added test-score-based system whose main corporation just happens to be in North Carolina. Greene relies on the relentless investigations by North Carolina teacher Justin Parmenter, a National Board Certified Teacher.

Just to be clear: the proposed plan to change teachers’ pay relies on test scores and merit pay. No merit pay plan has ever successfully identified the “better” or “best” teachers. Tying teacher pay to test score increases has been tried repeatedly and has failed repeatedly. The most extensive trial of “value-added” measurement was funded by the Gates Foundation and evaluated by RAND-AIR. Gates gave $575 million to Hillsborough County in Florida, Memphis, and Pittsburgh, and to four charter chains, to evaluate teachers by test scores. The goal was to get the most highly effective teachers into the classrooms with the neediest students. The RAND-AIR report concluded that the Gates money “did not improve student achievement, did not affect graduation rates or dropout rates, and did not change the quality of teachers.” Some of the districts experienced higher teacher turnover. The neediest students did not get the most effective teachers, because teachers were afraid that their VAM scores would fall if they moved to classrooms with the neediest students. Overall, the program was a very expensive disaster. I wrote about it in my book Slaying Goliath (pp. 244-245).

So, North Carolina appears to be determined to drive its best teachers away, to increase its teacher shortage, when the solutions to their problems are obvious: increase teachers’ pay, reduce class sizes, and respect teacher voices.

Greene writes in Forbes:

North Carolina is considering a radical revamp of its teacher pay system, a framework that ties teacher pay to measures of merit, instead of years of experience. It is a bad plan, for a wide variety of reasons, not the least of which is that no teacher merit pay plan has ever proven to be a definitive success. 

This plan lowers the bar for entering the profession, while creating a ladder to higher levels of certification and higher levels of pay tied to “educational outcomes,”. Meaning, a system in which a teacher’s livelihood is tied to student test scores and a teacher training is centered on preparing students for a single high stakes test. 

The current pay scale offers little relief; a teacher with a bachelor’s degree starts at $35,000 a year, and that goes up $1,000 per year until they’ve been in the classroom for sixteen. 

Then their pay does not move for a decade, at which point they get a $2,000 raise—the last raise they’ll ever see. 

A North Carolina teacher faces the certainty that if they make a lifelong career out of teaching, they will see their pay in real dollars steadily decline.

The North Carolina Association of Educators have come out strongly against the proposal, as did working teachers on the ground. So did the North Carolina Colleges of Teacher Educators. Yet the proposal is still headed for consideration. Where did it come from, and who is pushing it?

Justin Parmenter is a veteran North Carolina teacher who has been asking those same questions. They turned out to be disturbingly difficult to answer.

The pipeline dries up

The roots go back over a decade. North Carolina had been a leading state for public education, but in 2010 the GOP established a super-majority in the legislature. What followed was a steady dismantling of public education in the state, combined with steps backward for the teaching profession.

Funding levels of public schools dropped, and the legislature has dragged its feet on implementing a court-ordered funding equity plan. At the same time, they have provided great opportunities for charter school profiteers

The GOP legislature has used school funding for Democrat-voting districts as a political football. In recent culture battles, the state has seen everything from County Commissioners holding school funding hostage to Lt. Governor Mark Robinson leading a hunt (complete with tip line) to catch teachers misbehaving.

On top of these and other measures that might make educators feel a bit beleaguered, North Carolina has had trouble offering competitive salaries to its teachers (the state sets the pay scale for all NC teachers). For years, a career teacher in North Carolina would actually take an annual pay cut in real dollars. At one point the legislature offered teachers a raise—if they would give up the due process protections commonly known as tenure. 

Mid-decade, I sat at dinner with a former student and seven other young professionals in Charlotte, North Carolina. Six were former teachers; they had each decided there were far better ways to make a living in the Tar Heel State.

The rules implemented by the legislature, says Parmenter, “made it less and less attractive for people to become teachers.” Enrollment in teacher prep programs began dropping. Faced with the problem, Parmenter says the approach was, “Instead of addressing the reason that nobody wants to go to college to become a teacher anymore, what could we do to approach it in a different way.”

The result: in 2017 the state legislature formed the Professional Educator Standards and Preparation Commission (PEPSCPSC -0.5%) to make recommendations on how to expand teacher preparation programs, create an accountability system for those programs, and to “reorganize and clarify” the licensure process.

For a year or so, PEPSC tinkered with the small edges of policy recommendations. And then in 2018, a whole bunch of other folks got interested.

At this crucial point, I am going to ask you to go to the link and open the article. One of the major players in this fiasco is SAS, a student evaluation system based in North Carolina, which stands to make a whole lot of money if the proposed system is adopted. The Gates Foundation, despite having failed in all of its previous efforts to implement a successful merit pay plan or test-based teacher evaluation program, became a player.

As you read the story unfold, you will see the strenuous efforts by the corporate actors to keep the whole nasty business secret. They encouraged their partners to speak cheerfully and positively about the changes they had in store for the state’s teachers. Justin Parmenter got his information by filing Freedom of Information suits.

The sheriff of Madison County, North Carolina, reacted to the massacre of students in Uvalde, Texas, by putting an AR15 in every one of the six schools in the district. The guns will be locked in a safe, and breaching tools will be nearby. So don’t come into one of those schools to kill little children!

Imagine the scenario. A gunman with an AR15 shoots his way into the school, as the deranged killer at the Sandy Hook school did a decade ago. He blasts through the door, kills everyone he sees. Meanwhile, the designated defender goes to the safe, breaks it open with the breaching tool, and takes out the AR15.

By that time, the killer has had enough time to mow down the children in at least two classrooms.

The problem in Uvalde wasn’t the lack of weapons. Dozens of heavily armed officers hung out in the corridor outside the classrooms for over an hour. They had guns. What they lacked was courage, brains, and leadership.