Getting down to brass tacks

A lot of important battles throughout history (be they political or military) have turned on a matter of just a few critical moments in the middle of the night. Many took place before the victors or the vanquished even realized what was happening.

We may be approaching one of those moments right now in North Carolina when it comes to the future of public education. Last night, conservative lawmakers inserted a voucher program (masquerading as a corporate tax credit) into the K-12 education overhaul bill that they are attempting to ram through the General Assembly in the waning days of the 2012 short session.   

If this provision becomes law in the next few days over the objections of experts like the school superintendent in Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger’s home county, North Carolina will be well down the road toward transforming its flawed but fundamentally sound public education system into one that resembles the privatized, fully-segregated systems of many northern American big cities.

It is a terrible and dangerous development that ought to provoke enormous fear and outrage. Unfortunately, thus far, it appears that most of the general public remains blissfully unaware of the fact that this important birthright is being sold out from under them in a cynical and hastily-crafted, last minute legislative maneuver.

One can only hope that they will wake up and speak out before it’s too late.


  1. Frank Burns

    June 19, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Your article provides no reason why this voucher system has any negative impacts to public education. Are there some code words somewhere? If public education can be achieved using more of the private school assets at less cost than we pay for public education, why is that a problem?

  2. jlp75

    June 19, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    I guess math isn’t you’re strong suit Frank. Less revenue = less money for the general fund = less money for public education.

  3. Frank Burns

    June 20, 2012 at 6:21 am

    Public school children shifted to private schools at less cost to the taxpayer. Private schools can do the job at less cost = happy taxpayers.

  4. Sundance Kid

    June 20, 2012 at 11:21 am

    So at 11 we here how public education is privatized. We should all call ALEC and congratulate them on undermining our public school system, Berger’s plan which he slipped into the budget is straight out of the ALEC playbook. Where have our NC mainstream press been on this, very little coverage? Florida’s public school; system is a mess because of the ALEC reforms and Berger is using Florida as a model.
    Plus to enact sweeping education reforms behind closed doors in a short session is hubris of the highest degree.

    Get what you pay for when you elect today’s republicans. Or should I say ALEC gets what they pay for. Shame on this leadership and double shame on any democrats who vote to approve this draconian madness.

  5. Sundance Kid

    June 20, 2012 at 11:31 am

    “Public school children shifted to private schools at less cost to the taxpayer. Private schools can do the job at less cost = happy taxpayers.”

    Sorry, taxpayers lose on two counts: one, the corporation’s millions in tax cuts don’t go to the state coffers, so that’s money the state doesn’t have for education and second, the voucher money could be used to support our public education.

    As a NC taxpayer, I cannot support our public tax dollars going fo scholarships to teach religious doctrine and flat-earth myths. This is unconstitutional.

    There are no happy tax payers here, only happy corporate fat cats and private religious schools who can vend their educational responsibilities out to for-profit firms who in other states that have followed this scam are getting rich.

  6. Frank Burns

    June 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    It’s up to the parents to decide if they prefer for their children to attend a private or religious school, not you. For children to get a high quality education, with some high quality discipline in the classroom, at less cost makes the NC taxpayers extremely happy. This will allow us to cut the public school budget while getting more bang for the buck. The only thing we will have to put up with is more whining from the Advocacy Groups who want to maintain the status quo. I reckon we can handle that.

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