Take Senator Jerry Tillman, a co-chair of both the Senate Education Committee and Appropriations Subcommittee of Education. For those who may not follow the General Assembly closely, Tillman is a retired school administrator from the town of Archdale (on the Guilford/Randolph County line) and one of the Senate majority’s most blunt and confrontational spokespersons. Many a floor debate this session has featured a hard-edged Tillman speech in which the Senator has launched pointed barbs at his adversaries.
When it comes to the matter of whether the state has enough funding for public education in this year’s budget, however, Tillman seems to have gone all mealy-mouthed.
Here’s the Senator last month on his Twitter page: “Contrary to the spin, our budget allocates enough money to fund all needed teacher positions.”
Now here he is as quoted by Lynn Bonner in this weekend’s News & Observer story on the potential demise of teacher assistants in North Carolina: “we didn’t have enough to fund all the educational needs.”
I guess Tillman can make the argument these statements don’t directly contradict each other. Technically, “all needed teacher positions” is not necessarily the same as “all the educational needs.”
But if that’s his argument, the Senator is slicing the baloney pretty thin.
Common sense tells us this is, in fact, just the latest example of legislative leaders talking out of both sides of their mouths as the need arises.