There’s so much spin coming out of the far right camp these days about North Carolina’s declining commitment to public education that you’d think the Loony Tunes Tasmanian Devil had developed their talking points. Or maybe it was David Copperfield or some other magician who specializes in making things disappear when you’re not watching.
Whichever the case, the whole thing would be downright laughable if it weren’t so sad and the cuts to the classroom weren’t so painful and unnecessary. After months of tearing down “government schools” and claiming they were “broken” and “failures” and “in need of competition from the private sector,” conservatives are suddenly falling all over themselves to profess their love for public schools and to claim that their plans for a radical education overhaul weren’t so radical after all.
As Chris Fitzsimon notes in today’s column:
“Legislative leaders and the folks at the think thanks on the Right are getting very nervous these days as the truth about the education budget passed by the General Assembly this year is spreading across North Carolina….
The right-wing spin machine is in overdrive to explain it all away. There are overheated columns by a Republican Senator calling critics of the budget liars and demeaning teachers and education professionals by calling them “educrats.”
There are rushed talk show appearances by right-wing pundits to mislead listeners after parent and parent calls to express their frustration with the cuts to the classroom.
And there is a long, disjointed and meandering diatribe on the cookie-cutter websites of many Republican lawmakers that grossly distorts the budget numbers and blames everybody else for the education budget and the neglect of teachers—local governments, past legislatures, even teachers themselves.”
Fortunately (and sadly too, since it would be nice if we really could wave a magic wand and make the education cuts disappear) spin won’t make this mess go away. With kids headed back to school this month all over the state, the reality of what state leaders have wrought is becoming all too clear. The months of attacks on public schools and the budget cuts they brought about are being felt across the state.
As Chris notes:
“Expect more vitriol in the coming months, more name-calling and nasty remarks about “educrats” and plenty more manipulation of the numbers by lawmakers and conservative think tanks alike.
But here is the truth. The budget passed this year by the General Assembly hurts public schools and the students who attend them.
Don’t listen to the right-wing propaganda mills and don’t take my word for it either.
Ask your local school board member or superintendent. Better still, ask your daughter’s teacher or the principal at her school.”