Editorial: North Carolina expects better than Stam’s ‘petty insults’

The editorial board at the Greenville Daily Reflector writes this morning that Rep. Paul Stam owes an apology, not just to the State Superintendent, but the entire state following the House Majority leader’s remark that June Atkinson “stick to her own knitting.”

Here’s an excerpt:

stamatkinsonWhen the General Assembly negotiated the state budget earlier this year, education was key to the discussion. One controversial measure, pushed by Pitt County’s Rep. Brian Brown, created a voucher system by which low-income families could receive tuition assistance to send their children to public schools. As could be expected, the routing of public dollars to private institutions caused considerable disagreement in Raleigh.

This week, Atkinson offered her opinion that unequal standardized testing will make it difficult to determine the relative strength of public schools versus private schools. Lawmakers did not mandate that all schools use the same tests so there will be differences in the scores reported. The state’s top elected education official said she would like to see common tests used in all schools.

Apparently asked for his response, Stam, a Republican representing Apex in the House, offered: “She should stick to her own knitting.”

It is absolutely galling to think that, in an attempt to dismiss reasoned criticism about the quality of classroom education, one of the state’s most prominent officials could be so dismissive and, frankly, so insulting. Atkinson has three times won statewide election, yet Stam felt it necessary to speak down to her using a predictable gender stereotype rather than politely disagreeing with her assessment.

With House Speaker Thom Tillis actively campaigning to be the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, Stam’s leadership position makes him the natural replacement. But North Carolina expects better than petty insults from its leaders. It is critical that debates about policy remain professional rather than personal, especially when the subject is the future of the state’s education system.

Stam owes the superintendent an apology, one that should be extended to the rest of the state.’

You can read the full editorial here.


  1. Alan

    August 15, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Never going to happen. ‘Skip’ is a zealot, full of anger and full of hate…

  2. Kathy B

    August 15, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Not uncommon behavior. When insecure men are threatened by women they generally revert to gender stereotypes. Republican men seem particularly prone to this problem – See McCrory and cookiegate

  3. thepaulatics

    August 15, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Please join me in sending this editorial to Rep. Stam. I want to make sure he sees it. His arrogance and abuse of power needs to stop.

  4. Skeptic

    August 15, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Taliban Stam clearly meant “knitting a burqa.” What a fascist.

  5. Betty J

    August 15, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Stam clearly doesn’t value the contributions women have made to our society. Maybe he should take up knitting and let intelligent people with some common sense run the NC Legislature…..obviously, that isn’t happening.

  6. Alan

    August 15, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Dear Skeptic, I must take issue with your characterization of one of one elected officials as a fascist. Most decent fascists would be horrified to be put in the same category as this character.

  7. Cynthia

    August 15, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Disgusting behavior from an elected official! But given the recent behavior in Raleigh I’m no longer surprised by the level of stupidity that comes out of the Republican Right!

  8. Alan

    August 15, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Is it just me, or does ‘Skip’ look like he’s really constipated in this picture?

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