The over-the-top invective and mean-spirited attacks from the leader of the North Carolina’s state Senate, Sen. Phil Berger, continue to spew forth with disturbing regularity. Today, using language and uttering accusations that one would have thought unworthy of one of the state’s top elected officials, Berger described modest efforts by the North Carolina Association of Educators and other supporters of public schools to call attention to the state’s ongoing underfunding of its public schools and attacks on teachers as: “bully tactics of an organized union that puts kids’ safety at risk to gin up its membership and inflate the salaries of its executives.”
Good lord — somebody got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning!
The NCAE has, if anything, bent over backwards in recent years to try to work with GOP leaders in the General Assembly. Despite incessant, targeted attacks (lawmakers even convened a rump, after-midnight session to injure the NCAE!), the organization continued to do its best to to find common ground during the 2013 legislative session and frequently issued public praise for GOP lawmakers who would meet them halfway (or even a quarter-way).
Now, with their membership boiling over with frustrated and angry educators, the group helps keep the lid on what would have been, in effect, a wildcat walkout and works to promote a positive, forward-looking community dialogue event and this is the thanks it gets.
Bottom line: Berger’s attacks are both blatantly wrong in substance and utterly inappropriate in tone and spirit for any elected leader – especially one as prominent and powerful as the leader of the North Carolina Senate. If there’s any bullying occurring in the current education discussion in North Carolina, it’s Senator Berger who is the chief offender.