One of this weekend’s “must read” editorials appeared in the Sunday edition of the Winston-Salem Journal under the headline “Low-performing schools: Local system right to stand up to legislature.”
The subject was last week’s over-the-top interrogation at a General Assembly oversight committee during which Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and his lieutenants lined up to bash and harass some hardworking local school officials from Winston-Salem. The subject was Berger’s ill-conceived and destructive school grading system which, as Senator Bob Rucho admitted in a Freudian moment, is “designed to to show that the (public school) system has failed.”
Here’s the Journal:
“Earlier this year, the legislature changed the definition of ‘low-performing schools’ in a way that greatly expanded their number. The legislature then called for special reports on such schools, and threatened school principals whose schools were defined as ‘low performing” for more than two years. As a result, the number of schools in Forsyth County — and throughout the state — that meet the definition have increased significantly, undermining schools that were showing progress and threatening them with dire consequences.
Our school board pushed back with two resolutions, stating that the system would apply the same standards to all its schools and that the system would not take action against any of the principals at the schools in question, calling the requirement to do so ‘arbitrary and capricious.’
So the legislative leaders, who have never shown much love for public education, called our educators on the carpet.
While there, [Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Superintendent Beverly] Emory and [school board Chairwoman Dana] Jones tried to discuss the issues, but the legislature was more interested in making sure that our school system would comply with their dictates….
Unfortunately, the senators weren’t about to listen. As the editorial noted:
“Emory said at one point: ‘Do we intend to comply? Absolutely. Are there differences in opinion here? Yes.’
Ultimately, our system will have to follow the legislature’s dictates or risk even more funding cuts as long as the current crowd is in power.
But it’s beyond frustrating that these legislators don’t take our local officials’ well-thought-out concerns seriously. We know that our local officials are dedicated to better educational outcomes for all their students.
This current slate of legislators has repeatedly shown that it has nothing but disdain for public education. It has continually cut resources for public schools. Its treatment of North Carolina teachers has sent scores either to other states or out of the profession altogether. It has insisted on transferring tax money from public schools to charter and private schools with a scarcity of oversight.”