Commentary

DPI insider posts another takedown of the agency and its support of school privatization

A North Carolina Department of Public Instruction insider who has been speaking out on the Caffeinated Rage blog of Forsyth County schoolteacher Stuart Egan has another damning assessment of Superintendent Mark Johnson and the ongoing effort of conservatives to privatize North Carolina’s public schools. The comment was posted early this morning on a post by Egan entitled “‘Nearly 1 in 5 NC students are opting out of traditional public schools’ – And It’s a Deliberate Plan.”

In his excellent post, Egan lifts up a recent news story and an editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer on the subject and goes on to explain in straightforward terms how the privatization scheme is being implemented and who the actors are that are behind it.

Here is the comment that the insider — who identifies themselves as “ncdpivet” — posted in response:

“This is so spot on. Everyone should translate ‘choice’ into ‘undermining of public schools’, because that is exactly what it is. The most sickening part is how low-income families and those of children with disabilities have been targeted, cajoled, hoodwinked and bamboozled into believing that choice automatically equates to quality. (Anyone who considers themselves conservative should be outraged at this profound misuse of their tax dollars.)

Unfortunately, I get to witness this erosion and implosion every day at DPI. I just met another of my colleagues whose job was eliminated by the General Assembly’s draconian cuts and our puppet superintendent’s ‘just following orders’ approach. It was so sad to see this person, who was providing passionate, competent and knowledgeable support to eastern NC schools trying mightily to serve their markedly low-income populations, tossed aside in this ponzi scheme to dangle ‘school choice’ in front of needy families. It’s like eliminating the road crew that is fixing potholes and cracks on I-95 and using the public’s money to build a flimsy expensive two-lane highway right next to it that has no markings, guardrails, speed limits or enforcement (with full kickbacks going to the private paving company). ‘Hey mom and dad — let your kids ride on this shiny new road because you’ll have a choice, and we all know choice is better!’

EdNC put out an excellent article a few days ago: https://www.ednc.org/2018/07/11/steep-cuts-to-north-carolinas-education-agency-hurt-low-performing-schools-the-most/. It perfectly spells out the absurdity in our agency and our feckless leadership. We’re told ‘shh, be quiet; this is a sensitive time’ for all our colleagues who were laid off, when in reality there should be a loud leader fighting for his folks every step of the way, even if the jobs could not be saved. You see, that’s how the damage really occurs here in our agency — not by vocal or visible action of those who ultimately have to answer to their supervisor every day, month and year, but by the SILENCE and joint inaction of the only ones in the agency who AREN’T supervised. The superintendent has no official boss and writes no annual work plan like the rest of us; instead, he gets a four-year ride and won’t have a whiff of accountability for another two and half years, long after the damage has been done. Meanwhile, scores of good people continue to walk out the door, either voluntarily or involuntarily, and the Public Schools of North Carolina will continue to suffer for it.”

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