Public ed cutsYou gotta hand it to the conservative politicians running state government these days; their willingness and capacity for waging war on public schools (what they often derisively refer to as “government schools”) and the educators who make them work remains something to behold.

Fresh off what was quite arguably the worst legislative session for the state’s public schools in memory; state legislators are now attacking already demoralized teachers and concerned parents for having the temerity to utter even a modest peep of concern. The utter spitefulness of these attacks is really something to behold and, is as is so common with conservative fire-breathers, so disproportionate to the protest that it really makes a body wonder who is advising these people.

Honestly, you would think that at some point these folks would figure out that the more they treat teachers and public schools as punching bags, the more damage they are doing to their long-term political prospects.

But I guess when you’re such a true believer in the anti-public education cause that you’re willing to fund schools that teach that slavery wasn’t all bad and that humans and dinosaurs trod the earth together or command teachers to tell untruths about human reproduction, you probably figure might as go all in with the plan to tear down and privatize  the whole system.

NC Budget and Tax Center

As North Carolina continues to recover from the Great Recession, growing more good-paying jobs in the state will require a skilled and educated workforce. As BTC analyst Cedric Johnson writes in the latest issue of Prosperity Watch, an increasing number of jobs are expected to require some level of postsecondary training, and meeting this workforce demand means that a growing number of the state’s public school students must exit the state’s education pipeline prepared to compete in a 21st century economy. And nowhere is this more important than among North Carolina’s lowest income public school students, a growing population that typically needs additional instructional supports to finish high school and enter the workforce fully prepared. See the latest Prosperity Watch for details.



This morning’s Winston-Salem Journal features an excellent editorial deriding the decision of Gov. McCrory and the General Assembly to turn all of the state’s public school teachers into temps.

“Hard-working teachers deserve job security

North Carolina’s judicial branch will decide if the legislature acted legally when it ended job protections for public school teachers and instituted a system of one-to-four-year contracts.

No matter what the court says, however, it is clear that the legislature’s actions are not good for students or fair to some very hardworking teachers. Read More


In case you missed it, the Wilmington Star News ran a thoughtful editorial on Saturday on the state’s continuing effort to turn all public school teachers into temps. Here’s one highlight:

“Tenure, officially known as ‘career status,’ does not prevent school districts from firing teachers for incompetence or misconduct, but it does require that they document sufficient cause. The state’s school districts have proven reluctant to go through that process, instead encouraging a resignation and “passing the trash,” as the practice is unofficially known, to other unsuspecting school districts. Attempts to address that problem by making more personnel information public have met with opposition from politicians who would rather keep such details secret from the people who pay the bills.

Tenure was designed not to shield bad teachers but to protect the jobs of good teachers against political whims and personal vendettas – complaining about a principal or speaking out against policies they believe are bad for public education, for example. Any contract should also spell out those protections.”

You can read the entire editorial by clicking here.


In case you missed it, Charlotte lawyer Luke Largess had an excellent letter to the editor published in the Charlotte Observer yesterday on the oft-misreported subject of teacher tenure and the conservative crusade to turn all state public school teachers into, effectively, temps.

“Last Friday’s Observer reported the misgivings of superintendents and school boards over the end of teacher tenure, and the challenge in determining who will be the 25 percent of teachers to be offered four-year contracts with $500/year pay raises. Sunday’s editorial also discussed these issues. But the Observer disserves this important discussion by continually repeating two Republican myths about these coming changes.

The first fable is that tenure must end because only 17 tenured teachers were fired in the 2011-12 school year. That number, from a line in the annual Department of Public Instruction report on teacher turnover, ignores the full DPI report and the story it tells.

The central fact: 11,791 teachers left their jobs that year, including 5,599 with tenure. Some tenured teachers left voluntarily, but DPI’s report shows that many were forced out. At several stages in the dismissal process, a tenured teacher can resign. The 17 “dismissed” teachers either went through the statutory hearing process to the bitter end, or never requested a hearing and were dismissed summarily. DPI’s 2012 data show that most teachers put in the dismissal crucible resign. 147 tenured teachers “resigned in lieu of termination” in 2012. And that figure also only tells part of the story. Read More