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Phil BergerThe 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 Read More

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There are a lot of reasons that supporters of public education in North Carolina are speaking up and showing their support today by “walking in” to public schools. Today’s “Monday Numbers” edition of the Fitzsimon File spells several of them out with disturbing clarity. 

Yesterday’s editoral in the Charlotte Observer also hit the nail on the head when it explained:

“Supporters of teachers and public schools are encouraged to visit schools, wear red to symbolize support for education, thank teachers in person or leave messages of thanks. Teachers at some schools plan to urge supporters to join school parent groups or volunteer or support schools in other ways. At some schools, there are plans for discussions before and after classes about what teachers are facing each day….

This sounds like a good approach.

GOP Senate leader Phil Berger last week lambasted the ‘walk in’ as a ‘political protest orchestrated by unions” and reminded the teachers that “schools have a duty to educate and protect our children.’ But it is Read More

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An editorial in the Asheville Citizen-Times provides new and damning evidence about the real world impact of the state’s FY 2014 budget for public schools.

As the editorial explains, local PTO’s and PTA’s have resorted to passing the hat in order to fund vital instructional positions in their public schools that Gov. McCrory and the General Assembly left unfunded.  

“Parent-teacher groups are caught between increased demands and reduced resources. The demands will continue to increase as long as the state abdicates its responsibility to fund the public schools properly. Read More

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From the good folks at the ACLU-NC:

Randolph Board Votes to Reverse Ban on “Invisible Man”
ACLU of NC Says Episode is Valuable Reminder of Duty to Promote Academic Freedom and Reject Censorship

ASHEBORO – Tonight, the Randolph County Board of Education voted 6-1 to reverse its previous vote banning Ralph Ellison’s literary classic, “The Invisible Man,” from Randolph County schools.

In response, Chris Brook, Legal Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF) released the following statement:

“Tonight, the Randolph County Board of Education righted a wrong. The freedom to read is just as essential to a healthy democracy as the freedom of speech and all other rights protected by the U.S. Constitution. This episode should serve as a valuable reminder to students, teachers, parents, and school officials across the state of our ongoing duty to promote academic freedom, ensure the free exchange of ideas and information, and reject the always looming threat that censorship and suppression, for any reason, pose to a free society.” 

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School testsAt the risk of committing education policy world heresy by saying something positive about the Department of Public Instruction and the federal Department of Education, let’s hear three cheers for the following announcement from the NC Public Schools website:

“Thanks to a grant and supplemental funds from the U.S. Department of Education, every eligible North Carolina high school student who took an Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) exam last year will have his or her test fees covered.

As a part of the federal Advanced Placement Test Fee Program, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) will receive more than $880,000 to cover AP and IB exam fees for all low-income students who qualify. The Department will use the funds to reimburse districts for the IB exam fees and pay College Board directly on behalf of districts to cover outstanding balances they incurred for eligible students. Read More