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The best editorial of the weekend decries the right’s war on teachers

In case you missed it, be sure to check out the Sunday lead editorial that appeared in the Greensboro News & Record and Winston-Salem Journal. In “A new attack on teachers,” the authors highlight and rightfully decry the most recent efforts by conservative politicians to gin up unwarranted hostility toward the nation’s beleaguered corps of public school teachers.

After reporting on the dispirited lament of soon-to-be-departing Guilford County schools superintendent Sharon Contreras regarding the level of combativeness and hostility that has been let loose on the schools, the editorial blasts the rash of GOP-introduced bills in North Carolina and around the country to micromanage and, effectively, spy on teachers:

In North Carolina, Rep. Hugh Blackwell (R-Burke) is pushing an “academic transparency” bill that would require teachers to post online lesson plans used in classrooms, including “textbooks, videos, lesson plans, digital materials” — a requirement that would likely provide ammunition for another wasteful culture war.

Parents can already access the material that each grade covers. The guidelines have been established by the N.C. Department of Instruction and are widely available online.

This might seem a mild, isolated incident, a failure of legislators to “read the room,” if it weren’t for the fact that it folds so neatly into other Republican attacks on public education across the nation.

More than 150 bills have been introduced in 39 states this last year that would restrict the teaching of certain curricula, mostly on issues of race and gender. In some of the laws being pushed, parents could sue teachers and school districts if they’re unhappy about curriculum choices.

The editorial goes on to point out that this campaign is part of a concerted national effort by the political right that is taking a severe toll on teachers. It reports that:

A recent poll conducted by the National Education Association found that 90% of its members say that feeling burned out is a serious problem, 86% have seen more teachers quitting or retiring early since the pandemic began and 80% say that job openings that remain unfilled have added to the workloads of those who are still teaching.

Meanwhile, of course, school funding in North Carolina (along with salaries and staffing) continues to lag well behind national averages, and even further behind what would actually be adequate to maintain a truly first rate 21st Century education system system.

The editorial’s on-the-mark bottom line:

Now is the time for parents of all political persuasions to express their support for educators — not just privately to the teachers they know and appreciate, but to our legislators in Raleigh. Tell them to stop harassing teachers and support them instead.

And vote accordingly in November, by supporting the candidates who will improve public education, not starve and smear it and sap the spirits of its greatest champions: front-line teachers.

Click here to read and share this excellent essay.

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