Senator Thom Goolsby
Vladimir Lenin said, “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” Professional educrats (education bureaucrats) and their buddies in the mainstream media have taken this quote to heart.
Before Republicans passed the recent state budget, pundits on the Left had been screaming for weeks that spending on K-12 education was being cut by hundreds of millions of dollars. Here is just a little fact check for those who live in reality: Republicans increased K-12 education funding by almost five percent or $361,407,582.
So where are these cuts? Good question. One can do a web search and find literally hundreds of liberal media articles and reports bemoaning non-existent budget cuts to education. Where is a truthful answer to our question?
What has happened to fact checking and real reporting by the media? Has the press become so hyper-partisan that it is impossible for the truth to reach the common person?
Republicans made huge educational reforms at the state level and the Democrat-controlled, left-leaning teacher’s union (NCAE) is not happy. They lost every battle they fought in the last session of the General Assembly.
Republicans understand that children must have a good teacher in order to learn. That’s why they ended teacher tenure. This old system was so broken that only 17 of North Carolina’s 97,184 teachers were fired for cause last year. Really? Only 17 bad teachers out of almost 100,000? Remember, the NCAE does not represent schoolchildren or parents — it doesn’t even represent all teachers — just those that pay it dues to protect the status quo in education. Under Democrat rule, all teachers, good or bad, were guaranteed lifetime employment. Those days are gone.
Republicans have funded our state’s first locally controlled “merit pay for teachers” program. Over the next year, local school districts will develop a system that identifies their best teachers and rewards them with increased pay. That’s right, you won’t get paid more just because you have seniority.
Beginning in 2014, using a locally developed system, school districts will reward four-year contracts to the top 25 percent of the teachers in their systems. Even better, these contracts will provide $5,000 in pay for excellence to the best teachers, guaranteeing top teachers a $500 a year pay raise for four consecutive years.
What about the bad teachers? With the end of the teacher tenure system, local school districts will be empowered with the authority to remove bad teachers from the classroom. Now do you understand why the teachers’ union is so angry with the Republicans?
But, the GOP did not just stop there. Republicans adopted a new easily understandable grading system for public schools across the state. Every public school will be rated A through F. The new grading system takes into account early grade literacy scores, career readiness, overall student academic gains and preparedness for college. The NCAE did not like this plan either.
Lastly, the Republicans took steps to maximize instruction time by getting rid of unnecessary testing. The new changes also require that end of grade tests be administered only during the last two weeks of the school year in order to maximize classroom instruction time.
This is the new face of public education in North Carolina. This is real reform, not protection of the failed status quo. If you have not read or heard about these changes, you might consider changing your news source for a more credible one — unless you don’t care to live in reality.
Thom Goolsby is a state senator, practicing attorney and law professor. He is a chairman of the Senate Judiciary 1 and Justice and Public Safety Committees.