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Apparently, there is to be a HUGE teacher strike in October. News of the covert actions to bring such an event together started here:

Yes. It is real.

And then because everything that gets published on the internet is true, it grew into this from a gentleman who was on the Facebook thread of the above posting. He then constructed a letter to the editor that may be the basis of teaching both hyperbole and slippery slope this next fall in a logical fallacy lesson.

In fact, he wanted it to be shared. So, I am.

The “flyer” he is referring to is this.

Maybe the month of October is written in invisible font that only Mr. Goetze and his friends can see. Couple that with the insinuated guess that every time the word “collective” appears it makes him automatically think of “leftist unionizers” and you get this kind of missive.

But its worth hearing out someone who has never taught in public schools and who is not part of Red4EdNC but is certainly sure of what he is talking about.

Even though he doesn’t.

His words are in bold.

“It is time to school our teachers. Apparently they aren’t smart enough to understand the law.” Admittedly, I am not a lawyer. Something tells me that Mr. Goetze is not one either. But there is Article IX in the North Carolina State Constitution that expressly instructs the NC General Assembly to fully fund our public schools. The NCGA is not, and they are full of lawyers. In fact, many of the actions they have performed have been declared unconstitutional and unlawful. Is that because they do not understand the law?

And the last time I checked, teachers have First Amendment rights as well. In fact, part of our job is to advocate for students and schools.

“Are they seduced that easily by liberal organizers who find them useful pawns in advancing their own political agenda?” If having our public schools fully funded is a liberal agenda, then I am guilty. If advocating for students, teachers, and public schools makes me a gullible pawn, then so be it.

“Case in point. Every teacher who left the classroom recently to march in Raleigh broke the law. Administrators who knowingly facilitated their absence to do so became co-conspirators, along with every other person who helped to organize it. NC General Statute § 95-98 forbids collective bargaining by all public employees, including teachers. Strikes, walkouts and even work slowdowns are expressly prohibited by it.” I must have missed my court date or unknowingly broke out of my handcuffs or even a jail cell.

Actually, the march in May was not breaking the law. I, like so many other teachers, put in for a personal day which I am allowed to do. I happened to do it for May 16th. A number of other teachers ( thousands actually) used their rightful request for a personal day as well and we all met in Raleigh for peaceful demonstration. It was all lawful. Apparently, we are smart enough to understand the law.

In fact, I don’t recall a single arrest that day.

“Actually, our Legislators would be breaking the law by negotiating anything with such a group or their representatives, according to that statute.” But we have the right to peacefully demonstrate and call upon our representatives, do we not?

And, if Mr. Goetze has not noticed, our legislators really have a hard time just listening to us. That is unless it is election day.

“In spite of the law, both the NCAE and a cover group known as “Red4EdNC” are planning a week-long teacher strike in October just prior to the Fall elections for the expressed purpose of using those teachers to canvass neighborhoods to register voters.” I am a member of NCAE. I have not received that memo and I am wondering how Mr. Goetze became knowledgeable of that before I did. Furthermore, I am part of the Red4EdNC movement. They must have forgotten to send me a memo as well. And Red4Ed is a cover group? That one is a new one on me as well.

I also did not know we were going to spend a week canvassing voters during school days in October. But if we do, maybe we should canvass Mr. Goetze’s neighborhood. However, according to his Facebook account, he doesn’t even live in the state.

“Their websites make it clear that they intend to apply pressure after the election on the new Legislature to meet their demands on various issues despite that being an illegal act.” Which websites? How is that clear? If the legislature is new, then wouldn’t that mean that those people who have hurt public education would have been voted out? In fact, this old legislature gerrymandered the districts to try and make sure that there wasn’t a new legislature.

“When you connect the dots, it is readily apparent that two efforts share a common goal – gaining a Democrat majority in one or both houses of the Legislature this Fall and then lobbying them in the new session next year.” Which dots? The moving invisible ones that only Mr. Goetze sees?

I am still trying to figure out which week in October we are supposed to be striking. It is not apparent on those “websites.”

“Perhaps teachers aren’t smart enough to see through the smoke and mirrors. They can hand the Democrats a victory this Fall only to find out – ooops, we can’t really engage in collective bargaining with the General Assembly after all, but thanks for giving us back control over the Legislature.” There’s that slippery slope!

“It’s not about teachers and it’s certainly not about improving the education of our children.” Actually it is.

“This is just liberal politics at its worst and far too few of our teachers are smart enough to see it for what it is.” Oddly enough, advocating for strong public schools used to be the mantra of the Republican Party just a couple of decades ago. In fact, North Carolina once was considered the most progressive and best school system in the Southeast. It was a non-partisan issue.

It still is non-partisan, or at least should. Many of the teachers who marched in May are registered Republicans.

While Mr. Goetze may consider it to be a partisan issue, what public education is really is is a public good protected by the state constitution.

But according to him it is now liberal politics at its worst conducted by people who aren’t even smart enough to know the difference.

This coming from a man who just took a Facebook post and inserted words to fit his narrative to create a hyperbolic conspiracy theory that feeds upon itself to the point that he writes an op-ed for everyone to share.

Well, I will share it.

And respond to it.

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Recently Targetsmart, a data collection firm, released a report on voter registration entitled “ANALYSIS: AFTER PARKLAND SHOOTING, YOUTH VOTER REGISTRATION SURGES.”

In every one of the 39 states targeted except four, voter registration in the age group of 18-29 has risen.

In NC, it has risen by %5.5.

Joe Killian of NC Policy Watch highlighted this report in a post adding a quote from Targetsmart’s CEO.

A new generation of political leaders emerged in the aftermath of the Parkland tragedy,” Bonier said in the release Thursday. “We witnessed their ability to organize in North Carolina and across the country as massive crowds took to the streets for the March for Our Lives, and now we’re seeing a quantifiable impact from that organizing. It remains to be seen how many of these younger registrants will cast a ballot in November, but they are poised to have a louder voice than ever in these critical midterm elections” (http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2018/07/19/analysis-youth-voter-registration-up-since-parkland-school-shooting/).

Might just make November’s elections that much more important.

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You can be either “at” the table or “on” the table.

For teachers in North Carolina, there are many other prepositions that could identify the relationship between the legislation process and teacher input such as “under” the table, “without” a place at the table, or “behind” the table.

As a veteran public school teacher, when I see entities like BEST NC or other “business-minded” reformers defending or lauding a piece of legislation, I take it with a grain of salt.

Or an entire salt block.

Aside from the glowing generalities that sprinkle the rhetoric of many a reformer, I could not help but think that so many other “innovations” that have been created and enacted in North Carolina, they lack a crucial and vital component: teacher input.

Think of  those “new and pioneering solutions” that include the new principal pay plan, the rise of charter schools, the expansion of vouchers, the gutting and rebirth of a distant relative in the Teaching Fellows Program, and much more.

They all have one thing in common: no teacher input.

When the NC General Assembly went into GOP hands and McCrory came to the governor’s mansion, the process of “reforming” education began in earnest. There was the removal of due-process rights, the removal of graduate degree pay, Standard 6, push for merit pay, bonus pay, removal of longevity pay, removal of class size caps and then the placing of class size caps without funds to hire extra teachers or build extra classrooms, etc.

The list goes on.

Were there any teachers involved in these reforms? Any teacher advocacy groups consulted? Any way a teacher could chime in?

Those are not rhetorical questions. And considering that the current General Assembly seems bent upon diluting the voice of groups like NCAE, it should not be a stretch to realize that teachers are not consulted when it comes to schools.

The Report on Education Legislation from the 2017 Session of the General Assembly released by DPI and the State Board has a list of all of the bills that were passed that in one way or another affect public education.

From pages 4 and 5.

Excluding the “local bills,” how many of those bills and “reforms” had teacher input? How many of those initiatives had any consideration from teachers and asked for contributions from public school educators?

Look at SB599. Sen. Chad Barefoot’s idea of streamlining the teacher recruitment process literally allows for teachers to enter the profession with very little preparation. Was there teacher input?

Again, not a rhetorical question. And do not let it be lost in the world of sadistic irony that Barefoot was the chief champion of the newest version of the Teacher Fellows Program.

When education reformers try and push their agendas can they actually really claim that they have extended relationships with actual teachers and teacher groups?

I do not think so. And that resembles the modus operandi of the NC General Assembly who in 2016 crafted in a special session the very “laws” (like HB17) that were battled over in courts that enabled a man with hardly any educational experience to run without checks and balances the entire public school system.

And the very criteria that measure teacher effectiveness and school performance are established and constantly changed by that same body of lawmakers without teacher input will always translate into a narrative that reform is always needed.

At one time we as a state led the nation in educational innovation.

We sure did. We were considered one of the most progressive public education state systems in the country.

But that was before teachers were not allowed to be “at” the table any longer.

However, there is one way that the table ( and the menu) can be reclaimed: voting on issues like public education in November.

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In the long session of 2014, the NC General Assembly raised salaries for teachers in certain experience brackets that allowed them to say that an “average” salary for teachers was increased by over 7%. They called it a “historic raise.”

However, if you divided the amount of money used in these “historic” raises by the number of teachers who “received” them, it would probably amount to about $270 per teacher.

That historic raise was funded in part by eliminating teachers’ longevity pay.

Similar to an annual bonus, this is something that all state employees in North Carolina — except, now, for teachers — gain as a reward for continued service. The budget rolled that money into teachers’ salaries and labeled it as a raise.

That’s like me stealing money out of your wallet and then presenting it to you as a gift. And remember that teachers are the only state employees who do not receive longevity pay.

Just teachers.

It’s almost like the North Carolina General Assembly doesn’t even want to have teachers be considered employees of the state.

This summer will be the fourth summer that veteran teachers will not receive longevity pay. For the many veteran  teachers who have never really seen a raise in the past 6-7 years in actual dollars, the loss of longevity pay actually created a loss of net income on a yearly basis.

Consider the following table compiled by John deVille, NC public school activist and veteran teacher who has chronicled the various changes in educational policy for years. He tracked the recent teacher pay “increase” and used DATA-DRIVEN logic to show something rather interesting.

What deVille did was to compare salaries as proposed from the recent budget to the 2008-2009 budget that was in place right before the Great Recession hit, the same financial catastrophe that most every GOP stalwart seems to forget happened ten years ago. Adjusting the 2008-2009 salary schedule with an inflation index from the Bureau of Labor, the third column shows what those 2008-2009 salaries would be like now. Most steps see a shortfall. Add to that the loss of longevity pay that was used to help finance these “historic raises” and the amount of money lost by teachers over these past ten years becomes rather eye-opening.

Longevity pay does mean that much to veteran teachers. It also means a lot to the NCGA because they used its elimination to help wage a systematic war against veteran teachers.

In the last four years, new teachers entering the profession in North Carolina have seen the removal of graduate degree pay bumps and due-process rights. While the “average” salary increases have been most friendly to newer teachers (financed in part by removal of longevity), those pay “increases” do plateau at about Year 15 in a teacher’s career. Afterwards, nothing really happens. Teachers in that position may have to make career-ending decisions.

The removal of longevity might make those decisions easier to make on a personal level, but more difficult for the state to recover from.

Veteran teachers fight for schools, for students, for fairness in funding, and for the profession. When they act as a cohesive group, they represent an entity that scares the current leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly like nothing else.

One of the best ways to act as a cohesive group is to vote in November.

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On July 2nd, State Superintendent Mark Johnson sent the following letter to upper level leaders at DPI.

Alex Granados of EdNC.org recently released a report on Johnson’s letter.

With the 8 June 2018 North Carolina Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of Session Law 2016-126, I am now exercising my authority under that Act to manage administrative and supervisory personnel of the Department. Accordingly, I am changing your position appointment from “dual report” to reporting [only to the Superintendent directly] or [to the Superintendent through the Deputy State Superintendent]. The change in your appointment is effective immediately,” Johnson wrote (https://www.ednc.org/2018/07/17/state-board-of-education-loses-power-over-dpi-leadership/).

It should not be forgotten that literally the week before this letter was sent, Johnson had his HR department deliver pink slips to over 40 DPI staff members whose jobs were compromised by the very same people who gave Johnson his “authority.”

Earlier today, a brave person working at DPI shared a perspective of what it is like inside the very place where Johnson has “authority.” It is found as a comment to a previous post on this blog – https://caffeinatedrage.com/2018/07/15/nearly-1-in-5-nc-students-are-opting-out-of-traditional-public-schools-and-its-a-deliberate-plan/.

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.

Johnson’s authority is maintained by his “SILENCE and inaction.”

It would be interesting if a viable and wide-spread poll could be carried out over the entire state that would measure the public’s approval of Johnson’s job. It would also probably be even more damning if that poll was given only to public school teachers.

Consider this – a corporate attorney who taught for two school years through a program that historically does not place many long term teachers into the public schools, who did not complete a full term as a school board member and has never had a child in the public schools was elected in the most contentious election year in recent memory to become state superintendent. After he was elected and before he took office, he was granted more power as a state superintendent by a gerrymandered legislature in a special session that was thought to be called to repeal HB2. He then spent the first sixteen months of his term “embroiled” in a legal battle with the state board of education that is controlled by the same political party and literally has been a non-public figure while a budget that expands vouchers, keeps charter schools from being regulated, lowers per pupil expenditures for traditional public schools, and cuts the budget for the very department he is supposed to run.

All on the taxpayers’ dime.

And he is now exercising his empty authority.

If a principal ran a school in this fashion, the negativity would blot out the sun. If a teacher facilitated a class in this manner, student achievement would be stifled.

Voting out Mark Johnson’s enablers in November would go a long way into restoring integrity as an ingredient in the way we are treating those who directly support our public schools.

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It is theorized that one of the reasons that the recent General Assembly session was so quickly finished was to hopefully allow the emotional and visceral reactions to the recent budget to possibly subside a little. Maybe allow for people to forget what happened and let time work some magic in the memories of public school teachers and advocates.

Almost six months divides that day in May with Election Day in November.

Two of those months have already passed. And the new school year will be starting in a little over one month.

So, what can be done between now and November? Lots.

  • You can canvas for political candidates who are pro-public education.
  • You can make sure that friends and relatives are apprised of the current situation in North Carolina’s public education system and make sure that they are voting.
  • You can join education activist efforts to help galvanize more and more people. Red4EdNC.com is a great place to start.
  • You can call or email your legislators about issues and ask questions.
  • Be sure to look at local elections for school boards and county / city commissioners and make sure which ones are most sensitive to the plight of public schools.
  • Connect with others on social media and spread the word.
  • Volunteer to register voters and maybe even drive some to the polls.
  • Find out about early voting and absentee voting options and help those in your family or circle of friends who may need these avenues to participate.
  • If you are not a teacher, then volunteer at a school in the early fall or go to events sponsored by the school and take others with you so they can see how important public schools are.
  • Wear Red 4 Ed.
  • Wear spirit wear from your local schools.
  • Remember what 20,000 teachers looked like on May 16th and how much that rattled the current powers-that-be.
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NPR recently did a report on “robo-grading” of student essays via computer for standardized tests and other constructed responses. It’s a growing field in which proponents have touted advancements in artificial intelligence and savings of time and money.

Developers of so-called “robo-graders” say they understand why many students and teachers would be skeptical of the idea. But they insist, with computers already doing jobs as complicated and as fraught as driving cars, detecting cancer, and carrying on conversations, they can certainly handle grading students’ essays.

“I’ve been working on this now for about 25 years, and I feel that … the time is right and it’s really starting to be used now,” says Peter Foltz, a research professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He’s also vice president for research for Pearson, the company whose automated scoring program graded some 34 million student essays on state and national high-stakes tests last year. “There will always be people who don’t trust it … but we’re seeing a lot more breakthroughs in areas like content understanding, and AI is now able to do things which they couldn’t do really well before.”

Foltz says computers “learn” what’s considered good writing by analyzing essays graded by humans. Then, the automated programs score essays themselves by scanning for those same features.

“We have artificial intelligence techniques which can judge anywhere from 50 to 100 features,” Foltz says. That includes not only basics like spelling and grammar, but also whether a student is on topic, the coherence or the flow of an argument, and the complexity of word choice and sentence structure. “We’ve done a number of studies to show that the scoring can be highly accurate,” he says (https://www.npr.org/2018/06/30/624373367/more-states-opting-to-robo-grade-student-essays-by-computer).

If you look at Foltz’s job title, you will see that he works for Pearson. It would not take very long to research the relationship that North Carolina has with Pearson. It’s rather complicated.

The idea that a student’s written response could be graded by a computer is hard to fathom for this AP English teacher. If there is any language that colorfully deviates from a linear construction of putting words together with words from the world’s most vast lexicon, it’s English.

One can see how grammar, usage, and mechanics could be “screened” by a computer program. But voice, syntax, language, tone, diction, imagery, figurative language. Graded by a computer?

Several states including Utah and Ohio already use automated grading on their standardized tests. Cyndee Carter, assessment development coordinator for the Utah State Board of Education, says the state began very cautiously, at first making sure every machine-graded essay was also read by a real person. But she says the computer scoring has proven “spot-on” and Utah now lets machines be the sole judge of the vast majority of essays. In about 20 percent of cases, she says, when the computer detects something unusual, or is on the fence between two scores, it flags an essay for human review. But all in all, she says the automated scoring system has been a boon for the state, not only for the cost savings, but also because it enables teachers to get test results back in minutes rather than months.

Money. Time. Savings.

That’s a recipe that the North Carolina General Assembly would like and they sure would not mind going through Pearson to do it. In a state that houses some of the best departments of teacher education in the South and has a university system rife with technology and learning, it would make sense for a state government that controls the state superintendent’s office to go to a private entity to not spend money on authentic grading.

It’s just their way.

Peter Green, a veteran educator and writer who also has a great blog called Curmudgucation, wrote a piece on robo-grading for Forbes this month called “Automated Essay Scoring Remains an Empty Dream” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/petergreene/2018/07/02/automated-essay-scoring-remains-an-empty-dream/#3f6c594b74b9).

He writes,

…but the basic problem, beyond methodology itself, was that the testing industry has its own definition of what the task of writing should be, which more about a performance task than an actual expression of thought and meaning. The secret of all studies of this type is simple– make the humans follow the same algorithm used by the computer rather than he kind of scoring that an actual English teacher would use. The unhappy lesson there is that the robo-graders merely exacerbate the problems created by standardized writing tests.

The point is not that robo-graders can’t recognize gibberish. The point is that their inability to distinguish between good writing and baloney makes them easy to game. Use some big words. Repeat words from the prompt. Fill up lots of space. Students can rapidly learn performative system gaming for an audience of software. And the people selling this baloney can’t tell the difference themselves. That’s underlined by a horrifying quote in the NPR piece. Says the senior research scientist at ETS, “If someone is smart enough to pay attention to all the things that an automated system pays attention to, and to incorporate them in their writing, that’s no longer gaming, that’s good writing.” 

In other words, rather than trying to make software recognize good writing, we’ll simply redefine good writing as what the software can recognize.

Computer scoring of human writing doesn’t work. In states like Utah and Ohio where it is being used, we can expect to see more bad writing and more time wasted on teaching students how to satisfy a computer algorithm rather than develop their own writing skills and voice to become better communicators with other members of the human race. We’ll continue to see year after year companies putting out PR to claim they’ve totally got this under control, but until they can put out a working product, it’s all just a dream.

He’s right.

You just can’t automate voice.

Makes one think if this is the direction for North Carolina on a large scale because there are many in Raleigh who do not want people to develop voice.

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As always, thanks to Dr. Ravitch for keeping North Carolina in the national spotlight.

Diane Ravitch's blog

NBCT High School Teacher Stuart Egan writes here that public school enrollment in North Carolina has dropped to 81%,just as the Tea Party Republicans hoped. As public schools are starved of resources, growing numbers switch to religious schools, charter schools, virtual charters and Home schools.

Who has made this happen, in addition to the Tea Party?

“Consider the following national entities:

*Teach For America
*Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
*Walton Family Foundation
*Eli Broad Foundation
*KIPP Charter Schools
*Democrats For Educational Reform
*Educational Reform Now
*America Succeeds
*American Legislative Exchange Council
*National Heritage Academies
*Charter School USA
*Team CFA
*American Federation for Children

“They are all at play in North Carolina, totally enabled by the powers-that-be in the NC General Assembly and their supportive organizations.”

Think of it: 81% of the students in the state attend public schools, but they don’t matter!

To make matters worse, all the…

View original post 39 more words

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This past week, the Raleigh News & Observer printed a report entitled “Nearly 1 in 5 NC students are opting out of traditional public schools. Does it matter?” in which T. Keung Hui gave an overview of the continuing trend of more and more students leaving traditional public schools and attending private, charter, and home schools.

For the third year in a row, enrollment has fallen in North Carolina’s traditional public schools even as the number of students continues to rise in charter schools, private schools and homeschools. The percentage of the state’s 1.8 million students attending traditional public schools has dropped to 80.8 percent and is continuing to fall rapidly (http://amp.newsobserver.com/news/local/article214708040.html?__twitter_impression=true).

It is a report that should be read but it should be read in conjunction with an editorial that the N&O Board released a day afterward on Hui’s piece. It is entitled “Shrinking public schools reflects the state’s neglect.” It is spot-on.

That editorial states,

What’s happening in North Carolina is that a concerted effort by the Republican-controlled General Assembly is starving public schools of resources and encouraging the expansion of educational options that lack standards and oversight” (http://amp.newsobserver.com/opinion/article214851905.html?__twitter_impression=true).

That concerted effort is actually a three-headed attack aimed to shed an ill-favored light on public schools to help bolster more students attending non-traditional schools.

  1. Too many privatization entities outside of North Carolina are allowed to shape our education system.

Look at the graphic below:

That is a diagram of the relationships between entities that many public school advocates deem as detrimental to our public school system. It’s very busy and probably confusing. It’s supposed to be.

Consider the following national entities:

  • Teach For America
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Walton Family Foundation
  • Eli Broad Foundation
  • KIPP Charter Schools
  • Democrats For Educational Reform
  • Educational Reform Now
  • StudentsFirst
  • America Succeeds
  • 50CAN
  • American Legislative Exchange Council
  • National Heritage Academies
  • Charter School USA
  • Team CFA
  • American Federation for Children

They are all at play in North Carolina, totally enabled by the powers-that-be in the NC General Assembly and their supportive organizations. If you want to see how all of those relationships have panned out in NC and are affecting traditional public schools, then refer to this post: Too Much Damn Privatization of Public Schools.

2. The North Carolina General Assembly is Ignoring the Factors That Hurt Public School Student Achievement.

Last fall, the venerable James Ford of the Public School Forum delivered the keynote address at the North Carolina English Teacher’s Association. It was more than exceptional as Ford highlighted that what hurts our schools are external factors that are not being dealt with such as systemic poverty.

Part of his presentation included a version of what is called the “Iceberg Effect” for education. It looks like this:

Ford talked about (and he is not alone in this belief) how what is above the water, namely student outcomes, is what drives educational policies in our state.

Notice that he means what is visible above the water line is what drives policy. That is what the public sees in the press. That is what lawmakers and leaders hark on when discussing what to do about public education.

But look under the water level and one sees poverty, violence, inequity & inequality, and lack of support of young families and for the schools that service the children of at least 80% of those families.

And then it is hard to not think of the state refusing to expand Medicaid for our most needy. It is not hard to think about the Voter ID restriction law amendment and HB2.

Those have effects. HUGE EFFECTS!

3. The North Carolina General Assembly Has Directly Attacked the State’s Public School System.

The list of actions gets longer everyday.

  • Removal of due-process rights
  • Graduate Degree Pay Bumps Removed
  • A Puppet of a State Superintnent
  • SB599
  • Ever-Changing Teacher Evaluation Protocols
  • “Average” Raises that do not translate to verteran teachers
  • Less Money Spent per Pupil when Adjusted for Inflation
  • Removal Caps on Class Sizes
  • Unregulated Charter Schools
  • Jeb Bush School Grading System
  • Cutting 7400 Teacher Assistants in last ten years
  • Opportunity Grants That will reach almost a Billion Dollars with no Proof of Success
  • Virtual Charter Schools That Have Fialed
  • Reduction of Teacher Candidates in Colleges
  • Elimination of Teaching Fellows Program and reinvention in a different entity.
  • Municipal Charter Bill

When all of the factors from these three fronts are synchronistically orchestrated by a super-majority that is aiming to continue the trend of more students leaving traditional public schools, then it becomes apparent that to preserve traditional public schools is paramount.

And that N&O editorial stated it best:

If North Carolina is going to foster school choice, it should first ensure that choosing a traditional public school anywhere in the state is an excellent choice” (http://amp.newsobserver.com/opinion/article214851905.html?__twitter_impression=true).

The NCGA is not doing that –  deliberately.

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When John Hood pens an op-ed that touts how well school reform in North Carolina has served our state, one should start looking for the cherry pits being spit out because such op-eds tend to be nothing more than cherry-picking at best.

Consider his latest from the Carolina Journal and reprinted in EdNC.org entitled “North Carolina excels in school value” (https://www.ednc.org/2018/07/13/north-carolina-excels-in-school-value/).

I invite you to take a look at it. He claims that NC has a “top-ranked system.” In no place in this missive does the word “teacher” ever appear.

Again, the word “teacher” never appears.

The underlying presumption is that the  “reforms” put into place by the current NCGA have allowed for this “top-ranked” moniker to be placed on NC’s crown.

And Hood talks about delineating along the lines of student backgrounds and social variables.

With that definition in mind, here’s one piece of evidence I’ll cite for my factual claim. Every two years, the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests a representative sample of students across the country in 4th- and 8th-grade reading and math. Using the Urban Institute’s handy tool for adjusting the 2017 NAEP results for age, race or ethnicity, native language, disability, and poverty, I determined that only four states ranked in the top 10 on all four tests: Massachusetts, Florida, New Jersey, and Indiana. Three other states — Virginia, Georgia, and North Carolina — were in the top 10 on three of the four tests.

So age, race, ethnicity, native language, disabilities, and poverty have something to do with results? And they can be used to weigh in on “achievement?”

That’s actually nice to hear from Hood – that he would consider those factors in measuring student and school achievement. But it begs another question? Would John Hood allow for those “adjustments” in results to be used for the other metrics that are used by the very NCGA he praises to measure public schools?

Just consider the poverty factor. That alone seems to account for a lot when it comes to measuring schools.

Can we use Hood’s “analysis” to adjust for “age, race or ethnicity, native language, disability, and poverty” in school performance grades that are being used to fuel the false narrative that NC needs vouchers?

Can we use Hood’s “analysis” to adjust for “age, race or ethnicity, native language, disability, and poverty” in identifying low-performing schools that are being used to fuel the false narrative that NC needs an Innovative School District?

Can we use Hood’s “analysis” to adjust for “age, race or ethnicity, native language, disability, and poverty” in school performance grades that are being used to fuel the false narrative that NC needs municipal charters?

Can we use Hood’s “analysis” to adjust for “age, race or ethnicity, native language, disability, and poverty” in school performance grades that are being used to fuel the false narrative that NC needs more charter schools?

Because he’s sure as hell using them to talk about how great our public schools are. And if Hood is going to use factors like poverty and disabilities in proving that they have an effect on school achievement and scores on tests, then he is doing nothing more than showing you that the NCGA is not really addressing those factors in their other policies.

Think of the Voter ID amendment, the not expanding of Medicaid, and the fact that over a fifth of our students actually live below the poverty line, and you can see how Hood’s op-ed is nothing more than a exercise in cherry-picking.

But if you really want to see how cherry-picked Hood’s assertions really are, then just read this Twitter thread that an actual budget and policy analyst provides in response to Hood’s assertions.

That last tweet says it all:

“#nced isn’t broken, but it’s being broken by #NCGA incompetence/malfeasance, and students of color and students from low-income families are disproportionately paying the price.”

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