October 5, 2020/Media, Press

ICYMI: Teacher Slams Berger and Moore for “Decade of Backward Priorities and Terrible Leadership”

Raleigh – In an op-ed published in the Charlotte Observer, Justin Parmenter, a teacher at Waddell Language Academy in Charlotte, slammed Republican legislative leaders for actively weakening North Carolina’s public education system through 10 years of savage budget cuts.

“A full decade of backward priorities and terrible leadership has led to this crucial election at a time when our schools are desperate for change,” wrote Justin Parmenter. “We need people in power who see public education as a human right and not a commodity. We need leaders who truly believe that our children deserve the opportunities that a high quality public education can provide.”

Democrats in the General Assembly this year introduced HB 1129 and HB 1130: the Democratic plan to ensure and invest in a Sound Basic Education for all of North Carolina’s Children. These bills were never brought to a vote.

Charlotte Observer: NC can leave the Dark Ages on education

  • When Tea Party Republicans took over state government in 2010, their veto-proof majority in both chambers of our General Assembly began an education policy Dark Age, churning out bill after bill that harmed our schools.
  • Legislators removed the cap on charter schools, and their number has since doubled. These schools siphon money away from traditional public schools and increase racial and economic segregation, and they have failed to provide better alternatives for students who need the most help.
  • They cut master’s pay, making North Carolina the first state in the countryto revoke advanced degree salary increases. They slashed funding for teachers assistants. We’ve lost 7,500 since the peak a decade ago.
  • Legislators created the Opportunity Scholarship voucher program, sending tens of millions of dollars each year to unaccountable schools which are legally able to discriminate based on factors like religion and sexual orientation.
  • They defunded the North Carolina Teaching Fellows program, a high-quality source of committed, homegrown teachers.
  • Lawmakers have blocked school construction bonds from ballots, despite favorable financial conditions and a documented $8+ billion in infrastructure needs.
  • They stripped retiree health benefits starting January 2021, making it harder to recruit and retain good teachers in North Carolina at a time when enrollment in our state’s teacher preparation programs has plummeted 35% since 2013.
  • Breaking the majorities in the House and the Senate will allow pro-public education legislators to end North Carolina’s education Dark Age and get to work building the K-12 education system we need.