NC Senate to school kids: We gotta give more tax breaks to rich guys, so no books for you

If you think we're kidding, think again. Your kids are getting screwed so Art Pope can shave another million off his tax bill. NC Policy Watch breaks it down.


I am hearing that they are

I am hearing that they are planning on eliminating the pay increase for obtaining a masters degree.

I'm a moderate Democrat.

It is almost as if...

...they sat down and tried to figure out what is the meanest, most unfeeling, extremist, attention-getting thing they could propose.

It really is. They have no concept of governing; it's all just about who can stake out the most extreme right positions (Berger: "I win!"). These self-centered turds apparently have no idea of the actual pain they are causing to countless people.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

You have a gift for understatement. They expect to cause pain

to as many as possible. It is their measure of political effectiveness. They sneer at anyone who is not powerful and view themselves as literally GOD'S chosen. One almost expects to see them strutting in uniform.

In another age they would convene the Inquisition as a matter of practical convenience...

Bitter vinegar

We tend to forget that this breed of new Republicans ain't your father or grandfather's conservatives.

Your dad or grandfather that was Republican was probably a small business owner or a working class World War II or Korean War vet. They might have been upset with the big expansion of government during the FDR years, but still had a basic respect for how the role that the government played in their everyday lives with infrastructure, education, justice or national defense. They would go to church and participate in their local communities and understood how the individual, the family, the church and the government could all work together to make things better for everyone.

Back in the days of Eisenhower and Nixon, the John Birchers and Ayn Rand types and religious extremists were the fringe of the party.

After Nixon's "southern strategy" and Reagan's "big tent", the Republicans went through a couple of decades of power struggles with the fringe voting blocks slowly pushing out moderates.

What we have now has been distilled down to the most extreme of the extremists.

Religious fanatics that live in some mythic "Father Knows Best" world of the 1950s created by television that want to use the government to indoctrinate kids into their own world view, bring back the criminalization of homosexuality, and put women in their place. They want the government to conform to their own beliefs to the exclusion of everything else - they want to dismantle public school system so that their tax dollars can fund their own religious schools and religious organizations.

There's the Ayn Rand types who don't want the government operating public schools at all. They'd rather see funding for schools go away completely and let everyone pay for their own kids education, but will "compromise" by defunding public education enough to cripple it and make it die.

The third wing of the party are the businessmen. Unlike the small business owners that were Republicans back in the Eisenhower and Nixon days, these guys have enough money to throw around that they can buy the kind of government they want. They don't give a damn about what happens in their local communities or their state - they only thing they care about are tax cuts so they can have more money, power and influence. They're happy to see the religious fanatics and Ayn Rand types play their little games, just as long as they can preserve their wealth and live in their little gated communities away from everyone else.

Race and bigotry play a big part with all three of these groups. They see minorities and people of color as a threat and would like nothing better than to live in a world where they don't have to deal with people that don't look or think like they do.

The moderate, Eisenhower style Republicans are still out there that care about things like good public education are still out there, but they have no power. The money of the businessmen have pushed out their moderate candidates and installed corrupt ideologues in their place.

So, yes, what you're seeing is the most extremist, heartless proposals you can imagine. It's a philosophy about public education and the role of the government formed by these three extremist groups - religious nutcases wanting some kind of mythic "Christian Republic", Ayn Rand conservatives taking Reagan's rhetoric about "government being the problem" and wanting to dismantle it, and ultra-rich business interests willing to let the State go down the tubes for a few more dollars in their bank account.

I like to think of the Republican party that was once a fine wine, but has been aged to the point that it's distilled into a very bitter and poisonous vinegar. Any moderate, level-headed conservative should be working seriously to dump the whole corrupt mess in the river and start again.

This new breed of Republicans

At least in NC and the rest of the old confederacy, this new breed of Republicans are the ideological descendants of segregationist Democrats in the mold of Strom Thurmond, George Wallace, et. al. "Republican" was a dirty word in the South after Lincoln and Reconstruction, until enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Those who complain that Democrats controlled NC government for more than a century tend to forget that, until 1970, Jesse Helms was a Democrat.


The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

The opportunist

I was never convinced that Jesse Helms had any cogent political philosophy. He was a pork barrel Senator that would say anything to get his name in the news and get re-elected.

Not to defend Helms, but he understood one thing that the current breed of Republicans don't. Helms was well known for having the most efficient and responsive office in the Senate - any problem a constituent brought to him, he'd get his staff to try solving.

Helms understood that it took more than money, race-baiting, or connections to stay in power - ultimately, you had to answer to the voters.

McCrory, Tillis and the rest of them in NC think they only have to answer to their lobbying firms, commercial interests, conservative non-profits or churches backing their campaigns.

Helms understood that you needed to piss off - and court - the right people to get elected and stay in power. Helms made enemies during his decades in office, but he made enemies of people that couldn't harm him in any significant way.

The New Republicans are pissing off people that _do_ matter - voters, the business community, the conservative media, and even the staff that work in state government offices. Good luck with that strategy, guys.

Jesse Helms once wrote back to me.

Before the age of emails. We totally disagreed, but I wish I had saved the letter. It is a relic from the past that will never come back. McCrory and my state senator has yet to answer any of my emails.

My state legislator...

... wrote me back when I sent him an email about Amendment One.

It was the most insulting, condescending email or letter I've ever received from anyone, basically saying that we're in a Christian nation and my religious beliefs - or lack of them - don't matter.

Went to a meeting yesterday at our board of Education

We found out that Person Co. is losing funding and some flexibility in how it spends the money is will continue to receive because our students are not performing well enough on state exams and our students get suspended more than the state says they should. Special ed funding and jobs were particularly impacted. So the teachers who help the students who need the most help wil be less able to do so.

So get that .... Our resources get cut because our students are in trouble academically and behaviorally. This is after years of budget cuts, 1 paltry raise in 5 years and having to return money to the state every year (reversion) so the twits in Raleigh can pretend to give us more money than we can actually use.

So how about we cut funding for the fire dept. every time a house burns down? Or cut salaries for police everytime a crime goes unsolved? Or take resources away from hospitals when people die?

Education is being destroyed by these corporate thinking, ALEC-ized, M.F. bastards.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

Teacher resigns in disgust

Not in NC, but this sort thing is going to happen with more frequency. So who will replace these dedicated professionals? ..... According to the boys in Raleigh unlicensed teachers in private or charter schools with no background check and packing heat. Sounds more like a concentration camp than a school.

Here is the link to the article/video.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

Teacher video

Coming soon to schools all across North Carolina. No doubt that's exactly what the Tillisberger has in mind.

To them, education is an eighty percent affair

The conservatives don't see education as an end in itself, but as a means to a job, or entry into post-secondary education. If kids only learn eighty percent of what they need to learn, that is probably OK with the conservatives, since most of those kids will be in menial jobs with menial pay. Liberals seem to want education to be useful in children's lives, though they are often divided on the details.

Education as a means to a job

I think you're partly right.

Conservatives tend to think of terms of "skills" - knowing how to use a computer, write a business letter, how to do math, memoring history facts or even how to write cursive. That's why they're so enamored with standardized testing.

Extremist conservatives also tend towards viewing schools as a means of control - instilling specific behaviors and beliefs in kids so they're well behaved and submissive to authority.

This model of teaching and learning was popular fifty and sixty years ago. Doing drills. Saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Taking lots of "bubble" tests that were easy to grade by teachers and easy to track by administrators.

It all emerged out of the military training models of World War II and the Cold War.

Conservatives tend to think that school should be much like it was when they were kids. But, while they weren't paying attention or just shutting their ears, professional educators did reams of research and studies that showed kids and adults learn in different ways and need to move away from developing "skills".

Modern educators see learning more holistically. Students learn facts at a basic level, but are pushed towards higher level thinking skills - problem solving, investigating issues, working in teams and drawing their own conclusions.

This model absolutely frightens conservatives to their core. It produces kids and college graduates that can do things like question sources of web sites, media or politicians. Or even the teachings of their church.

Progressives and liberals need to push on this. We don't need to be teaching students skills and checking off lists of "facts" they need to learn. In order to compete in the marketplace, they need to know how to _think_.

If they're laid off from a job, they need the basic ability to learn and change. When going into a job, they need to know how to think and act independently and how to work in a team of people in their workplace that may not believe or behave just like they do.

The conservative model of teaching and learning is perfect for making low level factory and service workers.

I don't think any parent in North Carolina wants an assembly line, call center, or fast food counter as the only option in their kid's future.

We still say the pledge at

We still say the pledge at the start of every day........but other than that I think you nailed it.

I'm a moderate Democrat.

Both skills and higher ordered thinking need to be ...

developed in today's students. I see single digit addition and subtraction punched into calculators ALL THE TIME at my high school. Very few students have any sort of conceptual understanding of fractions. Most could not tell you the difference between a dependent and an independent clause and would have trouble picking out the subject of a 10+ word sentence.

Those skills are necessary to serve as a foundation for the more advanced educational models, the problem solving, the analysis, and synthesis. Technology and the ubiquity of MC, high stakes testing are combining to make our students far less than they could be. Few read for pleasure. School is just something you do during the day before you get home to play Halo 3 or get on social media with your friends. Young people do not need to be students because all they need to do is pass that stinkin' test at the end of the year. Tests that are rigged to be easier to pass than a regular test in school normally is. You can get about half of the questions right on some tests and pass.

Some of this is about to change with Common Core, MSL's and supposedly new testing formats that make use of varied types of questions, but will it all be for the better, who knows.

Teaching kids how to think and learn on thier own should be the goal. Basic skills are the foundation on which to build the higher ordered thinking. Assuming your premise is valid, conservatives are correct about the need for basic skills while liberals are correct to push educators to build on those skills.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

Yep, the skills need to be there

I agree - teaching of basic skills needs to be there.

You need to understand how math works before you can use a calculator. You have to understand sentence structure before you can use a word processor and create something cogent.

The Republican plans for education, however, seem to be focused on skills through the high school level.

Did you notice the proposals being floated around by the Republicans for two types of high school diplomas - one based on "skills" and the other on "college prep"?

The Republicans are making a basic assumption that _only_ skills are needed in a modern workplace - unless you're part of an elite that can afford a college education.

It's a rather stark choice the Republicans leave NC parents. A job working the counter at McDonald's or going to college and becoming a manager. It's really giving up on kids before they even start.

I find it offensive that anyone would think for even a moment that a high school degree based only on skills would be acceptable in this day and age. We can do much better.

If that is the intent of the R's then you are correct

then that would be segregation by education, a form of apartheid almost. A disgusting notion. There has long been a work skills diploma (or now certificate) in place that students who are cognitively impaired earned through developing work skills in their classrooms and using them in community work locations while they are in high school. That is a good thing imo, but it would seem that the R's have other intentions as you say for it would not make any sense to have a diploma/certificate that does the same thing as the program that is already in place for students with disabilities.

Perhaps I should read the bill. Do you know a bill # or have a link?

Educators and Education have enough concerns without these idiots in Raleigh making it more difficult.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

It's Senate Bill 14

It creates two different high school diploma certifications - "career ready" and "college ready".

McCrory's pr on it here.

"Sponsored by Senators Jerry Tillman (Randolph), Harry Brown (Onslow), and Dan Soucek (Watauga), Senate Bill 14 encourages students to enroll in courses that will lead to a diploma with an endorsement indicating that they are either “career ready," “college ready,” or both. It also directs the State Board of Education to update the curriculum for career and technical education courses, as well as revise licensure requirements for career and technical education teachers."

When the bill was introduced, Chris Hill of the NC Justice Center said that it could be used to push minorities into vocational tracks because of their historically lower graduation rates.

McCrory and the Republicans pushed the bill to "create jobs" and to make vocational pathways "equal" to going for a college degree. However, McCrory's on the record dismissing a liberal arts degree, even though he has one himself.

The bill itself creates the certifications mandate and basically leaves it up to the State Board of Education to develop the standards.

This idea of vocational tracks in high schools have been pushed by conservatives in recent years as part of larger school reform plans. I found one study from 2004 that showed mixed results - drop out rates between the college bound and vocational tracks were similar.

Others are looking the issue of drop-out rates and preparing students for the job market in a more holistic way. The suggestions range from better counseling so students make better choices to retooling curricula so that the value of the work students are doing and how it's connected to future paths is more obvious. You can read a detailed Harvard grad school study on the issue here or get the short version in an online news article. It made news with the headlines concentrating on the "Should all kids go to college?" angle, but there's much more to it than that.