Republican attack on public education

The fallacy of cutting teacher assistants in K-3

Sliding back into mediocrity:

It is instructive to understand how teacher assistants came about in the first place. The position was first created and funded by the state as part of the 1975 Primary Reading Program. The goal of the program was to improve literacy among children in early grades. My mother was among the first group of teacher assistants hired in the state.

Significantly improved student achievement scores followed. It makes sense – adding another instructor immediately cut the ratio of student-to-educator in half, which gave more time for individualized attention to struggling students.

That student-to-educator ratio is the key, not only to better learning outcomes, but to basic issues dealing with health and safety, too. For the last couple of hours, I've been perusing child-to-caregiver ratios from various states for the licensing of day cares, and the ratio for children aged 6-12 varies between 1:15 and 1:19 or so. When you increase the ratio beyond these levels, significant safety issues emerge, even with children in the upper age range. If you don't believe that, volunteer as a chaperone on a school field trip for 2nd or 3rd graders. I dare you.

With Cope gone, SEANC wakes from its slumber

Only to find itself in an anti-government nightmare:

Buried deep in the Senate budget proposal that lawmakers passed last week is a provision that would eliminate state-paid health retirement benefits for teachers and state employees who are hired after January 1, 2016. “This puts the state at a major disadvantage in the recruitment and retention of state employees, teachers, and university faculty compared to other states,” said Chuck Stone, director of operations for the State Employees Association of NC (SEANC), of the Senate’s push to jettison the health retirement benefit.

Dana Cope always prided himself on knowing what Legislators were planning to do, and working his little back-room deals that (supposedly) benefited his members. But aside from throwing NCAE under the bus over the paycheck dues issue, the rest appears to have been smoke and mirrors:

The GOP's targeting of UNC System institutes and centers

Ideology hiding under the cloak of efficiency:

Supporters of the review say the process is a responsible and long-overdue look at how universities spend state money.

Critics charge the Board of Governors, now dominated by Republican appointees, with political bias. The UNC centers on the Board of Governors’ short list include ones that advocate for civil rights, women’s issues and the Cherokee people. One center is named for former Gov. Jim Hunt, a Democrat. Another, a poverty center, is led by Gene Nichol, a UNC-Chapel Hill law professor whose public comments about state government have angered conservatives.

Typical behavior of a tyrannical regime cementing its rule. Get rid of college professors and the research they were working on, especially if that research could/would demonstrate the negative effects of your policy approaches. And for Art Pope and his minions, it has the added benefit of clearing the field so their propaganda will get more exposure and less criticism.

On Art Pope and the UNC System

A few jabs from Thomas Mills to set the tone:

It’s part of why North Carolina developed a reputation as a beacon of light in an otherwise dark South. Our university system became an engine of economic progress that has made the Triangle a leader in the information age and one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country.

Pope doesn’t believe in any of that. He believes that the free market is the key to success. Higher education should be little more than job training and critical thinking skills learned in a liberal arts curriculum have little place in his world. Pope is neither a manager nor a deep thinker. He’s an ideologue born with a silver spoon in his mouth who has spent his life forcing square pegs into round holes.

Many of those discussing the possibility of an Art Pope-directed UNC System are focusing on how he might cut programs, but the more likely result would be a skewing of the curriculum, something he's been trying to do for years. But I'll let one of UNC's professors explain:

AP US History debate: Dancing to an idiot's music

I can't believe they're even listening to this guy:

"These professors had an agenda. We've already alluded to it. Basically, they saw America not as an exceptional nation but one nation among many in a global society," said Larry Krieger, a former high school history teacher and opponent of the standards.

Krieger, who has authored a test preparation book on the AP exam and written critiques of the new course for conservative websites such as Breitbart.com, has become one of the leading voices calling for additions to the AP U.S. history guidelines. He also argues that the new guidelines are incomplete – failing to include study of important historical documents such as the Magna Carta.

Dude, the Magna Carta was penned eight hundred years ago across the Atlantic Ocean, long before Europeans "discovered" America, and even longer before they rose slightly above their ignorance and declared it independent of the crown. If you taught that document in your US History class, that goes a long way to explaining the "former high school history teacher" status.

McCrory (again) tries to blame University system for dismal employment numbers

Tilting at the ivory tower:

In his keynote speech Sunday for UNC’s 221st birthday celebration, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said that universities must prepare more students for technology and research jobs that need to be filled right now.

If that doesn’t happen, he said, thriving industries could leave the state:

“To ensure we get a return on our investment – more importantly, to ensure that no more students at any of our universities graduate with a huge debt, and no job comparable to their investment – universities must continue to help decrease the job gap by honing in on skills and subjects employers need while also stimulating a student’s passion and interest.”

McCrory is basing much of this most recent attack against universities on a Q3 Manpower Survey, which is where he got the 36% stat on employers complaining about talent shortages. But that's the Global average; the US is actually at 40%, which tells you McCrory didn't even read the damn survey, somebody just tossed him a percentage to quote. Which also explains why he missed the most important findings of said survey:

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