NC Teachers

Justin Parmenter on the GOP's "indoctrination" conspiracy theory

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Grabbing a quote and running with it:

The Iredell County legislator ignored the overall point I was making about the challenges the pandemic has wrought for teachers and students, directing his tunnel vision at my opening words: “Not long ago I was leading a discussion about environmental pollution with my 7th grade English class…”

For McNeely, this line, which I “prominently displayed” in the state’s three largest newspapers, exposes a sinister plot to deviate from state standards in support of the leftist agenda.

I'm actually seeing this more and more with Conservatives these days. If they seem to be "listening intently" to what you are saying, don't make the mistake of assuming they're interested in the point you're driving at. They are simply waiting for some kind of "gotcha" element to pounce on, however trivial or out of context it is. It is intellectually weak to do this, and riddled with logical fallacies. But they don't care about stuff like that. Back to Justin's message about the proper approach to teaching:

COVID 19 has exacerbated the looming teacher shortage

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Not unlike rubbing salt into a wound:

Few professions have been more upended by the pandemic than teaching, as school districts have vacillated between in-person, remote and hybrid models of learning, leaving teachers concerned for their health and scrambling to do their jobs effectively.

For students considering a profession in turmoil, the disruptions have seeded doubts, which can be seen in declining enrollment numbers.

One thing this pandemic has exposed is the sheer hypocrisy and selfishness of many of the parents out there. Being forced to help their 2-3 children cope with and succeed at online learning during the quarantine should have given them a better understanding of what teachers have to deal with on a daily basis (try to imagine 30 instead of 3). But way too many of those parents have gone in the opposite direction; directing their anger over personal hardship at educators and school districts. Conservatives have gotten especially vicious in that regard, making this even worse:

Justin Parmenter sets the record straight on GOP critics of online learning

Hypocrisy is their middle name:

In the case of Craig Horn, who has served a full decade in the House, it’s particularly ironic to hear criticism of online education efforts. Last year, rather than using his leadership position to call on the General Assembly to commit resources to removing barriers to in-person Pre-K attendance, Horn championed the shockingly bad idea of having 4 year-old children of poverty attend virtual Pre-K. Keep in mind, that was before anyone had even heard of COVID-19.

Numerous studies have shown that access to Pre-K vastly increases a child's performance in later school years, but it's the flipside of that coin that many Republicans are really opposed to: The ability of young mothers to get back into the workforce while their child is attending. And the fact many of those young mothers are black is also on their minds, no matter what arguments they concoct to distract from that. For those who haven't had to worry about child care for a long time, it now costs north of $1,000 per month (my daughter paid $1,250 in 2020). More from Justin:

Education funding is turning the tide for Democrats

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The GOP's misleading propaganda is losing its luster:

Democrats won elections for governor in both Kentucky and Louisiana. In Virginia, which has a Democratic governor, Democrats won control of both chambers in the legislature for the first time in more than two decades. It’s too much to say that recent elections in the South turned only on education; rather, education fit into the package of factors that led to Democratic victories, which relied heavily on a strong turnout in major cities and on gains against Republicans in suburbs.

Bolding mine, because suburban voters hold the key in both state-wide elections, and in apportioned districts (federal and state). Urban voters are solidly blue while rural voters are strongly red, but the suburban vote is a huge enigma. Well-educated, middle-middle to upper-middle, suburbia also boasts a surprising number of registered Democrats. That doesn't guarantee their vote (trust me), but outreach can generate a positive response. You can also trust me when I say, the GOP spends a lot of time and money blowing smoke up suburban voters' arses. Back to the teachers:

Civitas deploys "Red Scare" tactics (again) over teacher rally

Propagandists do what propagandists do:

“This is not a march for Democrats. This is not a march for Republicans. This is a march for our future.” But almost as soon as the new protest was announced, critics attacked the decision.

The conservative Civitas Institute has questioned holding the event on May Day, a day associated with labor union events, and for using “Marxist symbolism” by having a red fist in logos promoting the event. “They want to be disruptive,” said Civitas president Donald Bryson. “It’s not about parents or students. It’s about bringing a socialist labor union movement to North Carolina. That’s why it’s on May 1.”

What Donald Bryson fails to mention, either because he knows it will undermine his argument or (more likely) because he just isn't smart enough to understand: It was a labor movement (Solidarity) that broke the Marxist choke hold on Poland back in the early 1980's, and ushered in democratic reforms that (for the most part) still hold today. If anything, it's people like Berger and Bryson who most resemble those Communist Party leaders in Moscow and Gdańsk who saw the danger of losing their absolute power under such a movement. But Mark Jewell gets it:

Mark Johnson's "ClassWallet" program is a costly boondoggle

Somebody should design an app to detect idiots:

Several influential Republican lawmakers and GOP State Superintendent Mark Johnson announced Wednesday the creation of the N.C. Teacher Classroom Supply Program that would be funded by new legislation requiring school districts to transfer $400 to each teacher. If passed, educators would use the ClassWallet app to spend the money and to submit reimbursements for supplies they purchase.

“Giving teachers the maximum control over classroom supply funds is the ultimate local control,” Johnson said at a news conference. “Teachers can be nimble and they can use these funds to buy what they need, when they need it.”

This is even worse than we initially thought. If that money was given directly to teachers, they could pool their resources and make larger (bulk) purchases, and/or contribute to local businesses. But being forced to use an app restricts their choices, and allows for the (huge) inflation of prices. Don't just take my word for it, listen to the teacher:

Teaching supplies "shell game" criticized by education leaders

Robbing from Peter to pay Paul could make matters worse:

After Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson backed a bill Wednesday that would shift money from school districts to give teachers $400 each for classroom supply needs, several State Board of Education members expressed issues Thursday with the bill’s potential consequences for districts.

Both teacher advisors on the board, 2017 Teacher of the Year Lisa Godwin and 2018 Teacher of the Year Freebird McKinney, were vocal Wednesday about their opposition to Senate Bill 580, saying the reallocation of the money would take away resources districts need to buy supplies and equipment in bulk. Thursday, board member Jill Camnitz said she agrees with the advisors’ sentiments.

Not only is Mark Johnson not qualified to be NC's SuperNintendo, he apparently has a damn short memory. Just last Summer, he took money that was supposed to be disbursed to individual teachers and bought a bunch of IPads with it:

LA teachers score victory after short strike

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Could this be a template for North Carolina teachers?

Preliminary numbers show that a "vast supermajority" of union members in Los Angeles have voted to approve a deal with the city's school district — ending the six-day teachers strike. The decision means teachers will head back to class on Wednesday.

Some teachers expressed frustration, saying the deal didn't go far enough, while others said they were relieved. "I'm pretty excited," said Jennifer Liebe-Zelazny, a fourth-grade teacher at Alta Loma Elementary School. "Nobody got everything, but everybody got something."

Before you say, "That's one county, not the whole state," LA County has a bigger population (over 10 million) than North Carolina. A more relevant argument against the comparison would be the difference between a genuine union and an association, because a direct action of this magnitude here would have varying consequences depending on where you teach. But when you look at what they achieved in just six days, it might be worth the risk:

Damning report on teachers' out-of-pocket expenses

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When government austerity creeps into the classroom:

Pencils, pens, crayons, construction paper, T-shirts, snacks and, sometimes, a pair of shoes: The costs add up for public school teachers who reach into their own pockets for classroom supplies, ensuring their students have the necessities of learning. Nearly all teachers are footing the bill for classroom supplies, an Education Department report found, and teachers in high-poverty schools spend more than those in affluent schools.

The report, prepared by the National Center for Education Statistics and released Tuesday, is based on a nationally representative survey of teachers during the 2015-2016 school year. It found that 94 percent of teachers pay for classroom supplies, spending an average of $479 a year. About 7 percent of teachers spend more than $1,000 a year.

Keep in mind, this is a national report. When your state's per-pupil spending hovers in the bottom 20% of schools nationwide, the burden that falls on teachers (and their students) is that much greater. We can no longer afford the GOP's bait-and-switch, where they moan about out-of-control spending, cut back on programs, brag about surpluses, then give huge tax cuts to the rich. And then when budget time comes again, they restart the same old formula. It amounts to incremental decay of our public education system, something that takes decades to repair. This is not a new problem; teachers have been suffering this funding nightmare for years. So why now? Why the big push for more responsible government funding? Because in the last 25 years or so, teachers' incomes have been steadily declining in comparison with comparable non-teacher professionals, making it much harder to make ends meet:

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