Sen Phil Berger

Berger's Blunder: Read To Achieve has completely failed

But that should come as no surprise to teachers and administrators:

While improving reading outcomes is a worthy goal, it was obvious from the beginning that Read to Achieve lacked the educator’s touch. The initiative attempted to improve reading by increasing the volume of assessments in grades K-3 and ratcheting up the threats of retention, essentially punishing children for not being able to read well enough in early grades. It’s not the approach an effective teacher would take.

DPI warned the General Assembly that the volume of assessments the legislation added to 3rd grade was too high and that the pace and funding of implementation didn’t provide enough professional development for teachers to effectively transition to the new system. The General Assembly had also slashed Pre-K funding 25% from pre-recession levels at the time, and DPI informed legislators that quality early childhood education was one of the most important components of building a foundation for literacy. All of that feedback fell largely on deaf ears.

No big surprise at all. The GOP's operating mantra has been, "My bad policy is greater than even the best policies of other people. And if my policy ends up failing, it can easily be blamed on those other people for not properly supporting it." Just to give you an idea of the consequences of this mandated program, here's an excerpt of the letter sent to parents explaining it:

Berger's GenX "fix" earmarks $1 million for newly created Collaboratory

While refusing to fund the purchase of a Mass Spectrometer for DEQ:

The bill contains similar funding to the House version, which Senate leadership rejected outright last month. But instead of directing the state Department of Environmental Quality to buy a high-resolution mass spectrometer, the Senate version tells DEQ to use spectrometers already in place on public university campuses.

In addition to $2.4 million in new, one-time money, the Senate bill would re-direct $1 million a year in university system funding to the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is run by Jeffrey Warren, a former science adviser to Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.

And as a glaring example of Berger's failure to grasp irony, the bill also directs DEQ to cooperate with an EPA investigation that a) Doesn't exist yet because Trudy Wade and her Three Mouseketeers just asked for it, and b) Is based on DEQ's alleged inability to perform tasks the NCGA has seriously cut funding for. But irony aside for the moment, let's talk about that Collaboratory. Warren is actually the Research Director now and not the Director/Director, and he does have some serious scientific creds. That being said, it's all about the mission he's been given by Berger, and that mission focuses way too heavily on economics and not nearly enough on actual scientific solutions to water quality issues. From the Collaboratory's project on Jordan Lake:

Sen. Berger Losing Support in Home District

In case you missed it, Sen Berger is taking a bit of heat back home as the largest employer in Eden, Morehead Memorial Hospital, files for Chapter 11. The hospital cited a decline in revenues from competition from larger hospitals and NC's failure to expand Medicaid as why they needed to do this. For the immediate future, the hospital's 700 jobs are 'safe.' At least, they are as safe as jobs at any company that has filed for bankruptcy.

One constituent's Letter to the Editor says it all:

Failing hospitals

NC's power-mad Republicans once again in national spotlight

Like children running free in a candy store:

The session, complete with fervent protests, was a replay of a common scene over the last four years: Republicans in the legislature introduce a bill; Democrats argue against fiercely; a large number of protestors arrive and demonstrate; but the bills roll on with little impediment, thanks to large Republican majorities in both houses. Those majorities exist in part thanks to gerrymandered districts, some of which were so extreme that a federal court has ordered them redrawn and has shortened the terms of some legislators to a year in order to accommodate special elections in 2017.

Sometimes I get a little jealous of all those people who studiously ignore politics, and go about their day wondering what Victor on General Hospital has been up to or complain about somebody wearing pajamas at Wally World. But then I remember that a lot of those people actually *do* vote, and their inattentiveness is what helps these GOP mini-tyrants stay in office. But not everybody is standing idle, and the folks who drove to Raleigh to fight back deserve a huge round of applause:

Berger finally speaks on UNC Center, reveals true nature of program

And the partisan underpinnings are plainly visible:

Senate leader Phil Berger, an Eden Republican, said the concept originated with citizens who wanted to leverage university expertise to address state and local policy challenges. The collaboratory “was fleshed out and refined” through conversations with the UNC chancellor’s office, he said in an email.

“I have received numerous complaints about the existing philosophical and partisan homogeneity at UNC, where professors registered as Democrats outnumber Republicans by a ratio of roughly 12 to one,” Berger’s email said. “On several occasions I have recommended highly-qualified conservative candidates for positions at UNC and within the university system, and, to my knowledge, none have been hired to date.”

So your solution for that "imbalance" is to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to create an entity friendly to Conservative views and scholarship(?), and use that entity to give credibility to ineffective or counterproductive environmental policies. Gotcha. And who were these "citizens" who supposedly thought this up in the first place? I don't expect an answer to that question any time soon. If they actually exist outside of fiction, we likely won't be able to figure that out until the Center starts cranking out "research." But we'll be watching. Until then, here's what could be a warning:

Tillis, Berger & McCrory rush new legislation outlawing elitism

This is satire. Please take it in the humorous spirit in which it is written.

Both houses of the North Carolina legislature rushed into late night session to pass legislation outlawing elitism in North Carolina and Governor Pat McCrory signed it this morning saying, "This is an important law to protect average North Carolinians from being discriminated against. I wish it had been in place before I selected our poet laureate. She was held to much higher standards than the average poet could meet. That isn't fair. Average people deserve a chance to get awards too."

The law addresses several areas where Tillis, Berger, and McCrory felt average North Carolinians were losing out:

NC Scholars

The NC Scholars program was started in 1983 to designate those high school students with high academic performance. The NC Scholars program will now recognize all students with a GPA of 2.0 and higher.

Subscribe to RSS - Sen Phil Berger