To the Editor:
North Carolina’s once proud public education system is under siege by the radical Republican gang in control of state government. Thanks to the last round of budget cuts, North Carolina ranks 48th in per pupil spending and teacher salaries, below South Caroli-na.
The gang is now working on even more diabolical legislation to privatize education. Senate Bill 337 sets up a separate charter school board, removing these schools from regulation by the State Board of Education. It also takes funding and facility space from public schools, eliminates requirements for charter school teachers to be certified, and makes criminal background checks optional. This is another step on the road to privatize public education in N.C..
House Bill 944 is even more blatant. It diverts $90 million from already underfunded public schools to private schools for vouchers. While this will be devastating to public schools, availability of vouchers has not been shown to improve student achievement. In Milwaukee, the oldest voucher program in the U.S., study after study has shown no improvement in performance of students receiving vouchers. Florida voters defeated an amendment to channel public funds to private schools. And this month, by a bipartisan vote of 103-43, the Texas legislature (not exactly a hot bed of liberalism) voted against using taxpayer money to fund private education. Numerous organizations have come out against HB 944, including the National Parent Teacher Association and the National Rural Education Association.
I would normally urge you to contact your GOP state legislators and beg them to support public education, but this is futile. They are in control now and will do as they please, answering only to the wealthy and corporations. They will continue to siphon taxpayer money to the wealthy and corporations who will fund their reelections. The only way to save North Carolina is to vote them out in 2014.