IMPROVING NC SCHOOLS

By Diane Lemieux

I am a retired teacher, administrator and college professor. These are my recommendations for Tim Moore’s House Select Committee/ Education System for NC’s Future.

1. Charter/Private Schools

They are more segregated than traditional public schools (TPS).  By race and also for religion. Public funds shouldn’t be used for religious schools.

They use public funds but are not required to tell anyone how they spend it.  Their budgets and books are not required to be transparent.

They have no required curriculum.  This will lead to a generation of students getting whatever skills and information they were taught instead of a generation where students graduated with similar skills.  One religious school decided to teach their students that there were no such things as dinosaurs. 

They have different criteria for meeting the standards than TPS.  In traditional schools, 80% of the students must meet the standard. In charter/private schools/vouchers, only 60% of the students must meet the standard. Comparing how many students meet the standard is comparing apples to oranges. 

They are sold to parents as a choice, when many of them funnel taxpayer money into private pockets, and their bottom line is profit, not students. End the voucher program and cap charter schools.

2. FUNDING

It is criminal that you and the NCGA have ignored the Leandro recommendations for 20 years.  You should be ashamed of yourselves for declaring that some NC students are more deserving than others. I am ashamed of you.

You are facing a teacher shortage currently and in the pipeline. Do you see teachers and superintendents fleeing? Your requests and demands of them, especially without adequate pay and benefits, are chasing them out the door.  Demands to post a year’s worth of curriculum, lesson plans and all materials online, when parents can access that material at school themselves, is outrageous. 

Adequately and equitably fund teachers, students and schools. We already have a blueprint for the future. Implement the Leandro Recommendations.

3. SCHOOL BOARDS

Your desire to make everything partisan has filtered down to school boards. Try to resist the urge to fire up your base with propaganda such as CRT.  K-12 schools simply don’t teach it.  Stop encouraging and training parents how to disrupt school boards over issues like CRT, book bans and masks and let them do their job. Stop using them to gain votes.  Let them follow science to make their decisions. 

Have you surveyed every parent in the school about masks, books to be banned, and their child’s history instruction?  Was teaching American history OK before 2018?  But now, apparently, it hurts some people’s feelings and shouldn’t be allowed. (Talk about snowflakes) Should we not teach civics, American history, Nazi Germany, civil rights, the constitution?

I want my children to learn about all history, so that we might learn from our mistakes, understand the hate that made some history possible, and to make the world a better place. Schools serve the greater community. Curriculum is designed through a statewide, transparent process. It is designed to create a well-rounded, productive member of society. State standards and curriculum should not be taken over by any small segment of the community or state. If parents want to oversee every curriculum decision and lesson plan, let them start their own school. 

Allow school boards to do their job in a non-partisan fashion for what is best for ALL kids, not just the ones with the loudest parents.