Richard Brand: Amazing

I suppose it is a piece of the evidence for most people do not pay much attention. Or maybe it is evidence that some people will believe anything they hear. I did read a poll that said 10% of the population believes that aliens from outer space have stolen the missing far east airplane. But what I find so interesting is that our North Carolina Governor and the Republican legislators believes he can do it in public and get away with it.

It was their funny math, (did they learn that in their public education?) that enabled them to allow to expire a half cent sales tax which most people were willing to continue, that enabled them to promise a tax cut on all state income tax forms, then to turn around and eliminate the tax benefit on a great number of little items, like NC529 contributions being a tax deduction, and then end up with a possible $450 million dollar shortage in income. In order to get this new wonderful financial situation they also had to dramatically attack the public education system. They cut funding for schools, stopped support for aides in the class room, limited early childhood programs and created a massive new number of chartered schools. They also cut pay increases for advanced degrees and eliminated tenure for teachers.

We have this massive underfunding of public education which results in a sudden major uproar across the state from the teachers. Wake County had 600 teachers resign in mid-year. All kinds of teachers are leaving the state for other states. The legislators now have a major problem on their hands.

No surprise, suddenly Governor McCrory comes out with this “super new plan” to give teachers a raise and a bonus to state employees. Well, that sounds nice except it does not really get the teachers back on the salary scale that most teachers had when they were first employed. In the next two years all beginning teachers will be at $35,000.00. I wonder what that would be per hour of work? Higher than the minimum wage? But it will take two years to get there for them and the other teachers? well, we will be working to get them to the national average sometime in the future.

But here is more funny, sad, math. If you are $450 million (give or take a million or so) short already and want to add almost $600 million for all this new teacher and bonus stuff, where do you get the money? Why you take it from education and other programs, of course. You take it from the UNC System. You just tell all other departments to cut their budget. Budgets that have already been cut and sliced to the bone. These are departments like Environmental regulators who need to be more people to check coal ash ponds. These are departments like transportation that need many more dollars for roads and bridges, harbors, and airports. These are departments like Human Health and Services which is already deep in a computer mess.

So you are going to “rob peter to pay paul” and education gets shafted at the top after you have gutted it at the beginning level and now want to some how grease the squeaky wheel of elementary teachers by hitting the universities. North Carolina used to have an outstanding educational system for a southern state. As the old Sam Erwin said “Any mule can kick down a building, it takes a carpenter to build it.” Well, the Republican mule has done a good job of kicking down our educational structure.