Don't watch silently as public education is diminished

Weigh in before it is too late
Mar 27, 2014

We would like to thank Dr. Bill Nolte, associate superintendent of Haywood County Schools, for his recent column regarding public education.

Nolte laid out in simple terms how the state has continued to cut funding to public education while also undermining the entire system. Not only are state lawmakers cutting funds from schools each year, but Nolte explained how facts are being  distorted when talking about education funding increases.

Additional funding, Nolte pointed out, is the result of more children in the system, not an increased committment to public education. When looking closely, Haywood County Schools have lost more than $5 million in funding since 2008-09.

Aside from the budget cuts, legislators are trying to siphon taxpayer money to private schools through vouchers and public charter schools, which have more freedom from regulatory requirements than traditional public schools. If more freedom from state regulations is beneficial for charter and private schools, why are traditional public schools not afforded the same luxury?

Some may argue the state legislators have no clue what they are doing, but others say it appears the legislators know exactly what they are doing — dismantling public education as we know it. Offering $4,000 vouchers to students is not enough to help poor families pay for a private school education, but it will divert already limited funding away from public education.

Yes, charter schools are public, but they can be exclusionary just by not being required to offer public transportation or free and reduced lunch plans for students. Our Constitution states that all students have the right to a free public education and that education should be equal no matter what the child’s economic status.

Is the public education system so broken that legislators are trying to move away from it instead of repairing it? We aren’t convinced that is the case, and if it is, it is not as apparent in Haywood County Schools where our students and teachers have not only been recognized statewide, but at the national level.

If legislators keep heading down this road, it will mean a bleak future for all in our state, not just students and educators. If you want to see public education improved instead of crippled, we encourage you to write your state representatives and senators to tell them what you think about their decisions and how it impacts your family.

If there is no evidence you are being heard, make your voice known at the ballot box in November.

Comments (13)
Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 27, 2014 18:57

Oh, this is a good one!  Touché!

 

"If more freedom from state regulations is beneficial for charter and private schools, why are traditional public schools not afforded the same luxury?" -- BINGO!  Unions, lobbyists, and those interested in socialism stand in the way!

 

"legislators know exactly what they are doing — dismantling public education as we know it." -- Precisely.  If you can't go through them, go around them.

 

"Our Constitution states that all students have the right to a free public education.." Yes it does. "...and that education should be equal no matter what the child’s economic status." Not exactly.

 

"We aren’t convinced that is the case, and if it is, it is not as apparent in Haywood County Schools.." -- Take a very close look at Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.  They have a public relations department and a legal department that work in tandem.  They promote themselves to increase public support.  If you have a legitimate issue with them and address the principal -- her responses are pre-approved by her legal department.

 

"If you want to see public education improved instead of crippled..."  - I want to see education IMPROVED.  And to do so I will encourage my legislator to keep going around those unions, lobbyists, and legal departments that stand in the way!  Bring it!



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 28, 2014 09:09

                 Since the Founding of OUR Union of States as a republic whereby the church is separated from the state and Liberty is to be equally protected, OUR Founding Principles have been under attack. Mere fallible persons claiming to be "Christians" have attacked the separation of church from state regardless that Jesus himself embraced it. Claiming there is only one way to heaven, they have attacked OUR governments duty to equal protect "All persons" even though Jesus also admonished all to "love your neighbor as yourself". And there is the admonition "as you do unto the least of me you do unto me". But yet there are those that would throw those students most in need under the bus as charter/private schools do not have to take anyone but those they want while leaving the rest behind. Is that really the kind of country We want? I think not.

 

             C.Z.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 28, 2014 09:26

"But yet there are those that would throw those students most in need under the bus as charter/private schools do not have to take anyone but those they want while leaving the rest behind." -- We agree this would be unacceptable and should be avoided in whatever plan is proposed/enacted.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 28, 2014 10:15

            It is alreddy in N.C. law.

            charter schools do not have to take anyone. They may refuse any they do not want on any grounds whatsoever regardless of whether parents have ability to pay. They are not required to have teachers that are qualified in the area they are teaching nor ultimately, qualified at all as no means to inspect charter schools is provided for, as I understand it. Nor are there curriculum requirements as charter schools are deemed exempt from state regulation.  charter schools in N.C. are home-schooling on steroids with funding from US.

            As has been quite well documented, charter schools in general, have been teaching a bible-based doctrine as opposed to science.

            Imagine having to go to a doctor whose only training comes from the bible.

 

            C.Z.



Posted by: Dudley Hale | Mar 28, 2014 17:47

I know of nothing in our Constitution which guarantees a free public education.  I believe it was purposely left up to the States.

A correction to the statement in the editorial should be published.

Thanks,

Dudley Hale

Waynesville.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 28, 2014 18:24

Mr. Hale: Apologies.  This continued conversation is stemming from a NC Constitution that does in fact provide access to a free public education.  The author probably should have stuck an "NC" before the word "constitution".

 

"The General Assembly shall provide by taxation and otherwise for a general and uniform system of free public schools, which shall be maintained at least nine months in every year, and wherein equal opportunities shall be provided for all students."

 

http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/Legislation/constitution/article9.html

 

Interpreting this statement is where you see the fireworks.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 28, 2014 18:47

There is also nothing that says the State cannot assist in funding students for other schools.  Just like the State can decide to provide unemployment benefits, the State can decide to provide funding for alternate education. 

 

But those that have a monopoly of public school funds get really upset when they think that their mostly-captive student population will start to have affordable/realistic options.  Less students in the public schools means less money. 

 

It is a collective bargaining counter attack where our public is pushing back on the unions and lobbyists and legal teams that continually fight to take more money from the public in the name of education.  If there were no unions, lobbyists, and legal teams organizing to take more, then the legislature would only be concerned with attracting and retaining educator talent and educating students.  Oh, if we could only focus on that we would all be better off.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 29, 2014 09:26

          Mr. Lilly;

 

          From the N.C. Constitution:

 

Sec. 2.  Uniform system of schools.

(1)        General and uniform system: term.  The General Assembly shall provide by taxation and otherwise for a general and uniform system of free public schools, which shall be maintained at least nine months in every year, and wherein equal opportunities shall be provided for all students.

(2)        Local responsibility.  The General Assembly may assign to units of local government such responsibility for the financial support of the free public schools as it may deem appropriate.  The governing boards of units of local government with financial responsibility for public education may use local revenues to add to or supplement any public school or post-secondary school program.

Sec. 6.  State school fund.

The proceeds of all lands that have been or hereafter may be granted by the United States to this State, and not otherwise appropriated by this State or the United States; all moneys, stocks, bonds, and other property belonging to the State for purposes of public education; the net proceeds of all sales of the swamp lands belonging to the State; and all other grants, gifts, and devises that have been or hereafter may be made to the State, and not otherwise appropriated by the State or by the terms of the grant, gift, or devise, shall be paid into the State Treasury and, together with so much of the revenue of the State as may be set apart for that purpose, shall be faithfully appropriated and used exclusively for establishing and maintaining a uniform system of free public schools.

 

Sec. 7. County school fund; State fund for certain moneys.

(a)        Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, all moneys, stocks, bonds, and other property belonging to a county school fund, and the clear proceeds of all penalties and forfeitures and of all fines collected in the several counties for any breach of the penal laws of the State, shall belong to and remain in the several counties, and shall be faithfully appropriated and used exclusively for maintaining free public schools.

 

           C.Z.



Posted by: Grass Roots WNC | Mar 29, 2014 20:29

It is called School Choice. The student and parents decide what is best for the student... and the funds are attached to the student's back pack.

The student gets a FREE education funded by the government and the student gets to Choose where they get that education. The state’s public school systems spent an average of  approximately $8,300 per-student.


Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/06/21/2152602/north-carolina-ranks-45th-in-per.html#storylink=cpy

Where is the problem for the STUDENT?

Education is not supposed to protect the 'School SYSTEM' or the ADULTS - it is for the student! Mr. Nolte works hard for the students, but he also works FOR the school system. The Parents are ultimately responsible for the student.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 30, 2014 08:08

"It is called School Choice." -- If government were to allow choice of cable TV providers:

1) Would people pick the cable TV provider that worked best for them? 

2) Would the monopolistic cable provider fight any movement that would allow a choice?

3) If consumers had a choice in cable TV providers, would the providers find ways to reduce costs while remaining effective to attract more subscribers?

4) If one of the cable TV providers failed to perform or cost way too much, would it go out of business or be forced to improve?

 

The abilities of the free market is very, very powerful.  Embrace it in the name of advancement and benefit for all Americans.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 30, 2014 08:51

    "School choice" is b.s. It is a direct attack on OUR Constitution and US. as outlined above. No one gets to just make-up the rules of OUR Society as they please.

          Thru the "Social Contract" of OUR  Representative Republic, taxes are collected and spent by the requirements of OUR Constitution which requires funds be used to provide a "uniform system of free schools".

       Tax funds do not follow the student nor can be otherwise withdrawn from the general fund for private use by parents.

       Any student or their parents may send their child to any school they choose or home-school if they choose. But it must be at their expense! And! Said schooling must meet approved standards! The "Social Contract" as established by OUR Constitution, requires "All persons" to properly educate those still under the age of consent who are not legally capable of by the means of their own conscience, providing for themselves, to provide an education that will contribute to OUR  very liberal secular Republic maintaining its Founding Principles.

             Those who oppose the cause of liberty, may do so at their own expense.

 

           C.Z.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 30, 2014 14:20

"Any student or their parents may send their child to any school they choose or home-school if they choose. But it must be at their expense!" -- Just like anyone can choose their own healthcare -- at their own expense.  Oh wait, Obamacare is a government-provided subsidized benefit.  What makes that any different than government-subsidized education at a private school?  If you like your public school, you can keep it!  :-)

 



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 31, 2014 09:31

                   If you choose to opt out of the requirements of Oboma-care, as We the people established as the law of the land, you must pay a fine.

                   If you opt out of sending your kids to public schools which mandate a "uniform education", you pay the expense. Your kids pay the fine of improper indoctrination/education. Eventually Society is straddled with the results.

                   No man is an island to themselves in this land of Liberty. Anyone enjoying the fruits of Liberty must pay their fair share or it will wither on the vine and tyranny will follow.

 

                 C.Z.



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