Plans to end public schools

'Horror show' is about halfway done
By Bill Nolte | Mar 25, 2014
Photo by: Donated photo

Some folks think money grows on trees and public schools can be funded as if we live in a utopian dream world.  On the other end of the extreme continuum, there are people who think there should be no public schools at all.  They are too smart to say this out loud but their actions speak loud and clear.  They believe parents of school-age children should just get a little tax break or partial voucher and then shop for whatever education they can afford.

We should fund what our children need.   Every child … every child … should have a “free and appropriate public education.”  The opportunity to have a good education should not be based upon family income.  Your tax dollars should not be used to fund exclusionary schools that eliminate “undesired” children by refusing to provide bus transportation, school meals and other public school mainstay services.  These deceptive and exclusionary practices are barriers that many families cannot cross due to their socio-economic status.

There are a number of hot legislative topics regarding public education in North Carolina.  These legislative initiatives include tenure, arbitrary and illogical pay plans, vouchers, charter schools and required summer reading camps … just to mention a few.  These are simply distractors so citizens and voters will not focus on the “real” attack on public schools.  The real attack is a continued, willful, destructive and unending loss of state funding.

Some elected state officials are deceptively saying that “more money is going into public education” and “the money follows the child.”  This is taking a little truth and twisting it into a lie.  North Carolina has a growing student population … so of course more students require more funding.  That is where the truth ends.  The money is not following the children and there is certainly not more funding for each child or school.  Here is the state current expense funding changes for Haywood County Schools from 2008-09 to the present:

  • 2008-09 to 2009-10  - $3,985,352
  • 2009-10 to 2010-11  - $532,979
  • 2010-11 to 2011-12   + $1,016,799
  • 2011-12 to 2012-13   - $372,556
  • 2012-13 to 2013-14   - $1,155,936

It should be noted that the increase in 2011-12 was a pre-2012-election pay raise of 1.2 percent.  The pay raise was good for employees (and probably votes) but it did very little to help children in the classroom.  Since 2008-09 Haywood County Schools has been cut $5,030,024.  That is over $5 million  or -11.39 percent.   Additional cuts have occurred on the “capital outlay” or facility side of the budget.  Our school district has suffered significant state cuts that include the loss of over 130 positions.

Representatives from the governor’s office and NC General Assembly give every indication that cuts to public schools will continue.  They have eliminated class size limits above third grade.  That means class size will continue to increase as the state continues to cut funding.  New curricula and tests have been added for every grade level and almost every subject.  At the same time, state instructional supply funds have been cut by a third.  Regulatory requirements have been significantly reduced for charter schools and significantly increased for traditional public schools.  This is not an accident … it is a plan.  To make things even worse school funding cuts were made to pay for tax breaks for our wealthiest citizens.

If you believe public education is a key to having informed citizens and a strong democracy, you need to let state elected officials know that cuts to public schools must stop and some reasonable level of funding must be restored.  If you are opposed to public schools or simply don’t care about public school children, sit back and enjoy the horror show.  We are about halfway through the show.  If the plot doesn’t change quickly there will be a very tragic ending for our children and our state.

 

Comments (23)
Posted by: Allen Alsbrooks | Mar 25, 2014 14:29

It would be interesting to know the number of pupils served in each year given.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 25, 2014 19:00

Mr. Nolte, your writing presents some good perspective and problems that certainly need more consideration.  It is a thoughtful piece and is well-written.  You also write with an opinion as a public educator.  I believe you intend to influence those of us who are not public educators.  As such, I’ll give you some unsolicited advice in good faith:

 

1)      Unionizing educators against the public is a bad idea.  Or at the very least, it’s bad PR.  Unionized employees to demand more benefit from public funds leaves mostly outspoken conservatives to push back.  Imagine if there were no teacher’s union.  Then schools and government would have nothing to oppose and instead be preoccupied with attracting a retaining true teaching talent.

2)      The concept of tenure is outdated.  In history I’m sure it had good intentions.  But now it seems to just mean “bonus” with nothing to do to earn that extra money or to demonstrate any kind of proficiency to necessitate additional "earnings".

3)      Reading, writing, and arithmetic is all good.  But some of what children learn in school these days is awful.  Maybe not so much a formal curriculum problem as much as it is a moral decay in schools where no longer can a child be shamed for behaving immorally.

4)      Public schools spend too many resources on the lowest-performing students at a cost of the highest-performing students.  I think it is a mistake for public schools to take on the deficiencies of some parents.  Every student should have equal opportunity of public education.  But not every student will succeed – and that should be ok so far as the public is concerned.  Schools should not be a replacement for good parenting.

5)      It is offensive for a family to move into the school district of their choice only for the school system to someday reorganize districts to force some kind of diversity thing.

 

If your opinion is that the public school system is not celebrated by all, you’re right.  If I had the power to wave a magic wand to fix the 5 points I make, I would celebrate the public school system much more.  I would go even further to suggest that the more conservatives “get” to improve public education, the more they will support public education: in policy and funding.  Looking at that in the negative: most conservatives don’t want to support a system they think is failing: in policy and funding.  A fun brain exercise: What would be the “perfect public school” look like that a conservative dreamed up from scratch that they would gladly pump money into?

 

I do have one thing to point out in your opinion piece: our system of government is a REPUBLIC – not a democracy.  A republic has a constitution that limits government from becoming overbearing and repressive.  A democracy is a socialist system where 51% can vote things and rights away from 49%.  I make this distinction to consider the one-room schoolhouses of the past.  How did we evolve into a public education machine with professional lobbyists, unions, legal departments, and public relations departments that demand more from public funds?  Children learn for free.  It’s all the other stuff that costs money.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 25, 2014 19:52

PS -- My comments about "public schools" are general -- not specific to Haywood County schools.  Although I have experience with 3 public school systems in NC, I have no exposure to Haywood County schools to form much of an opinion -- but I hear Haywood is one of the better school systems in NC.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 26, 2014 10:43

                Mr. Nolte;

 

                It is about time you once again showed-up! Doesn't negate your responsibility to explain why the young man was denied his civil rights to have a club pertaining to and supported by free speech.

                Yes, the attack on OUR public schools is large, organized and with the election of anti-secular conservatives, gaining traction. These anti-liberals do not support the Founding Principle of equal protection derived from the Deistic notion of Naturally inherent inalienable rights. A big part of the reason they have gained traction is because OUR public schools have failed to properly document OUR Founding Principles, leaving OUR students and future electors to be ignorant and uninformed while being subjected to the constant barrage of falsehoods of a "false religion" of revealed truth's.

                  Mr. Nolte you have access to OUR documented history. Teach the truth of it. Start with the N.C. Religious Clause.

                   Bullying is a natural reaction generally speeking. However, when liars claiming pre-eminence claim that there is only one way to Salvation, the seed of Tyranny leading to bullying has been planted. OUR Funders experienced this only too well. Their reaction to it is important, I'd say.

 

                 C.Z.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 26, 2014 14:01

"The opportunity to have a good education should not be based upon family income." -- Here lies an underlying issue that ought to be outright discussed in a public forum.  A "good education" is one that meets "minimum standards".  But families that want to put in the effort, pay the cost, and/or make sacrifices ought to have the opportunity for a "better education".  The more I want to invest in my children's future, the more chance for success they will have for it.  It is the same philosophy my parents used with me as a child and my grandparents as well.  A liberal position on the matter would be to inhibit my choice to invest in my child's future while investing more into the low-performing student/family in the name of "equality".  That's where I as a conservative beg to differ in thought.

 

A voucher system I think starts to address those that want to provide a "better education" for their children but might lack the financial resources to do so.  I appreciate the intent here -- but that seems to be a slippery slope.  Perhaps if taxpayer funding will go into this kind of thing, it could be made better of those receiving benefit could be required to make some other kind of sacrifice -- like public service or something for free.

 

Most conservatives believe in personal responsibility.  Those that help themselves and are disciplined in life deserve to do better than those that don't.  There is no mandate that people that make less sacrifice should benefit from life and society than those that make more sacrifice.  Now life isn't always fair and sometimes those that make sacrifice don't prosper.  But as the saying goes, the harder you work, the luckier in life you are.

 

Please don't use the school system as "the great equalizer" that is intended to make everyone equal by knocking down those that want to be "better" and promoting those that sit on the couch watching TV.  (Metaphorically speaking.)



Posted by: Buffy Queen | Mar 26, 2014 14:25

Thank you for the excellent article, Dr. Nolte. We are so very fortunate here in Haywood County to have such outstanding teachers, schools and administrators. My daughter went through all her schooling in this county's public schools and was prepared to succeed in college, earning her B.S. in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech, with honors, and is now in graduate school there. We can prepare students, and do, but we should be supporting our teachers and schools, both financially and in other ways, not discouraging and dividing. Our NC constitution says taxes should go to public schools and no mention of charter schools. Conservatives and progressives alike should support our constitution, not tear down the basis for an educated public.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 26, 2014 14:59

Ms. Queen:

 

An interesting case involving "other" schools can be researched here:

Specifically on the matter of how to provide for public education: N.C. Const. art. IX, § 2 merely requires that all North Carolina students have access to a sound basic education and does not preclude the creation of schools or other educational programs with attributes or funding options different from those associated with traditional public schools. Sugar Creek Charter Sch., Inc. v. State, - N.C. App. - , 712 S.E.2d 730 (2011).

Also, think about this slightly differently.  When a student is so bad that they get expelled from school, where do they go?  Does the state provide some kind of alternate education for them?  Would you support that or do you think the NC Constitution supports that?



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 26, 2014 16:23

          Vouchers are a ruse to allow those that do not care to support the cause of Liberty nor the equal protection thereof to withdraw their taxes from the public till to pay for charter schools. It is as direct an attack on this country's Founding Principles as ever conceived. All taxpayers are responsible for paying for the support of OUR public schools. No taxpayer can choose what public programs they do not want to support and just with-hold or ask their taxes returned. No one has that Liberty. Any taxpayer may home-school their children. But by the qualifications We the people require.  "All persons" under the age of consent are required to be taught by such standards until they can by the means of their own conscience determine for themselves their own path in life, regardless of their parents wishes as the will of We the people takes precedence.

                 I believe no student under age of consent can be permanently expelled unless judged a threat to themselves or anyone else or guilty of a crime.

               We the people was Founded on certain and particular Principles of which many disagree nor support. This has caused the teaching of the truth of the matter very difficult. It is the reason of most civil rights lawsuits.

                One of the most important of OUR Founding Documents is James Madison's Remonstrance And Remembrance against Religious Assessments in Favour of the Teachers of the Christian Religion whereby Madison listed 15 reasons why no man should have to pay taxes in support of religious opinions he opposes.

                    Jefferson's Act for Establishing Religious Freedom whose name says it all, expands and clarifies the issue and embracing Free Will while rejecting any biblical basis for religion and stipulates that "revealed truth's" is a false religion taught by "uninspired men", among other things. But of course there are those mini-tyrants who claim to be pre-eminent that would disagree.

 

                 C.Z.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 26, 2014 16:35

                We the people was established as a secular republic governed in a democratic fashion whereby "All persons"  retain their Naturally inherent inalienable rights while agreeing to be governed by a duly elected legislature acting in a democratic fashion whereby the majority rules. Jefferson quite well explained this in his inaugural address and previously in the Declaration of Independence. Others as well. The people of the time most certainly knew what they were signing up for. That there are those of today that would twist the Founding Principles/ History to met their needs has always been prevalent. it is especially so whereby OUR public schools fail to properly educate OUR future voters.

 

                C.Z.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 26, 2014 16:40
Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 26, 2014 17:49

"Vouchers are a ruse to allow those that do not care to support the cause of Liberty nor the equal protection thereof to withdraw their taxes from the public till to pay for charter schools." -- I have a differing opinion.  I think vouchers are a way to fight the highly organized and influential teacher's union and the big-business of education.  Vouchers introduce a challenge to the education monopoly of the public school system.  I don't think anyone (worth discussing) wants bad schools, bad teachers, or bad students.  Vouchers are a way to go around the power brokers in the education system: unions, lobbyists, and legal teams that are motivated to get more money.  Vouchers are not about the children, vouchers are about the money and control.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 26, 2014 18:05

"No taxpayer can choose what public programs they do not want to support and just with-hold or ask their taxes returned." -- Almost as simple.  Taxpayers petition legislators to change the law about things they do not want to support and withhold funding for it.  Exactly what's happening now.  Those in charge of public education (unions and lobbyists) ought to find ways our conservative legislators will support public education and work with them for successful implementation so that they would be more favorable to better fund the public education needs.  Instead of that, what are the unions and lobbyists doing?  Asking everyone to wear red and telling their membership to feel upset and outraged.  That's not an inspirational message.  That's not a "be the best you can be" kind of attitude.  That doesn't help the children learn at all.  In Ms. Queen's words that's "discouraging and dividing" educators.  It's politics.

 

Conservatives as much as anyone would LOVE to have great schools, great teachers, and top-performing students.  Give them a chance, get the unions and lobbyists out of the way, and if everyone makes a good-faith effort using the "conservative way" and fail, point fingers at them and tell them you told them so!

 



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 27, 2014 09:42

               We the people run OUR public schools.

                We the people is dedicated to Liberty as opposed to conservatism.

 

                C.Z.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 27, 2014 09:50

"We the people is dedicated to Liberty as opposed to conservatism." -- Just as NC has its own Constitution as you have contrasted with a Kentucky Constitution or a Virginia Act authored by Jefferson.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 27, 2014 10:00

             N.C Constitution was derived primarily from the Virginia Declaration of Rights.

             Madison and Jefferson's religious clause of the Kentucky Constitution was intended to be a reminder of what had been previously established so others would follow suit. So they did. It was recognized that Liberty is constantly growing and expanding and that as states adopted liberal policies, others would follow. Unfortunetly, the opposite is being seen now by the constant attacks on Liberty by conservatives.

 

              C.Z.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 27, 2014 10:51

"constant attacks on Liberty by conservatives" -- Well that all depends on how you define "liberty".  Conservatives embrace "limited government" as We the People are protected by the Constitution.  Liberals use government to advance a socialistic society.  Both have admiral goals and objectives.  They just weight and prioritize the agendas differently.

 

If you take "liberty" for its literal meaning, it's this: "the state or condition of people who are able to act and speak freely".  It would then be CONSERVATIVES who want this most by fighting to keep government from infringing on their rights.  The most conservative group of all: Libertarians.  "Liberals" (opposite conservatives) want a social agenda more than the ability to speak and act freely.  Many of their arguments focus on the socialistic aspects of our Constitution -- not so much the unencumbered ability to speak and act freely.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 27, 2014 13:10

           "Limited Government" was quite well defined by OUR radically Liberal Founders. No dictionary can define OUR Founding in just a few words. Jefferson's Act For Establishing religious Freedom spells it out quite well. It is simple, if no God has ever intervened in man's lives, then no man has that right either. That OUR govt. only may react to actions that harm "All persons" if any person shall step forward and lodge a complaint.

                    Social programs are meant to not only prevent harm to US by means not of OUR making, but to provide for a rudimentary retirement as provided by the Preamble's General Welfare clause.

                    It is not defenders of the cause of Liberty that have passed morality based laws that limit individual rights even though those rights are to be duly protected by means of OUR shared Constitutions. Conservative morality based laws have no Constitutional basis.

                     Even though there is no enumerated right to be a conservative, liberals tolerate such opinions realizing full well that conservatives have used their liberty to constantly attack anyone who disagrees while promoting a regressive oppressive ill-liberal agenda.

                      There is no such thing as civil conservative.

                     Name a civil liberties lawsuit whereby conservatives won.

                    C.Z.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 27, 2014 14:34

"Name a civil liberties lawsuit whereby conservatives won." --

 

1) It is a civil liberty to keep and bear arms (in part) to ensure a government does not become overpowering and oppressive.  Conservatives protect that civil liberty.  Case won:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_of_Columbia_v._Heller

 

2) Some American students in America wanted to wear a t-shirt with an American flag on it.  The school denied their right to do so.  "The students' lawyers work for three separate nonprofit legal centers dedicated to politically conservative causes."

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Latest-News-Wires/2013/1017/Can-schools-ban-American-flag-T-shirts

 

3) Race-based and sex-based discrimination ought to be illegal and it is conservatives who fight the battles to make it so:

http://www.propublica.org/article/a-colorblind-constitution-what-abigail-fishers-affirmative-action-case-is-r

 

4) If someone has a religious aversion for abortion or pre-marital sex, that is their right.  If that same person hires someone to help them perform some work, the person they hire ought not to be allowed to demand their employer to provide them an abortion or contraceptives against their conscious or religious faith.  It's a conservative group that fights for them in the current-day Hobby Lobby debate.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/25/supreme-court-hobby-lobby_n_5027527.html

 

5) The freedom of conscious allows one to think what they want.  It was a conservative group who challenged a university for attempting to make students agree with their philosophies:

http://www.thefire.org/cases/university-of-delaware-students-required-to-undergo-ideological-reeducation/

 

"General Welfare" is to be balanced.  Going all-in for that clause would be Socialism -- the United States is NOT founded in Socialism.  Socialism in its perfect form is Communism.  The original pilgrims tried that and it failed.  We are founded in Capitalism - it's just a matter of how much socialism should be sprinkled in.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 28, 2014 09:55

           Equal protection is not Socialism.

           We are not founded in capitalism. Madison quite well recognized the error of corporations, religious included, owning property in perpetutity, recognizing what had happened in Europe.

             We are founded in individual Liberty whereby all by the means of the Social Contract are obligated to contribute to Society in proportion to what they gained.

               ACLU has been lead counsel for NRA for many years. Much to the chagrin of many on both sides. While Heller removed the unneccesary restrictions on all guns, it did not establish ownership of any gun as a right. The size, configuration as to caliber, action, ammo, etc were left to Society.

               hobby lobby has not been decided. As a corporation h.b. must abide by the Equal Employment Act which forbids discrimination towards employees. Abortion up to birth is legal.

                thomas moore based organizations have a spotty record on civil rights cases. I believe they have lost far more than won.

                The first case whereby conservatism won over Liberty was the one I referenced the other day whereby John Jay turned his back on what he had helped create and ruled that the US. Constitution only applied to Federal govt regardless of the Superiority clause. Madison and Jefferson wrote the Kentucky state Constitution to counter-act such blatant nonsense. cons have had some victories in restricting Liberty, but in the totality of OUR history they are mostly short-lived or overturned eventually. The Roberts based Supreme Court is the most con favorable for many decades. The elevation of corporations to citizenship is as fine an example of flawed logic as you will find. It is leading to the repression of Society and the Republic in general.

         If you care to visit winners of civil liberties lawsuits, visit ACLU, Citizens United, Southern Poverty Law Center, etc. etc. Then there is OUR shared Constitutions. Written by liberals for liberty.

              C.Z.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 28, 2014 18:38

Since America was born, the free-market system has always prevailed.  Agreed "equal protection" does not mean Socialism.  THIS means socialism: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his contribution. Emphasis on profit being distributed among the society or workforce to complement individual wages/salaries."  Socialism is what you argue when you promote "general welfare" -- which in moderation, is good.  All-in is bad because "By having a security net so secure that it's easier to not work than to work, nobody (well, few) will work."  A good read on that topic:

http://bobzermop.hubpages.com/hub/Why-capitalism-works-and-socialism-doesnt

 

Again, I refer you to the description of the first pilgrims who attempted Socialism before abandoning it - before our founding:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yfW5SgvFPY

 



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 29, 2014 08:31

                    Equal protection against tyranny requires just that. It prevents unequal distributions of wealth/power to prevent oppression. Most certainly it results in wealth redistribution. It most certainly should! OUR Founders were quite well aware of the error of inherited bondsmen that inherit wealth without actually creating it. The wealthy, by and large supported King George.

                    "All persons" have rights. Money/wealth does not.

                     "Safety net" of unemployment insurance is contributed to by employee and employer. Welfare has a time limit. No one can just sit at home and not work for long, except the better off.

                      Most other Social programs have shown a proven bennifit to Society resulting in improvements in US. and have prevented crime. Hungry people will revolt. The manner of the "Wall" falling proves that, to those that were actually paying attention.

                      Capitalism balanced with a progressive tax rate whereby all pay in proportion to ability, is what made this country great. Along with the overthrow of the church which allowed science and reason to advance. Unfortunetly greedy anti-liberal persons have pushed for "flat-taxes" whereby the burden of paying this countries bills is transferred to those alreddy well-off. This is a top down outlook contrary to capitalism,  whereas We are in reality a bottom up Society with commerce driven by demand. "trickle-down" results in those not being "trickled" on supporting the rest of US. Kinda like having to pay to go to work. Fascism, whereby the government exits to favor the wealthy at the cost of the common man is essentially what 'trickle-down, flat taxers are pushing.

  C.Z.

              C.Z.

                     



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 29, 2014 09:08

        The pdf file of the complaint against vouchers can be seen here:

http://www.ncjustice.org/?q=voucherlawsuit

 

              Scroll down to voucher lawsuit and click on it.

 

               C.Z.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 29, 2014 09:13

              Correction. That should be "voucher complaint". In the middle of page.

               Lawsuit states Constitutional responsibility of OUR Govt. quite well. That mccreary,pope, etc have chosen to waste OUR taxes in direct subversion of OUR Constitution is telling.

 

               C.Z.



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