Anne Cooper: GOP’s Hunger Games

November 16, 2013 

Given the success of the first Hunger Games movie filmed in N.C., our GOP legislature and governor decided to stage a live version of Hunger Games using N.C. teachers and public schools as the tributes. Their goal? Strategically remove incentives and shortchange the education budget. Then, sit back and watch the traditional system implode to fulfill Gov. Pat McCrory’s claim, “Education in N.C. is broken!”

Sen. Paul Stam offered prophetic words to an Americans for Prosperity gathering: “I do have somewhat of a dream that ... we just make all the traditional public schools (into) charter schools.”

The strategy? Create a sense of desperation among educators: push compensation to the bottom of the 50 states, destabilize job security and pit once-collaborative teachers against each other by claiming that only 25 percent of teachers are “worthy” of an incentive pittance. At the same time, eliminate teaching assistants and class size limits. Next, divert educators pursuing advanced degrees to other states where they will be fairly compensated. Refuse to invest in the future: eliminate the pipeline of highly qualified, motivated future teachers by defunding the successful Teaching Fellows Program and compromise kindergarten readiness by reducing access to high quality preschool education.

Finally, have Sen. Neal Hunt, director of this depraved drama, smugly chuckle, “Education is an absolute priority for us.”

Lights dim. Curtain falls.

Anne Cooper

Raleigh

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