Political Activism From The News and Observer Editorial Board? You don’t say…

Media ActivismGee, another politically motivated editorial from an editorial board that is clearly clueless about actual education and supports Common Core to the point of nausea? That’s so unexpected.

Before I launch into a letter to the N&O board, let’s note that Don Martin isn’t just a High Point University professor, he was a Superintendent in NC for 19 years.  Martin also ran for and won a Forsyth county commissioner seat in 2014.

I wanted to make sure of the background, because N&O’s sister paper apparently likes to ignore that type of thing.  Now, on to the letter.

Dear Clueless and Politically motivated N&O Editorial Board,

Education is important to everyone.  These are real people; real teachers, real students and real parents. We are not your personal slot machine whose arm you can pull looking for a political payday. Stop.

Much of the problems lie within the actual districts, not the legislature. North Carolina is 7th in the nation in state spending on education. It is more than half of our state budget and growing.  How fast, exactly, would you like it to grow?

And where, exactly, will these funds come from if not from a tax increase? You hoorang at the legislature about taxes, yet offer no solution yourselves. That’s very politically convenient for you to basically throw a rock and run away.

You mention per pupil spending, yet conveniently left out the $230 boost in 2015.

Also, teacher pay has steadily increased over the last 3 years, pay has seen the largest increase in our state’s history and yet you fail to ever mention that or who froze that pay in the first place.  The number 42 looks bad only when people do not realize that what separates #42 from #32 is about $2,000-2,200 dollars and that states like NY, which have high salaries and draw those salary funds largely from the federal government, skew the data.

North Carolina also is in the top ten for number of instructors per 10,000 pupils, which is a heavy load when it comes to a state that mainly self-funds. In fact, in North Carolina  salaries, benefits and pensions take up over 90% of the education budget.

Instead, this editorial board uses education funding to slam the tax plan changes which have been nationally recognized as possibly the best changes currently in play.

We throw more and more money at education in this country every year and have repeatedly done so for decades. The result has been stagnant or declining achievement. More money is not the answer, spending smarter is.  The entire editorial board would do well to read The K-12 Implosion.

School districts are historically poor stewards of the tax dollar and are rarely held accountable; most these days more concerned with making sure their “Equity Affairs” offices and “Diversity Directors” have enough funding like Wake county and Durham are.

Meanwhile, in those two districts, parents are heading for the exits from the public schools in record numbers.  Wake county has the largest homeschool population in the state and over the last three years it has been steadily growing.  The N&O has yet to ask the question of WHY parents are running, not walking, out of the public schools.

Here are some suggestions for the N&O.

How about the N&O do some actual journalism instead of preaching to a choir that would agree with you if you said the Earth was flat?

How about the N&O go get the line by line item budget for the ten biggest district and see where they waste spend their funds?

By the way — Where was the N&O when USA Today was reporting the story of how the Department of Public Instruction, under the direction of Dr. Atkinson, blew off improving the teacher screening process for North Carolina?

We received an “F” and anyone who has paid attention to NC Plotthound’s “Not A Homeschool” series knows we have a real and consistent problem in this state with teachers being arrested on various charges, assaulting students, and having sex with our kids.

Where was the N&O when Atkinson and Cobey were caught monkeying with the funds for Read to Achieve?


A.P. Dillon

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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