Republicans in N.C. Senate cut education funding — but only in Democratic districts. Really.
This bit of North Carolina news won’t get as much attention as the infamous “bathroom bill,” which insisted that people at public schools and other government-run facilities use bathrooms that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificate, sparking a boycott of the state. But it is worth noting as a new lesson in how not to drag schools and kids into your legislative skirmishes — and as the latest attack on public education by North Carolina Republicans.
During a budget debate in the state Senate that started Thursday and went into the early hours of Friday, Republicans became annoyed at Democrats who, the Republicans thought, were unnecessarily offering amendments and prolonging the session. According to the News & Observer, Democrats offered five amendments pushing funding priorities, each of which was voted down.
At about 1 a.m. Friday, the Republicans halted the proceedings and went into private talks. At about 3 a.m., they returned, and a Republican senator introduced an amendment of his own.
This amendment proposed $1 million in new funding to fight North Carolina’s opioid epidemic, which has been called the most severe public health issue in the state. That’s an issue that would seem to be bipartisan — but there was a twist.
The money to fund new pilot programs for this cause had to come from somewhere, and the Republicans decided to take it out of education programs in Democratic districts, along with other things the Democrats had wanted.
New legislation signed into law in Arizona by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey (R) will allow teachers to be hired with no formal teaching training, as long as they have five years of experience in fields “relevant” to the subject they are teaching. What’s “relevant” isn’t clear.
The Arizona law is part of a disturbing trend nationwide to allow teachers without certification or even any teacher preparation to be hired and put immediately to work in the classroom in large part to help close persistent teacher shortages. It plays into a misconception that anyone can teach if they know a particular subject and that it is not really necessary to first learn about curriculum, classroom management and instruction.
The legislation was championed by Ducey, who has described it as a positive change that will entice “great teachers” into the classroom and help alleviate Arizona’s teacher shortages.
The state has been struggling with severe shortages as thousands of teachers have left the state in recent years for reasons including low pay, insufficient classroom resources, and so many testing requirements and teaching guidelines that they feel they have no flexibility and too little authentic instructional time.