North Carolina's most recent legislative session has come to a merciful end, but not before members of both the State House and Senate began advertising their success stories. In the past few weeks I have received numerous campaign advertisements from my state senator, letting me know that he successfully maneuvered a 7 percent pay raise for our teachers, lowered class sizes, and put more resources into the classrooms. My first reaction was, "does he really believe what he is saying?" Or is he simply taking me and the rest of his constituents for fools.
Unfortunately, the individuals who represent me in the state legislature are no different than the rest of the men and women who populate the majority of our General Assembly. They simply have little or no respect for the public, while doing a significant disservice to North Carolina's educational system. The political decisions that have been made in the past few years will have a negative impact on our state for many years to come. As a result of these decisions, such as no increases in teacher salaries (until the election year smokescreen, which does not provide a true 7 percent pay raise), efforts to eliminate tenure, efforts to implement a voucher system, and the elimination of additional pay for teachers who earn a graduate degree have literally taken our state backward rather than forward.
The voters of North Carolina should not base their decisions in November on political affiliations. When it comes to education it really makes no difference if you are a Republican or a Democrat. Our votes need to be cast on the merits of the issues. Do we want our elected officials to take us forward by allowing the professional educators to create the best possible schools in the country, or do we want them to continue the politicization of education? We need to send a clear message to our elected officials that politics and education don't mix. Just because heavyweights in the state senate, like Phil Berger, want to push their personal political agendas does not mean that others should follow - especially when the future of our children is at stake. As for me, I will follow the age old adage that says, fool me once shame on you - fool me twice, shame on me. I am not falling for the political rhetoric - or should I say the "lies."