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Politics and education don't mix well

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Do we really need to hear from people who don't live in North Carolina, and don't have a stake in the success of our state's public school system, that we are heading in the wrong direction? At the recently held Emerging Issues Forum, in Raleigh, NC that is exactly what Diane Ravitch did. She argued that, “North Carolina stands today as a negative lesson to the nation about how to destroy public education and how to dismantle the teaching profession,” If the New York Times wants to expose our weaknesses to the nation there is little we can do to stop them, but we certainly don't need to invite outsiders to our state capital for this purpose - we are perfectly capable of doing it ourselves.

It is painful to watch political and educational leaders make poor decisions that will determine the fate of our K-12 public school system. The State Assembly's memorable decisions in 2013 clearly demonstrated that our educational system is in the wrong hands. Not because Republicans happen to be in the majority - but because we are under the mistaken impression that politicians are qualified to make decisions about the kind of education our children need.

The citizens of North Carolina need to wake up and realize that their political leaders are playing a dangerous game with our children's future. The Governor and every member of the State Assembly needs to get out of the education business. Their sole function should be to adequately fund our state's public school system and hold the educators accountable for results. To do this, they need to depend on people with expertise in public school education who are capable of preparing viable and clear strategic plans for educating every child, from pre-school through high school. This is not a difficult concept to understand. Phil Berger and his staff have no business telling our schools which reading program best supports their students. This is the job of our state's Department of Public Instruction - who should then be held responsible for the success of the program(s) they select. Berger's office should focus on locating the money to support the appropriate reading program.

It is also time that our public school educators stopped whining about working conditions and delivered on the promises they made when they received their teaching certificates - lead every child to success.

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