The best part of our republican form of government is that the voters always have the last word. Thomas Jefferson said, even before our nation gained its independence, that an educated electorate is the greatest weapon against tyranny. Fortunately, we are not facing tyranny; however, we are certainly facing elected officials that often fail to support the best interests of our country.
Later this year, the voters of North Carolina will have a golden opportunity to let their elected officials know if they agree or disagree with the General Assembly's recent decisions about education. This will be the people's chance to let the members of the state legislature, and the governor as well, know how they feel about not providing our teachers with a pay raise, eliminating tenure, not paying them for earning a graduate degree, and offering vouchers to a small population of students at the expense of the rest. By the time the election is here we will also be able to evaluate the legislature's decision concerning Common Core. Will they turn their backs on the new standards and create confusion in our schools, or will they do the right thing by allowing the new standards to challenge our students and make them more competitive both nationally and globally?
Earlier today, I called the office of my state senator and asked his administrative assistant to let the senator know that I will be watching very carefully how he votes on the issue of Common Core. If he agrees with misinformed people like Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest, who want to scrap Common Core in favor of new standards, then he will simply lose my vote in November. I also informed the administrative assistant that I expect the state senator to speak up for teachers and find a way to give them a pay raise next year. Enough is enough.
The bottom line is that we need to see meaningful changes when it comes to education in North Carolina. The stakes are high and the time to act is now. Apathy is an ugly word and it does not suit Americans. Our educational system is in trouble and our elected officials need our focused guidance.