By Bill O’Connor -
If you haven’t been following my exposure of local school system practices, quickly, a main budget busting focus for the financial bulimia sufferers at Henderson County Public Schools (HCPS), who gorge on cash and regurgitate public jobs; this year is the usual: preserving union jobs. The talking point is teacher assistants (TA). The Superintendent David Jones led, HCPS has claimed in public that Governor McCrory proposed cutting funding for half (77) of the TAs. First there are 269 TAs not 150 or so, which they work to conceal by claiming that 77 is half. Fiscally it’s a good idea, but tough on a human level since those people count on the job they took with no reason to know how unnecessary it is.
Not to worry. The fact is the whole issue is showbiz designed to make heroes of Jones/Bazzle and Co. for saving jobs that were in no danger of being cut. You will remember I suggested that was exactly what the $870 thousand dollar “bump” was for, included with all the other spending increases, each approved 5-0 without a whisper of oversight, Opps, “micromanagement” by Chairman Messer and the Commissioners.
The Governor did not propose to reduce TA tax money by 50%, but actually by 20%. The NC Senate proposes reducing by 25% and the NC House chimes in with 4%. Now the three negotiate in Raleigh, while Jones/Bazzle & Co. fiddle with the fantasy claim of 50%. Thanks to your $870 grand, local TA reduction, if any, will be mostly or wholly voluntary.
The good taxpayer news: all propose spending reductions. The percentages above come from an influential House member with a long history of supporting union dominated public schools. We have little to share with him there, but, as an official subject to elections, he also has a long history of dealing from FACTS not fantasy, when his credibility is on the line, and we agree with facts. If only Jones/Bazzle and Co. were his attentive students. Instead they count on your inattention and/or short memory. Is there, truly, anything these people (Jones/Bazzle and Co) say that we can put any stock in? Read on.
On day 27 of our vigil waiting for copies of fourth and fifth grade English tests, they were made available by Assistant Superintendent Parsons, with our thanks. Naturally we dove right into the tests from Marlow where Mr. Kinsey holds lobbyist training for nine year old captive classes. In the papers we located the page of the Kinsey test we knew about. It was distinctive and easy to recognize. But where was the rest of it?
My initial discussion with Jones where he declaimed knowledge and proclaimed an investigation of the test was, coincidently (not) followed the next day in the Mourning paper by a puff piece on the issue, citing Dr. Terry Stoops, another opponent of common core, that: “…the Glenn Marlow teacher may have included “a complimentary[sic] essay giving the other side of the story, talking about why the General Assembly is on the right track.” If there was any such document, why was it not included in the Parsons package I received? In fact nothing of the test was included except the first page with more questions, not complementary text, on the reverse, which HCPS and BOPE knew I already had. The Superintendent’s investigation continues as far as we know.
The May 23rd puff piece states as an unchallenged fact, a misstatement about their own May 5th editorial: “The literacy test excerpted a May 5 T—–N— editorial headlined ‘Raleigh’s race to the bottom,’ which opined that North Carolina Republican leaders ‘seem determined to undermine’ early childhood education by reducing funding for county teacher assistants.” Compare the May 5 editorial to the test page printed nearby showing that the test wording is not “a randomly chosen news story” as initially claimed by school officials, nor is it “excerpted,” as claimed by the Mourning paper, but a condensed rewrite of the editorial resulting in a much more polemical presentation using bold type to emphasize the most political statements.
Yet Marlowe Principal John Bryant preposterously asserted that “None of the assignment was politicized.” The May 23rd puff piece includes only the top half of the test page down to the paragraph ending “…teacher assistants if they choose.” Judge for yourself why they cut it off. I tried to call HCPS about the tests; with school out they take Fridays off…nice.
As we go through the tests, we wonder: what happened to the fair and balanced part of the fair and balanced Kinsey English test; how much worse must what’s not provided be; did the staff miss any other political tracts lurking among the “tests” they sent us? I hope so; but we’ll see. The odds on that are 12-1 against.
If your child is set to be in Mr. Kinsey’s class or has been subjected to testing similar to that reportedly of Mr. Kinsey’s fourth grade at Glen C. Marlow and you have concerns, contact me with complete confidence in our respect for your privacy at: Bill@tribunepapers.com or BillOC@fastmail.us.