WRAL commisar Jim Goodmon has sicced his heavily-subsidized handmaidens Blinkin’ Chris and Scowlin’ Rob on our state’s lieutenant governor. And let me tell ya — Goodmon’s gals produced a doozy. They’ve produced sentences linking concepts like Dan Forest and The Soviet Union. That’s as bizarre as making a connection between Chris and George Clooney or, even, MENSA. (How does that old song from kindergarten go? “Which of these things is not like the other? …”)
Now sit back and be prepared for some, um, stimulation, or something:
There have been lots of excellent critiques of Lt. Gov. Dan Forest’s recent Soviet-style demands for a rewrite of a report on the not-so-impressive performance of North Carolina’s charter schools. My colleague Chris Fitzsimon authored one of the best last Friday when he rightfully blasted Forest for trying to rewrite history to abet his ideological objective of privatizing and dismantling public education: […]
“Forest delayed the report, saying it was too negative toward charters and called it the fuel the media uses to criticize what Republicans are doing.
In other words, the facts show that charter schools are less diverse than traditional public schools and Forest is worried about that the public will think when the media reports it.
Maybe the answer is to be more thoughtful about expanding charter schools without enough accountability and Forest wouldn’t have anything to hide.
Ironically, Forest’s refusal to accept the publicly presented report probably gave it more attention than it would have received in the media had he not objected.
And facts are not fuel. They are facts whether Forest likes them or not.
He can disagree with the report if he wants, maybe try to make up his own facts, but the report is the report and charter schools are less diverse than traditional public schools.”
First, the report was heavily influenced by the Department of Public Instruction — which has some incentive to beat down and sabotage innovations like charter schools. Second, if we’re serious about evaluating the effectiveness of charter schools, why are we focusing on something as inane as “diversity” rather than something more credible like, oh, achievement, personal, academic, career, and life success?
MLK Jr. spoke of judging people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. Alleged fans of MLK — like Chris and Rob — want to ignore THAT part and focus on characteristics people are born with. Gender and race have ZERO to do with how successful someone becomes. How many of you out there have been hired based on the percentage of blacks and / or women at your high school or college? MORE:
Here, however, is another less publicized, but equally troubling aspect of Forest’s actions: the loud and clear message it sends to honest, hardworking employees in all parts of government that they had better toe the ideological line.
Really? We’re talking about a public school system that brainwashes little kids into singing songs praising Barack Obama and writing letters to Republican legislators bashing them for “cutting education.” To folks like Rob and Chris, poltiics is JUST FINE as long as they correlate with what those two believe. MORE:
Think about what happened: Some dedicated public employees generated a “just the facts” report on charter schools. Unfortunately for them, the facts weren’t what a prominent and ambitious state politician wanted to hear about. Now, they are being hounded into producing a new report with “additional findings.”
Yeah. Like stuff that MATTERS! MORE:
As Charlotte Observer education reporter Ann Doss Helms reported this morning:
“If you want people to notice a data report, try having a public official object to it.
He and other state officials stood by the numbers. But Levinson said he’ll look for ways to highlight successes by the independently-run charter schools, such as adding a list of awards and accolades they’ve won.”
This is a dreadful example of politically and ideologically motivated interference in the kind of straightforward, non-ideological, non-political fact finding that citizens should demand and have a right to expect from their public servants. And while, such an occurrence is hardly unprecedented, the blatancy of this incident is so egregious that it will clearly have a chilling effect throughout state government going forward.
What’s more, don’t think for a moment that Forest and his ideological allies aren’t fully aware of this reality.
“Diversity” warriors are not about lifting people up. They’re about watering down standards and pulling people down to the same level. You see standards in the military and law enforcement being lowered to help female recruits. You see quotas based on race — and not academic performance — at all kinds of institutions. My alma mater, George Washington University, has quotas and full scholarships exclusively for DC high school graduates — who, conveniently, tend to be overwhelmingly black. Being black and graduating from a DC high school can get you a free ride to one of the nation’s most expensive, and most prestigious universities. Being white, graduating with respectable grades, and attending GW can earn you two to three work-study jobs while attending school and a whole lot of debt post-graduation.
Instead of making excuses for people — based on gender or race — why not ensure we’re actually educating ALL of our kids to be productive, successful members of society post-graduation? If we find innovative ways to do that, why not use them?