Now that all the swearing-in is done, the wrangling over education and politics is firing up. New Gov. Pat McCrory grabbed the headlines and internet buzz with his on-air comments about liberal education at UNC Chapel Hill. And consider some of the other developments just this week:
* The National School Boards Association is holding a conference in Washington, D.C., with Charlotte-Mecklenburg board members Ericka Elils-Stewart and Amelia Stinson-Wesley in attendance. The group is pushing legislation that would, in the words of the group's news release, "protect local school district governance from unnecessary and counter-productive federal intrusion from the U.S. Department of Education."
Allison says his group doesn't want to undermine traditional public schools, which he says are are likely to remain the option of choice even as the menu expands. He says his group supports one key point being advocated by CMS and other school districts: Greater flexibility for traditional public schools on such issues as hiring and firing teachers. The CMS legislative agenda seeks "one set of rules for both charters and traditional public schools to follow." Amen, says Allison.
* Meanwhile, Public Schools First North Carolina is voicing a counterpoint. "North Carolina’s equitable, diverse, and thriving public school system is under siege. Privatization efforts such as vouchers and tax credits threaten to drain resources from our schools, as growing numbers of charter schools siphon off active families," says the introduction to the PSFNC video laying out the case for keeping resources focused on traditional public schools.
Read more about PSFNC and other coalitions gearing up for legislative action from the (Raleigh) News & Observer, along with details about PSFNC in the WakeEd blog. Mecklenburg ACTS is among the groups that created PSFNC.
* Just today, I got a news release from the Durham-based N.C. Student Power Union saying they're mobilizing students "to oppose the far right agenda the new legislature will pursue."
* Political reporter Jim Morrill reports that CMS board Chairman Mary McCray and Vice Chairman Tim Morgan are in Raleigh meeting with legislators today. I don't have any details, though the afore-mentioned legislative agenda would be a pretty safe guess.
* And McCrory today nominated three people for the state Board of Education, hoping to get them approved before next week's state board meeting.