Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Survey: Lawmakers are in the doghouse

People who answered a recent UNC Wilmington online survey are plenty mad about the N.C. legislature's recent changes to education, according to a recent report.

With the 2014 session looming,  we seem to be getting a poll a week,  and most of them show what the sponsors go in looking for.  So let's be clear up front:  This was a self-selected group of more than 2,350 people who responded to links shared by PTAs and social media,  including,  apparently,  the Observer's Facebook page.  Participants were skewed toward middle-class women who have kids in public schools and/or have worked in public education.

Respondents trust teachers ...
Still,  it's always interesting to hear what folks have to say.  More than 95 percent said they trust teachers and principals to make decisions about education,  compared with just over 60 percent who trust their local school board and just over 3 percent who trust the governor and state legislature.
... a lot more than they trust these guys.
More than 90 percent said North Carolina is headed the wrong direction when it comes to public education.  Especially unpopular: Increasing class sizes,  decreasing per-pupil spending,  giving schools letter grades,  cutting pay for advanced degrees,  providing private-school vouchers and lowering the percentage of certified teachers required at charter schools.  Among people who have never worked for a school system,  there were mixed reviews for Teach for America,  the Read to Achieve program and the controversial  "25 percent plan"  to replace teacher tenure.

About 30 percent of the parents who responded said they've considered private or charter schools for their children. “We are actively searching for private school options to escape the ridiculousness that has become the NC school system!”  one reported.

And,  of course,  the overwhelming majority think teachers need a raise.  It's looking like the only debate on that point is going to be who gets how much  (and that debate will be a doozy).

The survey by UNCW Professors Robert Smith and Scott Imig follows one that tallied educators'  reactions to the legislative session in December.


Wiley Coyote said...

According to the latest Real Clear Politics Poll, 42.9% of Americans give Obama a positive job approval rating.

From the Winston Salem Journal, March 15, 2014:

...So on the six occasions in which new North Carolina governors have been elected since 1972, their parties have lost an average of 33 legislative seats in the next midterm election. That doesn’t mean that the governors in question were fully or even mostly responsible for the outcomes. In 1974, for example, Republicans took a bath nationwide in the wake of the Watergate scandal. In 1994, Republicans surged nationwide in response to President Clinton’s various miscues, including the creation of an unpopular health-care plan. Sixteen years later, history repeated itself in GOP advances in the aftermath of Obamacare’s unpopular passage in 2009-10.

Right now, however, it doesn’t look like North Carolina Democrats will get much benefit from national trends. If anything, the 2014 cycle promises to be at least a mildly Republican one across the country, with a reasonable chance that the GOP will finally win back a majority in the U.S. Senate (after blowing its opportunities in 2010 and 2012 because of disastrous candidate recruitment). In North Carolina, Gov. McCrory’s average job-approval ratings are upside down at 41 percent/44 percent. But President Obama and Sen. Kay Hagan are in worse shape: at 43 percent/52 percent and 37 percent/47 percent, respectively.

To be frank about it, no one — not even the most optimistic liberal operative in the state — believes that the Democrats are about to reclaim dozens of legislative seats. I don’t disagree with the conventional wisdom that blames redistricting and the GOP’s fundraising edge for much of the Democrats’ plight. Still, it’s worth noting that despite running in Democratic-gerrymandered districts and facing massive fundraising disadvantages, Republicans managed to win sizable gains against Democratic governors in 1978 and 2002 — and truly enormous gains in 1994 and 2010.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, a clear demarcation when given the choice between people you might interact with once per year and those you never interact with. So a hierarchy of evilness appears. teachers, least evil, principals somewhat evil, layers of administration evil, school boards and superintendent pure evil. Too bad they don't break down the respondents by elementary, middle, and high schools.

Anonymous said...

All one needs to see is that image. TFA in legislation.

Anonymous said...

Stooge Governor and wingnut controlled Legislature have made a mockery of a once great state. Tragic!

Anonymous said...

Pat McCrory and Republican controlled Legislature have trashed a once great state. Tragic!

Anonymous said...

About 30 percent of the parents who responded said they've considered private or charter schools for their children. “We are actively searching for private school options to escape the ridiculousness that has become the NC school system!” one reported.

This is exactly what the GOP wants to hear: a public so fed up with public schools that they seek private education for their children.

This is because the GOP is completely against public education as a matter of political belief. But they can't dismantle public schools all at once. The outcry would run them from office.

So they just demean, degrade, disparage and defund public education bit by bit, a little here, a tad there until there's nothing left.

Next up, the UNC system.

No matter what Gov. McCrory bemoans about Charlotte's lack of a research university, this gaggle of galumphs opposes the UNC system, too.

Anonymous said...

Never in my six decades of living in this state have I seen such an incompetent, arrogant, and damaging legislature. I voted Republican all my life until 2012 ( after seeing the destruction brought on by these Ayn Rand misfits). Oh for the days of people like Jim Martin!

bobcat99 said...

The UNC system is already being dismantled. There is system enrollment increases on most campuses, even as campuses have seen, on average, a 16% cut in revenue since 2007. But that's not good enough for Governor McPope. Faculty are leaving to go somewhere they are appreciated. Unlike public education teachers, many of them can pick up and move. Whatever its weaknesses, NC and the UNC system were the crown jewels of the South since the 1960's. The GOP has cast the tiara in the sludge. It's painful to watch.

Anonymous said...

I too want to pretend to be a former Republican as that is very popular today.

And how can we not appease everyone like we have do so in the past.

The Democrats know how to do it, they know where to get money, they did it before and they are willing to do it again and again.

Wiley Coyote said...

If Republicans are killing public education in North Carolina, then who will you vote for next?

Obama and Duncan favor eliminating tenure and revamping compensation.

Democrat Governors in other states have fought to end tenure over the past few years.

Democrat Bev Perdue cut/froze teacher pay and raided the Education lottery - twice.

...and so on...

The fact is, government as a whole going back 50 years has driven public education in the dirt with failed policies, political correctness and wasteful spending.

Both parties are to blame.

Anonymous said...

I wish we could go back to a time when we had reasonable people in office, on either side. We seem to have either extremely liberal or extremely conservative with very litte in between. I was hopeful McCrory would bring balance to the office however that not been the case, however he still has time to find his way.

Shamash said...


Even scarier:

A National Science Foundation study involving 2,200 participants...


And just over half understood that antibiotics are not effective against viruses.

Clearly something isn't working right.

Let's all vote ourselves some more money and see if the problem goes away...

Shamash said...

Teach for America might not be such a bad idea if instead of putting fresh non-Education graduates in schools after a quick teaching "boot camp", they encouraged them to get M.Ed's while getting paid to stay in school.

Then, when they graduate properly trained to teach, they can teach for a few years to repay the investment.

Just an idea.

Anonymous said...

The gov & republican legislature run a dictatorship, taking their orders from ALEC. They claim christian values, and then defy much of what Christ teaches especially about caring for the least of his little ones. Odd they claim to be pro-business, yet any business needs teachable workers with good educations,yet they undermined our public schools. You want to make an impact, boycott the companies in ALEC. The gov & republican legistlators are committed to ALEC, but if the companies in ALEC can't get qualified workers in NC, will they be committed to NC? Not likely. They will go to other states with better educated workforces.


Anonymous said...

Interesting for me to note how often the Observer is attacking the Republican led state govt in their newspaper versus when we had a Democrat for Gov. There are three stories today. The Observer is averaging roughly one per day. You liberals hate that we the people are not as ignorant as you wish we were so that it would make forcing your agenda that much easier. You hide the truth about your own party and its goals (along with a plethora of other subjects like black crimes against whites) naively thinking we don't know that you're hiding that truth or that we don't have other sources of information, sources that tell the truth and no, I'm not talking about Fox News. Which I think it hilarious that you people keep blaming Fox News, as if they were the only source for truth out there.

kantstanzya said...

Public education has been going downhill for decades. It is not usually blamed on the Governor and legislature unless it is a Republican one. Amazing job....fast work...by Gov. McCrory in destroying the public education system in his one year as governor!

Ms. Helms was fair in disclosing that this "poll" was a non scientific one made up of public education interest groups including a large amount of those employed in it. The solution as always is "more money". But there is absolutely no correlation between per pupil expenditures and educational performance. And only a tenuous one between performance and class size.

Teachers need a raise. Who can argue with that? Doesn't everyone. But how do we pay for it? Ask the question if people support raises if their taxes go up. How much are they willing to see their taxes go up? I suspect the majority of people who do not consider the budget and think everything is as simple as just spending more money are more than willing to pay for it by seeing someone else's taxes go up.

Public school vouchers, charter schools and initiatives like Teach For America are opposed by people who value the status quo over actually improving education...especially for low income and minority children who don't have the means to opt out otherwise. We need more people trained in the subject they are teaching instead of being indoctrinated with questionable "education" subjects. Albert Einstein would not be qualified to teach public school physics but someone who spent of their class time in nonsensical diversity awareness and social consciousness education classes but very little physics would.

"More than 90% said North Carolina is headed the wrong direction when it comes to public education." Count me with that number.And it has been for 40 years or more. But the problem is not money. It is failure to kick out the people who don't want to be there and improve the educational environment for those who do...including the teachers. It is to stop using the schools for social and cultural re-engineering and babysitting services and getting back to hard nosed educational basics.

We continue to get what we deserve in our public schools.

Unknown said...

Something to think about--if the margin of error was 50%, then
the 95% (would be 50%) who trust teachers and principals to make decisions about education, and 60 percent who trust their local school board (would be 30%),and the 3 percent who trust the governor and state legislature would be 1.5%. If the trust for the governor and state went in the other directions, then only 12% of the folks would trust them. No matter how you look at it, people place more trust in the teachers and principals to make decisions about education.

Read more here: http://obsyourschools.blogspot.com/2014/03/survey-lawmakers-are-in-doghouse.html#storylink=cpy

Shamash said...

Anon 11:30.

" but if the companies in ALEC can't get qualified workers in NC, will they be committed to NC?"

This is not an issue.

Today, most companies (especially the big ones) don't DEPEND on local workers anyway.

The workforce is very mobile.

Most companies bring workers with them if they move or hire from anywhere in the world, if needed.

Companies will just bring in what they need from outside or outsource to where the workers are.

That's why costs of doing business are more important than the so-called benefits from those "investments" in things such as education.

The "investment" in education is just as likely to benefit some other company in some other state as it is one in NC.

So no one really cares.

Because no one can make anyone stay here once they are "educated".

Most companies today don't even invest in their own internal talent once they hire someone.

They prefer to steal talent developed by other companies.

This is the way for most companies today.

And it's been that way for probably forty years or more.

Shamash said...

In a self-selected poll such as this, the only thing you can say about the poll is that it represents the people who took the poll.

And nothing more.

And if it is done in any manner other than face-to-face, you can't trust the demographics, either.

I can remember some of the "drug use" surveys we took as school kids.

One look at those would have made you think Charlie Manson was running the school.

Shamash said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Garth Vader said...

In other shocking news, a poll of beet farmers confirms that beets are good for you.

This "poll" is such a joke. Do you have no shame, ADH?

Shamash said...


Agree on the vast majority of what you wrote.

I think there is a solution for teacher raises, though.

Get rid of excessive administration and split the savings among the teachers.

When you look at school staffing, for some reason we now have just as many non-teachers as teachers working in the schools (or rather in "administration", whether in the schools or in central offices).

This seems excessive.

And "teachers" have varying classroom responsibilities as well, which make those teacher:student ratios look better than they actually are when you look at class sizes.

It's odd to me that we have teacher:student ratios of better than 1:13 in the nation overall while average class sizes are roughly double that (with some exceeding 30 kids).

That just doesn't seem right to me and is a sign that "human resources" are not being managed very well.

(And, yes, I do know how those different averages and ratios are calculated, so it's not just that because the teacher:student ratios have been steadily dropping over the decades.)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Garth Vader. This online poll is a joke.

The poll is meant to spoon feed talking points to liberal journalists looking to kick out those meany republicans. Mission accomplished.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

This summer was a mistake. I want the dems out of the Fed senate but I will not vote for Tillis.

Anonymous said...

The problem with TFA is they put 2 years in and then they go. Especially now..

Anonymous said...

From the feedback I have heard from business leaders, they are not happy either. I think everyone is shaking their heads at the moment.

Anonymous said...

That my be true but even conservative are dumbfounded by recent legislation in education.

Anonymous said...

I don't blame Mcory as much as I do Tillis and Berger. Tillis said " teachers don't care about kids or the classroom, all they care about is their pay and mention". My children's teachers work hard. Teachers go above and beyond these days. To me there is a disconnect between our legislation and state. I watch Fox news but this is not New York. Teachers are not in unions. Their pay is ridiculously low and not even competitive for the south.

Anonymous said...

He may do a better job of running NC:)

Anonymous said...

That's the cool thing about being independent, now it's time to vote for the other guy. I have friends and family that are teachers. Their treatment has been awful.

Anonymous said...

From what I have seen, some TFA teachers are good, some are bad. Most leave...

Anonymous said...

The middle class can't opt out!! We can't afford private schools. We can't get free lunch. We can't get vouchers. I like my children's school and teachers. I don't want them to leave. NC is an independent state. We can walk and chew gum. We can fight federal intrusion of our schools and put in state politicians that support our teachers.

Anonymous said...

What's ADH?

Anonymous said...

Not what, 7:37, who: It's me, Ann Doss Helms. Wow, I must have really made it in the education world -- I have my own acronym!

Anonymous said...

I think the boys in Raleigh are doing a good job of kicking themselves out. Many of the conservative papers I have read are questioning recent legislative moves. NC does not have unions and conservatives (until recently) have usually done well working with teachers. The problem is going to be with independents. The Lt govener seems to have a better grasp on state issues and education. Teachers in this state have lost a lot in the past 6 years. Regardless of my beliefs with tenure and masters pay, this summer could have been a chance for conservatives to restore balance to teacher pay. Taking more away and making arrogant comments was a bad move. The move to give younger cheaper teachers a raise was needed but may be to little to late. That and it only helps 1/3 of our teachers, leaving 2/3 in the dark. From my observation NC has a problem keeping teachers. Only 1 in 4 teachers made it to tenure. Why was tenure such an issue? What happens when more experienced native NC teachers start leaving? They have family members and friends that will take notice. How did any of the legislation this summer improve our states condition? I know many of these issues are played out on the national stage but as a conservative, education is a states rights issue.

Anonymous said...

Beets are good for you.

Anonymous said...

Just keep voting for the other guy until someone figures it out... I voted for Mcory and Tillis, next time I will not. That's living in a republic. NC was not always this way. We used to have balance and politicians that work together on issues like education.

Anonymous said...

Ann, I do not envy your position, you can't win:-)

Anonymous said...

Don't feel too bad for me. I enjoy my work and people care about what I do, even if they don't always like how I do it.

Anonymous said...

Conservative teachers should vote for Greg Brannon. Send Tillis home.. In 3 years Mcroy. If public employees would get out and vote, we can make a difference. Spread the word!!!!! If your tired of federal intrusion, common core and the Mcory Obama crowd, give Greg a look.