Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Former Gov. Perdue taking respite from politics in education

Nearly two years removed from office, former Gov. Bev Perdue is still loath to talk politics. Instead, she's joining with a lot of former elected officials to push education reform.

About 18 months ago, Perdue (a former schoolteacher and a Ph.D.-holder in education administration) launched an organization called DigiLearn, which emphasizes technology and digital education in the classroom. Former Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer, a Republican, is her vice chairman.

And just last week, Perdue joined the advisory network of Education Post, a new nonprofit run by Peter Cunningham, who served in the Department of Education in the Obama administration. Informed by the politicization of Common Core standards, that group wants to tone down the discourse around education.

Perdue's first blog post for that site calls for a national bipartisan dialogue among business and political leaders on how classrooms need to change to adapt to new technologies and the modern economy.

"This broad-based discussion would really try to define for us as a country and a people, at the level of parents and teachers and policy makers, where we are as a country," Perdue said in a brief interview this week.

She said the results of that discussion should be implemented at the state level. "I don't necessarily think ... a big national solution is the right way to go now," she said.

When asked, Perdue wouldn't say much about her feelings about the debate over education in North Carolina right now.

Clearly, teacher pay was a hot political topic this summer as the legislature hammered out a controversial salary increase. It's continued into the fall as N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis challenges U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan for her seat in Washington.

The public rhetoric has included plenty of finger pointing on both sides about which party treated education better while in control of the General Assembly. Democrats ran the state legislature until Republican victories in 2010. Perdue was governor from 2008 until 2012, when she declined to pursue re-election.

Perdue said a "professional, well trained teacher work force" is a part of the solution. She also said that the recession that took hold of the economy just as Perdue took office meant that "there was a total inability to do what should have been done" with the state's education system.

But she wouldn't review how Republicans have done since taking over the General Assembly.

"I’m not going to cast aspersions at anyone now," she said. "I gave myself a two-year timeout. I just haven’t been involved in anyway. I've written some checks, but I haven’t been involved in any of the day-to-day rhetoric." (A quick Federal Elections Committee search shows she gave $2,500 to a Hillary Clinton PAC this year)

"We should focus on how we can work together rather than how we can tear each other down," Perdue said. "There can be this healthy discussion. For the sake of our country, we have to get beyond this rapid, mean partisanship."

Perdue promised to talk politics on the record with me after Jan. 2015. In the meantime, she's living in Chapel Hill, building a house in Raleigh and said she's in the process of joining a "national firm."


Anonymous said...

Great. Just what we need is another "non-profit" funded by Bill Gates. Their idea of a sound education is having kids sit at a computer for six hours a day. This just proves Perdue was/is a corporate puppet all along - just like ALL politicians regardless of party affiliation.

Wiley Coyote said...

Same Perdue who raided the Education Lottery of $110 MILLION dollars, froze teacher salaries and continued the ridiculous waste in tax dollars with More At Four.

I hope the state doesn't spend 2 cents on anything she's selling...

Anonymous said...

didn't she already have a crack at it?

Anonymous said...

TEACHERS under the leadership of this "former teacher" lost more salary, benefits and pension than under the leadership of any other Governor in history.


Anonymous said...

Thats the problem right there. "Business leaders" and politicians dont have a damn clue how to run a classroom much less how they need to change to adapt to something new. Throw every CMeS administrator over at the Ivory Tower and you have an expensive think tank that continues to loose TRILLIONS of taxpayer money on education with the only measurable result being a free fall out of the Top 25 in world order.

Shamash said...

So what's her new corporate motto?

Do as I say, not as I do?

Just what the world needs..

An Educrat turned politician, turned digital education "entrepreneur"...

Seems that everyone is hoping to make a buck off the kids futures.

I hope that bubble bursts soon.

Anonymous said...

Shamash, too much money to be made and too many careers to advance. CMS is all over the digitizing of our children's education. More coming soon.

Wiley Coyote said...


Never will...


Anonymous said...

Perdue created the problems that Tillis is getting slammed for having to solve. Tillis did was was necessary and then reinstated $ to bring our newest teacher salaries more in line. His reward: getting slammed by all the outside the state advertising dollars.
It's the Perdue's of the world causing the problems - sorry, she is not needed anywhere near education improvement efforts.