Thursday, July 30, 2015

NC Education of Tomorrow

Raleigh, North Carolina, April 2019

Political leaders gathered to celebrate today as Department of Education bulldozers upgraded the last NC public school, replacing it with a picturesque park.

"It has been a long road," said State Education Biggifier Harlen McDimbulb, overseeing the work as the dozer knocked down the last chart-encrusted data wall. "But our big breakthrough came with the court ruling that certified our voucher system back there a few years. That finally allowed us to get money and support to outstanding schools like God Loves White Guys High and Aryan Academy. Great private schools were being denied public tax dollars just because they wouldn't teach state-approved so-called 'fact' and 'science.'"

"Vouchers opened the door," said Assistant Secretary of Money Laundering Chauncey Gotbux. "But with the court's blessing, we were finally able to use public education tax dollars as they were meant to be used-- as a source of profit for people who deserve it."

Asked about the looseness of oversight and accountability for the tax dollars, Gotbux replied, "When you give the money to the right people, you can trust that they do the right thing with it."

"There were some serious problems," admitted Golly Mugbungle of the Greater North Carolina School Choice Initiative Authority. "We quickly streamlined the process so that non-public schools could get their money just by asking for it and completing a simple yet rigorous form. But since the form only asked 'Are you a school' and we had no follow-up investigation to look at those claims, we discovered that we were mistakenly sending tax dollars to public schools." He chuckled nostalgically. "Yeah, we had to shut that down pretty quickly."

"The upgrade of public education in NC required several different initiatives," said McDimbulb. "It helped to set up a clear choice for parents-- would you rather have your child trapped in third grade forever while he tries to pass the state's reading exam, or in a fun private school where reading is only occasionally taught at all? Do you want your child stuck in a school where she has to sit in rooms with the children of Those People, or do you want her to be able to relax with children of the right kind of folks?"

"Initially the exodus was a little too slow," added Mugbungle. "We helped that along with the Furniture and Accessories Initiative of 2017. Under that law, public schools, in addition to the funding that they had to give up through vouchers, were required to give desks, chairs, tables and clocks to any private school that asked for them. The cost savings to private schools that no longer had to come up with, say, their own roofing or parking lot asphalt were considerable. At one point we were looking at ways to strip the paint off public school walls and give it to private schools, but that just wasn't feasible."

McDimbulb interjected. "The teacher part of the puzzle stumped us for a while. You recall the courts told us we couldn't just cancel tenure or their pensions. We thought not giving them a raise for almost a decade might do it, but again, progress was just too slow." He shook his head and smiled. "We could not get them pesky sumbitches to give up-- like cockroaches. So the Teacher Excellence Protection To Excel Act of 2017 right-sized the teacher pay scale so that we have actually reduced their salaries each year, thereby protecting teachers from the stress of having to decide what to do with disposable income. We are proud to say that base salary for a teacher in North Carolina is now $147.53. The three teachers receiving that pay seem quite satisfied with it."

"To fill teacher-ish jobs, the alternative certificate program has been highly successful. You've probably seen our Teaching Certificate Vending Machines in most major super-markets. We share the revenue with TFA and it has worked well for us," said Gotbux. "Anybody with a couple of quarters to rub together can become part of the exciting world of education."

"People have questioned the quality of many of our Private Education Fund Recipients (what y'all sometimes call schools), and we are proud to say that as officials of the state government, we have no idea, " said McDimbulb.

Gotbux laughed and corrected him. "MY salary is actually paid by the charter school industry."

"Anyway," McDimbulb continued, "we think it's best that we not meddle with the private schools in any way, so we try to stay completely ignorant of what they're doing. Though I do hear rumors from time to time. Why, I heard tell of one innovative program where science class is built around old Flintstones videos. How clever is that? The Flintstones are a great way to combine historical lessons with humor."

"There are some public school students left," said McDimbulb. "We'll be pitching a nice tent for them to have classes in right over there. We expect to set up the tent next Monday, and then Tuesday we'll be fining the school for holding classes in a tent. We need to get them off this lot because we have plans to put up a statue of Jesus riding a dinosaur here."


  1. Gotbux laughed and corrected him. "MY salary is actually paid by the charter school industry."

    5th Class Date Sheet 2016

  2. This is so clever it almost makes me forget how awful the situation is.

  3. Peter,

    Have you ever seen the video of the creationist home-schooling mom ---a fundamentalist Christians, of course---going through Chicago's Field Museum, and debunking its pro-evolution exhibits?

    Since the Bible mentions the existence of dragons, and that those dragons co-existed around 5,000 years ago with humans, the home-schooling mom claims that there's no such things as dinosaurs, and denies they lived more than 5,000 years ago.

    "They're dragons!"

    It's 30 minutes of alternately hilarious and depressing (those poor kids of hers) video.

    Near the end, she calls condemns one exhibit, "This is just fantasy, like dragons," but then uncomfortably catches herself, "Except that dragons are real."

  4. I know that it looks bad from outside of North Carolina, but there are not near as many charter schools here as in many states. That will change soon because the charter school cap (100 for the entire state) was lifted several years ago, and, of course, the voucher law was allowed by the courts.

    The teacher pay is terrible. However, there is some hope on other fronts. The Common Core curriculum is being re-considered and North Carolina did not join the PARCC or the other one. North Carolina students are still taking too many standardized tests, but there is a state-level committee meeting to discuss the amount of testing.

    In my district, the superintendent has publicly criticized the amount of testing, and is attempting to lessen the amount of instructional time lost due to testing.

    We shall see if things improve on the testing front, but at least people are pushing back and getting some attention.