Home > Uncategorized > NYTimes Profile of Greene County NC School Illustrates Inequities, Consequences of Cuts

NYTimes Profile of Greene County NC School Illustrates Inequities, Consequences of Cuts

June 7, 2018

Over the past decade, public education funding in North Carolina has nosedived and with it equity and opportunity have vanished for large swaths of students. Yesterday’s NYTimes featured an article by Dana Goldstein that offered a chilling description of how those budget cuts affected Greene County, one of the poorest jurisdictions in the State. Titled “What Budget Cuts Mean for Third Graders in a Rural School”, the article could apply to poor rural schools anywhere in the country, though NC is especially devastated because of their legislature’s decisions to cut taxes that fund public education.

Ms. Goldstein’s article describes everything that is wrong with the “reform” mindset in public education, the “trickle down” mindset of politicians, and the priorities that schools are setting in the face of school shootings. The article describes:

  • how all instruction except for test preparation comes to a standstill in the weeks leading up to the State assessment.
  • how students prepare for the exams using software on Chromebooks instead of laptops because Chromebooks are cheaper
  • how teachers spend money out of their own pockets to print the downloaded materials so that children do not have access to the internet in their homes can complete their test prep work at home.
  • how some children have been repeatedly late for school because their bus is broken down and their is insufficient funding to fix it
  • how students ARE able to go on a field trip to a baseball game and learn about soil and the solar system thanks to “private philanthropy”… who chose these over, say, having their taxes raised to pay for things like textbooks and paper for copying machines.
  • how budget cuts, which the NYTimes gullibly attributes to “…rising costs for health care and pensions” in addition to “tax cuts“, compelled the district to eliminate a successful after school program, library books, and ancillary staff.
  • how the costs for teachers to participate in National Board Certification, a prestigious professional development program that affluent districts routinely access, are no longer available.
  • how playground and PE equipment are dilapidated and, in some cases, unusable
  • how teacher salaries in North Carolina have dropped by 9 percent since 2009, when adjusted for inflation, which has resulted in a statewide teacher shortage.

And last, but not least and by far the most sad result, a description of how the Principal might use any additional funding. She said she:

“… might restart the after-school program or hire a school psychologist. Or, with all the school shootings in the news, she could address safety needs by installing a buzz-in system or hiring a school resource officer.”

It is an awful circumstance that a district with the some of the lowest salaries, neediest children, and most outdated infrastructure might be compelled to use scarce resources for a buzz-in system or an SRO instead of restarting an after school program or hiring a psychologist. Awful… but it is the world we live in.

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