by Sam Hieb
Imagine my surprise when reading the Greensboro News & Record’s “Short Stack” editorial– the Monday morning roundup of sound bites that they think no one will read because they’re too depressed the weekend’s over—-when I saw this item tucked away the very, very back:
In a stroke of bipartisan fairness and good sense, the state House on Wednesday righted a shameful wrong in North Carolina public schools. Thousands of low-income students who were capable of advanced classes were being kept out of those classes because of the subjective judgment of teachers and administrators.
The News & Observer of Raleigh and Charlotte Observer exposed the practice last year in a series of articles that noted, over a six-year period ending in 2015, 9,000 low-income students had been left out of the classes even though they were capable of the more rigorous work.
So, the state House voted 114-0 to support a bill that requires public schools to place any student who scored a Level 5 — the highest score on state end-of-grade or end-of-course math exams — in advanced math classes. This matters, because it can have a profound impact on a student’s academic future, including his or her prospects for college. This also a cautionary tale about the destructive power of low expectations. House Bill 986 now goes to the Senate, where it merits swift approval.
Boy that’s a far cry from Sunday’s editorial, where evil Republicans have re-introduced Jim Crow to our public schools:
The Republican-controlled General Assembly has given new wings to white flight.
As if North Carolina hadn’t regressed far enough in resegregation, lawmakers passed a bill last week that empowers four municipalities in Mecklenburg County to establish their own charter schools.
Specifically, House Bill 514 allows the Charlotte suburbs of Cornelius, Huntersville, Matthews and Mint Hill to create charter schools and to give preference for enrollment to their own residents. A companion bill allows them to fund the schools with property taxes.
All of these communities are affluent and predominantly white. Among the combined governing boards of all four municipalities is one black member in Matthews — who opposed the charter school idea. Voting yes in the House for HB 514 — which passed, 64-53, with not one Democratic vote — were Guilford County Republicans John Blust, John Faircloth and Jon Hardister.
….As for the broader implications, it would be naïve to believe this kind of legislation will begin and end in Mecklenburg County. When state NAACP President T. Anthony Spearman termed in “a sneaky and underhanded” way to create “independent and Jim Crow school districts,” it wasn’t an overstatement.
Gosh you’d think the geniuses down at the N&R would think it’s logical that municipalities would want to break away from school systems committing such “shameful wrongs.” But I guess that wasn’t in the NAACP talking points from which the N&R gets its cues.