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My Views of Public Education and Opportunity Grants

Vouchers are an impediment to the State’s ability to see to it that all students have equal access to a quality education.  This is not to say that private schools are unable to provide a fine education.  There are very good private institutions.  In fact, I began my career in private education at a wonderful and innovative school.  So, what is my complaint?  Quite simply, our government is giving away our public resources to institutions for which there is no accountability … none.  Teachers needn’t be licensed.  Student progress needn’t be measured.  Subject matter taught can be of any sort.  

Our children deserve better!  In fact, in 2011 the Leandro Decision, written by Judge Manning demonstrates the obligation of our government to provide the very best education to our students and to provide the funding for that education.  In that case an ‘at-risk’ preschooler was being denied access to an early education.  Apparently, the State budget provided that only a certain percentage of at risk pre-schoolers could be funded.  Leandro struck that down!  

Too, there is a powerful statement in the Brown v. Board of Education case, ruled on by the Supreme Court in 1954.  

“A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn.”

       I am certain many of you readers remember the assertion of those times, that the government could fund institutions that separate the races, so long as those institutions were equal.  Fact finding through the suit proved that they were not equal.  Therefore older law was stricken and schools then had to integrate.  
       Today’s threat to equal access to a quality education are our vouchers.  Vouchers divert funding away from our public schools.  
            On the face of things parents taking advantage of vouchers cannot be guaranteed a quality education.  That is wrong, plain and simple!  Moreover, funding them insures that many children will enter the workforce unprepared to do life’s basics; balance a checkbook, vote wisely, inform oneself of the issues of the day, and improve one’s world for one’s children.
So my argument is simple.  For all citizens to have access to a uniform and free system of public schools, the State must provide adequate funding to make that dream a reality.  With each passing year, the current legislature has been wringing money out of our public schools – the schools to which they have a constitutional obligation.  They have cut funding for pre-school programs for our at risk children ensuring that many little people will start school with “A sense of inferiority.”  Research teaches us that when children start kindergarten behind their peers, they struggle mightily to catch up.  Many never do!  
The Supreme Court through Brown v Public Ed in 1954 and the Leandro ruling in 2011 seemed to get the importance of access to an equal and free public education.  
As the months unroll, this candidate would like you readers to know that I am not opposed to private education.  I am opposed to all of us paying for a totally unaccountable education.  
For the record.


I want to restore pre-school funding.  
I want to restore teacher assistant’s positions.  
I want to end opportunity grants (vouchers.)  
I want to reward teachers who invest in advanced degrees. 
I want to re-invite our best high school students to become teachers and stay in North Carolina by fully reinstating the Teaching Fellows program. 
I want to protect teachers from egregious firings by reinstating career status.  
I want to attract more teachers to stay in North Carolina by financially rewarding longevity and paying a wage competitive with our neighboring states.  
I want to see to it that our teachers have the supplies they need to serve and protect your children.  
I want our school boards to remain non-partisan and be given control of their own capital funds and fund balances.  
I want schools to have local control of the means and choices they make in implementing a strong state-wide curriculum and managing their own calendars to reflect the best interests of children and their learning; a calendar that reflects the input of many community stakeholders.
I want to see to it that corporate interests get out of our Charters.
I want to be certain that we revisit the use of our Lottery funds and purpose them, instead, to give every student who wants to attend a community college and undergraduate studies access to a free education.

There is more, but the bottom line is this:  Our children are our future! That is regardless of whether they are the children of Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, or unaffiliated voters.   Our public schools are a powerful economic engine for the growth of a community and region!  Our schools are the heart of the communities in which they live!  All life revolves around them.  Let us celebrate public education!  And finally, let’s remember our Constitution!


Bossert for State Senate
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