Editorial: Without the rhetoric, our schools are doing just fine

Published 8:04 am Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Roy Cooper, our lame duck Democratic governor, says the future of public education in North Carolina is in a state of emergency. He says that Republicans are rewarding the wealthy with tax cuts and putting the burden on our state’s children via the public education system.


Phil Berger, our Republican Senate President who for some reason reminds me of a right-wing Jim Hunt, says the future of public education relies on giving parents money so they can decide where to send their kids to school. He says that Democrats want to tax us to death by pouring money down an education rabbit hole.


The truth – or what’s best for our state’s students and taxpayers – lies somewhere in the middle. But in today’s political climate, rhetoric rules. What’s best for anyone isn’t considered by either side of the political fence.


Rhetoric riles up the masses. Folks just don’t like to think for themselves any more. They would rather be told what to hate (Bud Light, China, abortion) or what to love (Ukraine, electric cars, social programs). It just makes it easier for someone else to do your own thinking, and politicians and their minions are quick to help us out.

It seems that one side has to go further in a certain direction than is necessary just to rile up their supporters. Both sides do it, and are very good at it. Social media pundits don’t help.

We should be able to see through it, but we don’t.

I hear people say we’re as divided as a country as we’ve ever been. That’s bull, too. Brothers killed each other over differing political opinions as this country was founded. Divided, yes? We’ve always been politically divided, and I think that’s good. We just should not let a certain political ideology rule our every thought.

We have fell into the abyss of group think.

We shouldn’t do that with our educational system.

Our children are too important.

And our schools are not failing our students. Our politicians are.

We still have teachers who care. That’s the first step in having a successful school – public or private.

Last week, Davie High School seniors donned their graduation caps and gowns for a trip to the local elementary school where they first started their public educational journey. At Mocksville, there were tears from the seniors and from their teachers. That’s right, their teachers. Teachers who remembered students from 11-12 years ago. Teachers who cared about their success then, and who are genuinely proud the student is graduating high school.

And the students. They told the teachers they had made a difference, that they were their favorite and would never be forgotten.

It was a good time to be a teacher and a graduating senior.

Teacher pay always seems to be at the top when politicians start talking about education. And it is important. Teachers need to be paid fairly (So do newspaper reporters, but who’s sending out rhetoric on their behalf?) That’s why Davie schools offers supplements, to help recruit and retain teachers.

A $37,000 starting salary for a Davie teacher equates to a $54,000 cost to the Davie County School System. Those costs have to be considered when providing raises.

The takeaway here is that our public schools need our support. And they will continue to get it. The Roy Coopers and the Phil Bergers will have their time in the sun to rile up their masses, while in the halls of classrooms across Davie County, teachers are caring about their students.

It doesn’t sound like an emergency, does it? It doesn’t sound like money being wasted, does it?

– Mike Barnhardt