With nearly 40 years of professional experience, North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson brings an informed perspective to the table when asked about education issues. Yet, after she recently expressed concern that students at public and private schools will not take the same standardized tests, House Majority Leader Paul “Skip” Stam suggested that Atkinson “should stick to her own knitting.”
Perhaps the Republican leader has grown weary of hearing the relentless criticism of the GOP action on education, but that type of sexist arrogance has no place in the public discourse. North Carolina has a right to expect its public officials to comport themselves with dignity and respect toward others, basic measures of which Stam fell well short.
When the General Assembly negotiated the state budget earlier this year, education was key to the discussion. One controversial measure, pushed by Pitt County’s Rep. Brian Brown, created a voucher system by which low-income families could receive tuition assistance to send their children to public schools. As could be expected, the routing of public dollars to private institutions caused considerable disagreement in Raleigh.
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