|When confronted by the fact that North Carolina
principals made the decisions to promote 6,100 fifth graders this past year
who failed part of the End of Grade tests, Chairman of the State Board of
Education, Phil Kirk expressed these warm sentiments:
"It's going to be real interesting to see how many school systems took the
policy seriously and how many ignored it. I'm
disappointed that apparently some principals didn't have the backbone to
enforce the policy. It's good news that students are doing better,
but I expected more students to have been retained."
October 3, 2001, Raleigh News & Observer
Another gem from Chairman Kirk in a recent letter to his other employer, North Carolina Citizens for Business & Industry:
"To return to a time when state standards were loose and accountability virtually nonexistent would be a disservice to the students of this state. In a perfect world, accountability and testing would not be needed. Every teacher, every student and every school would master rigorous coursework at a high level without any nudges from a state accountability program. For more than 100 years, we operated as though this were true. It wasnt, and so we have reached the current bend in the road"
The simultaneous gall and fallaciousness of this statement are astounding. Did former Teacher of the Year Kirk need a "nudge" to do his job as best he could? Does he think he was the only teacher who ever worked hard? What about the things we DON'T get "nudged" for - extracurricular sponsorships, teacher-funded projects, recommendation letters, non-compensated after-school tutoring, and so on - how is it that we do all of this without benefit of a state-sponsored "nudge?" How is it that the overwhelming majority of NC's workforce, from blue collar to professional, who were educated in this state by NC Public Schools, are currently successful in this state? How did they ever make it without the benefit of their teachers being "nudged?"
Chairman Kirk's sentiments are reflective of his "the help is shiftless and you gotta keep kickin' them in the butt" mentality, be it the help on a plantation or a plant, where the management believes that the slaves or the workers will only produce if they are "nudged." In a perfect world we would "nudge" Phil Kirk into a different line of work.
Last March, Kirk hailed NC Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry's move to repeal NC's ergonomic standards, stating that "It is great to have a labor commission from the business community that understands our concerns." Mr. Kirk doesn't believe that the health issue of ergonomics should be regulated and prefers voluntary programs instead. "We've been saying all along that it doesn't make sense to not do our best to protect our workers."
We get it Mr. Kirk. Business can monitor itself and regulate itself. Teachers, on the other hand, require constant supervision. Makes perfect sense to us.....NOT!! It sure would be nice to have a Chairman of the State Board of Education who understood teacher and parent concerns.