State educators target conservatives

March 4, 2011 12:21:42 PM PST
The state's association of educators is using a hit from the 1970s to take a jab at several prominent conservatives who want to change education.

The video, which is posted on the North Carolina Association of Educator's website, paints an unflattering picture of the house majority leader, the Wake County school board chair and two big Republican Party backers.

The NCAE calls the video "Money and Privatization: A Love Story." It's an effort to stop a bill from lifting the cap of the number of charter schools in North Carolina.

"It's going to transfer millions, hundreds of millions of dollars from traditional to public schools to unaccountable charter schools," NCAE's Brian Lewis said.

As Lewis voiced teacher concerns at the legislature, those targeted in his video are also making their voices heard.

"Their attack is just preposterous," House Majority Leader Paul Stam said.

Stam says more charter schools, which are public schools run by private entities, would improve education.

"What it means to be a charter school is that you judge education by outcomes rather than by input," Stam added.

The video claims Stam is influenced by the campaign money he gets from charter school founder Bob Luddy and that donations from conservative Art Pope should be considered money meant to dismantle public schools.

"The claims are a complete lie by the NCAE," Pope said.

Pope says he never contributed to any school board member's campaign as the video claims, but to the Wake County Republican Party, just as he's done for years.

He also says his foundation has donated about $200,000 to public education in recent years.

"I don't receive money," Pope said. "I give money to public education."

The NCAE video also claims Luddy has profited from his charter schools, but according to tax documents provided to Eyewitness News, he has received no compensation for his role.

The NCAE stands by the video and says it is not against charter schools, just their lack of inclusiveness.

"If these are public schools, let's make them accessible to the public," Lewis said.

"If the NCAE would like to propose that charter schools get 100 percent funding, then they can say with a straight face you shall provide those things," Stem said.

The House Education Committee will be hearing the bill on Tuesday. So, whether you support lifting the cap on charter schools as this is written or not, now's the time to reach out to your representative.

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