North Carolina voters are dissatisfied with the state’s education leaders, from Raleigh to the local school board, according to a recent poll. This loss of faith in the leadership of the state’s public education system may result in less control of a monolithic industry by a select few and open the door to more educational choices.

A January survey of likely voters by the Civitas Poll, now a part of the John Locke Foundation, shows a growing frustration with how state and local education leaders have handled the education of students in the public school system, both with restrictions initiated by the governor and now because of curriculum changes promoting social justice issues and not education

When asked about school operations, only 39% of those polled supported Governor Cooper’s executive orders that restrict public schools to use either hybrid or remote classroom instruction while 46% expressed dissatisfaction. But diving deeper into the poll data, the disapproval of the governor’s leadership was strongest among Hispanics with 56% expressing dissatisfaction with his restrictive orders.

Donald Bryson, foundation president, noted that although Gov. Cooper has enjoyed high approval ratings during the first four years of his administration the polling data shows, “voters are running out of patience with his handling of reopening schools.”

Local school boards did not avoid public criticism in the polling data with 45% of those surveyed expressing either somewhat or strong disapproval of the local leaders as well. Approval rating for local school boards came in five points lower at 34% as compared with the governor’s approval rating.

The N.C. Senate is expected to take up a bill this week that will settle the dispute about classroom participation by requiring schools to re-open for in-person classes. But that will only exacerbate an already bad situation. There are so many players in the debate that any effort to strong arm a solution will only divide the parents, teachers, school board members and even the public writ large.

As we have opined in previous editorials there is a need to re-think education. The concept is not new but it has taken an international calamity to bring this subject to the table for serious consideration. But legislature and educational leaders continue to ignore the need for change and corrective action.

There is no question that students learn best in the three-dimensional environment provided in a classroom setting with a teacher leading the class. But one size does not fit all as the current public school system currently promotes.

Yes, there are teachers that want to return to the classroom and they should. Likewise, there are very willing students and supportive parent wanting the same result. But what about those teachers and students who are resistant to returning to the classroom because of sincere concerns of becoming ill with the Covid-19? That’s a real possibility and these concerns should be addressed and accommodated as well.

And, as we’ve noted, the return to a classroom environment will not make up for the “lost year” as educational leaders are now describing the closure of classes during the spring semester last school year and the closure of the fall semester this year. Academic proficiencies have declined and it will take at minimum a full semester, if not longer, to get students back to grade level.

Lindalyn Kakadelis, Executive Director of the N.C. Coalition for Public Charter Schools, notes that students have been and are falling behind with “over 40% of 3rd-8th graders NOT grade level proficient…and 59% are not career and college ready in math.”

Compounding the problems of leadership is a pending decision, to be made this week by the State Board of Education, changing the state’s social studies curriculum to be more inclusive about social issues; a plan that has upset conservatives on the board. Of particular concern are topics such as “systemic racism,” “systemic discrimination” and a directive to “compare competing narratives of the historical development of the U.S. and North Carolina in terms of how each depicts race, women, tribes, identity, ability and religious groups.”

The continuing disruption of the public school environment due to fears of the pandemic, along with the dissatisfaction of academic growth and now unnecessary curriculum changes, is further frustrating parents, teachers and students. The alternative to these top-down decisions which will only deepen current dissatisfaction is to promote and incentivize school choice.

Regardless of what decisions are made by the legislature and the State Board of Education, parents, teachers and students are already making their own decisions and it will mean a declining support for a system that is in need of immediate re-design. School choice is fast becoming the best alternative to a system that is rudderless and badly off-course.

(18) comments


I knew where this editorial was heading as soon as I saw the title.

Public schools are required by law, they serve all students, bright, not so bright handicapped, mental health issues etc. The funding of public schools is set by law. Pvt schools ( school choice) can accept or deny students at will. The funding model for public schools is not going to change, so when you start handing out pvt school vouchers from public school funds what happens?

Can you imagine the outrage if a family got a voucher for a fundamentalist muslim school?

if you want your child to go to a pvt / religious school great YOU pay for it.

Leave public school funding alone.


Town folks should have formed their own meetings by now, its painfully obvious that these idiots attempting to 'train' your children are VERY BAD ACTORS. This group should be ostracized . Nothing professional about it. [whistling]


If you want the public to get behind an idea or program, you really need a catchy slogan, preferably 3 words easily chantable.

Historically there are many examples

" Remember the Maine" comes to mind, more recently " build the wall" or " lock her up" " school choice" is ok. But it lacks the euphamistic umph needed.

Let me suggest

"Patriot's School Choice "

You never want to call it what it is, separate but equal? Or Two tiered education?

If they spend 25k per kid per yr, do you expect a 25k voucher? If you pay 5k a yr total in state tax, what are you spending on schools? 37 bucks? You know, I am fine with that pull your kid from public school and you can have back exactly what you put in. You may not have any of what I put in. That seems fair.


You gotta know when to fold. Start over. Public schools have become politically correct monsters. Start with a clean sheet of paper, Design a perfect neighborhood school free from regulation from above. . My bro and I survived three grades in a one room schoolhouse, and yes we did walk to school through the snow and uphill both ways. All one needs are the three Rs. 80% of education is from outside the school room. Think about it.


Fairly certain that the 'community/ county' etc can decide the best strategy. Simply put, if you TRUST the Government , after all this it really should be on you and you alone. OPT OUT FOLKS! Stop wasting your tax dollars on the SCAM. [thumbup]


The editor has taken 13 paragraphs to make their point " school choice"

A lot of words to get to the point. SCHOOL CHOICE, it sounds so noble and fair.

Who would not like to have choices? Personally I wish there was a choice of cable providers but alas...

Strangely enough, in 13 paragraphs school choice is not defined in any way. shape or form. I would be grateful for an explanation of how it works. Lets assume its a voucher program. The state will give you money for the school of your choice. To avoid the horrors of public school. My earlier example was off on numbers. 2.9% of the state budget goes to schools. So if you pay 5k in state taxes each yr, you are paying $145. To support public education.

If we devide total budget by total students lets pick 20k per student, since i havent done the math..Now do you get a voucher for 20k? You have 3 kids, do you get a voucher for 60k? You paid 145 bucks and you get 60k? Meanwhile that money is subtracted from public school budget, no wait public school serving all students is mandated and funded by law.

So how do we fund the vouchers for pvt school?

Better yet, why on earth should the taxpayers subsidize private school for your kids, when public school is available.

Sounds like wealth redistribution to me. And we know how we feel about that socialist stuff. Don't we?

Will the good editor explain what school choice is. And how it is funded?


As is happening in Florida, and Dems don’t like it, is that eventually private school scholarships/vouchers could be funded through the same money as for public schools.

For now, corporate and opt-in tax revenue sources for the scholarships cover the cost and only pays for students and not school buildings.


Since public schools are not available in some areas of the country, school choice (funded by taxpayers) is the answer and teachers not aligning with their union or association need to learn the word decertify.

I would hope at least Science teachers know better.


Please tell us where public school is not available, how many thousands of students are we talking about?


Just watch the news and she where teachers are refusing to return to work.


Teachers refusing to work? again, my kid is in school on various software platforms every day, and no one answered my previous question " who do you think is teaching online classes, the janitor?"

And before you continue to berate teachers & unions think for a moment, teachers also have kids, those kids are likely at home have constant needs and wants and likely are doing their own online /hybrid schooling. Questions that were previously asked and answered in class are often each a separate email, to be opened, thought about and responded too, while dealing with your own children, and their issues. So 25 kids 6 classes 150 emails to be dealt with after teaching via zoom each and every day? When was the last time you responded thoughtfully to 20 emails a day?

Here is another question, Talk is cheap, actions speak louder then words..

You support school choice? ok How much more are you willing to pay in state taxes to fund it? catholic schools, muslim schools, prep schools, Montessori schools. fundamentalist baptist schools, and home schools. tell us now... 4x your current tax rate? 30 x? idle talk on letters to the editor is just that, idle talk.

Give the teachers the respect they deserve, they are doing an amazing job in very difficult, unprecedented circumstances.


THE MONEY SHOULD FOLLOW THE CHILD! BUST UP THE PUBLIC/ UNION SCHOOL! Bad actors , the lot of them, all the while they brainwash kids with perverted subjects.


.. The idea we can return to 1 room schools under local control is, um...quaint? Kids learn in history about the puritans burning witches, and laugh at how backwards those folks were. Smart well informed kids learn those folks are still here.

(Edited by staff.)


Yep teachers are doing a great job, with Nationally, student grades are plummeting at a 600% increase in failing students.

Class failure rates have surged in districts across the country, from Virginia to Hawaii.


Is that failure on teachers or parents? Parents who somehow dident know their kids were playing video games instead of homework?


Gov Coop and school boards are the main culprits for failing to follow the Science.


This issue, well, its not a bottom feeder issue, its the Executives in the Board Of Education, and they need to be FIRED. ie: if the teachers are being told what to teach, well, then they are just mindless meat muppets. (which speaks to their real agenda, , three guesses ) Lastly, when the POWER of the County is trumped by the State, regardless of their view for blatant hogwash, well, then, its the County's Responsibility to the voters to make it right. At the TOP, one size DOES NOT FIT ALL. Ending with this thought, the last time you all seen teachers was in their 'protest' in Raleigh, go figure. [yawn]


Nah, scratch my idea, simply remove all of them for EDUCATION FRAUD. ie: these trollops are ALLEGEDLY EDUCATORS??????/ OK, here ya go, here is an 8 minute lesson on that Critical Race CRUD!

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