Progress NC Action is a left-wing political action and advocacy organization. When lawmakers required DPI to assign a letter grade to every public school, like many other organizations, it didn't like it.
According to Gerrick Brenner, Executive Director of Progress NC, the results “said a lot more about the poverty rates of each school than they did about instructional quality.”
So Progress NC Action decided to change things up and grade every politician in the state based what they believe public schools need most: funding. They made the results available at a web site, gradencpoliticians.com
The results make for a curious reading, especially when you realize that state appropriations for K-12 public schools have actually increased each of the past four years.
It’s also the first time I’ve actually seen an organization try to rank legislators by combining bills from previous sessions. Doing so significantly reduces the ability to reasonably compare legislators since so few have been present to record all the votes under consideration.
Gradencpoliticians.com grades lawmakers based on how they voted on eight bills. Budget bills for years 2011,2012, 2013, and 2014, are included along with bills to cut pre-K funding, implement tax reform — which Brenner re-defines as a $1 billion tax cut to public education — and another bill that allows guns in schools. What do guns in schools have to do with funding? Maybe about as much as one dealing with pre-K funding. That's question you‘d have to ask Progress NC Action.
While you’re at it you might also want to ask why – if Progress NC Action is so concerned about funding cuts — they failed to include education budget cuts made in 2010 ($222 million) and 2009 ($1.1 billion). No mention was made of those reductions, even though the reductions were some of the largest made in the last decade.
It is interesting that the “analysis” somehow only included the time frame when Republicans wrote the budget. We simply ask: why? Significant reductions were made to the education budget in 2009 and 2010 when Democrats controlled the Legislature and the Governor’s Office.
Is Progress NC Action cherry-picking the data? You decide. I think the budget data that's included — as well as data that is not — tells you all you need to know.