When it comes to education in NC, Sen. Berger’s governing philosophy isn’t helping

·4 min read

Berger’s op-ed

N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger’s Republican “governing philosophy” (April 22 Opinion) includes the claim that “private economic decisions of millions of people allocate resources more efficiently” than government.

The opposite is true in many areas where it is vastly more efficient to pool our resources to get important things that make life better. Education is one such area.

In education, North Carolina is hurt by small thinking that only sees small horizons.

Our state education spending per student is 45th in the nation, while class sizes are large, education is uneven across the state, kids go to school in “trailers” outside the main building, and we torture high school students and their families with ridiculously early start times because we’re too cheap to spend enough on buses.

A 50% increase in per student state spending (about $4.5 billion) would allow N.C. to jump over North Dakota for the 17th spot in the U.S. and get us on track toward building a better future.

David Genereux, Raleigh

A living wage

Unfortunately, Sen. Phil Berger does not posit a vision of work with a living wage for all in North Carolina.

Pride in a budget surplus means little when viable work to sustain a family doesn’t exist. Education alone does not assure such a situation, nor do low personal income taxes. Tax cuts do not assure jobs with a living wage.

Family supports for work — child care and transportation — and targeted training for employment is a way forward. The citizens will participate in North Carolina’s benefits when we all participate in work with a living wage.

Janice Dodds, Chapel Hill

Police shootings

We need a plan of action to ensure that every citizen walks away from an encounter with police alive. Until we stop treating our police force as above the law, we will not make any movement in protecting people of color against the systemic racism ingrained in policing.

To save lives, we must be innovative and willing to make changes. This is a public health crisis. Black mothers should no longer fear losing a child over a “routine” traffic stop.

As a mother myself, hearing that Daunte Wright called his mom during his fatal traffic stop, made me think he was so afraid he needed his mom to hear what was happening because he knew she’d do anything to save him. But when the system is built against you, even the power of a mother can’t help.

That is heartbreaking and wrong. We must finally make changes. We must take action.

Meredith Hardin, Raleigh

Police reform

I’m very relieved that Derek Chauvin was convicted and is going to prison. It was a clear choice in almost everyone’s view. I hope it helps sway similar behavior from other police officers moving forward.

If every such encounter between white officers and Black men and women were as clear, it would be easier to address the problem. But too often the subject involved is angry and resisting arrest. Too often the safety of officers and/or bystanders is at risk.

I believe police reforms are necessary and will help, but I think it’s a mistake if we treat this as a one-sided issue. In many cases I’m aware of police are not the only ones culpable. This problem should be addressed on both sides. Until we recognize that, very little will change.

Mark Kinlaw, Holly Springs

Biden, the Court

Kathleen Parker’s critique of President Biden, and her concern for the credibility of the Supreme Court, seem disingenuous. (April 21 Opinion)

I watched every Republican presidential candidate since 1964 make the composition of the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary a campaign issue. Conservatives have established institutional mechanisms, e.g., the Federalist Society, to ensure that Republicans appoint judges whose approach to the law and whose legal opinions are predictable.

They succeeded. The Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965. That was all some state legislators needed. Barrier after barrier is being erected to the exercise of voting rights by some of us.

I applaud Biden’s actions. My question to Biden and the Democrats is: “Where were you when we needed you?”

Randolph Rodgers, Raleigh