North Carolina Senator Phil Berger might just be one of the most hypocritical political leaders in a legislature that is sadly FULL of hypocrites. His single-minded goal for the past year has been to introduce elements of competition to the teacher pay scale (see here and here and here). His argument is a simple one: Getting rid of crappy teachers — and rewarding “accomplished” teachers — has to be made easier.
What makes me chuckle is that as the President Pro Tem of the North Carolina Senate — a position that he has filled since January of 2011 — Berger played a veto-proof role in redrawing North Carolina’s Congressional Districts, which have been rated as some of the LEAST competitive and MOST gerrymandered in the entire nation (see here and here).
Want to know JUST how skewed Berger’s redrawn districts are?
Then consider that Sam Wang — the founder of the Princeton Election Consortium — ran North Carolina’s congressional delegation through millions of statistical combinations and our current breakdown of four Democrats and nine Republicans occurred in less than ONE PERCENT of the simulations. “If districts were drawn fairly,” Wang writes, “this lopsided discrepancy would hardly ever occur.”
You see the hypocrisy here, don’t you?
The very guy pounding the teaching profession for its failure to embrace competition literally led our state’s efforts to make elections LESS competitive.
Berger once said, “The vast majority of our teachers are dedicated professionals who…do a good job, but there are some that maybe ought not be teaching. Presently we have a system that does not, in my view, provide an effective tool for local administrators to remove those bad teachers.”
Let’s rewrite that quote: “The vast majority of our LEGISLATORS are dedicated professionals who do a good job, but there are some that maybe ought not to be MAKING LAWS. Presently we have a GERRYMANDERED system that does not, in my view, provide an effective tool for VOTERS to remove those BAD LEGISLATORS.
When legislators like Berger are ready to invest as much time and energy into reintroducing competition into North Carolina’s elections — something that doesn’t look likely given the ridiculous districts that they are directly responsible for, I’ll be ready to embrace the competition that they are ever-so ready to force on education.
Until then, it’s REALLY hard to take ’em seriously.
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