We know many conservatives don't like President Barack Obama, and far too many have settled into the habit of blaming him for everything that's wrong or going wrong in the country. But we were really taken aback by the John Locke Foundation's Terry Stoops, who in an article http://www.carolinajournal.com/jhdailyjournal/index.html blamed Obama for teacher layoffs in North Carolina.
Here's Stoops' reasoning: In 2009, President Obama signed the $814 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law, which provided $100 billion for education, including more than $1.3 billion for North Carolina public schools over for two years. If N.C. school systems hadn't used that money to keep some teachers from being laid off over the last two years, the school districts wouldn't be in the position of having to lay them off now.
Go ahead. Scratch your head over that one.
Stoops, director of Education Studies for the Locke Foundation, noted that the Observer editorial board was part of the state and local media "in denial" about placing the blame on Obama: "A recent editorial in the Charlotte Observer explained, 'Actually, the federal government isn’t cutting funds. That money was a one-time boost to help struggling states during the recession. Policymakers knew those federal dollars would end after two years.' Observer editors echo the education establishment in North Carolina. Neither appears willing to fault the Obama administration for forcing school districts to eliminate hundreds of teachers and support staff positions.'
That's because it isn't at fault. It's clear that without the federal funds, the N.C. districts would have had to lay those teachers off anyway - and earlier. The federal funds were used to stave off the layoffs - layoffs due to state and local education budget cuts over that same period. And now, with N.C. lawmakers - primarily Republicans - proposing deeper education cuts for next school year, more layoffs are in the offing.
There's blame to go around for the economic forces that put the state in such dire financial condition. But layoffs - or not - of N.C. teachers? The blame lies with policymakers in North Carolina.