According to an article published in the News & Observer, North Carolina dropped in annual rankings of state pre-kindergarten programs published by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER). In the third paragraph of the piece, News & Observer reporter Lynn Bonner acknowledged that the NIEER rankings did not consider changes made to early childhood education by the new Republican legislature. Yet, she chose to interview no Democratic members of the General Assembly, i.e., the legislators responsible for the decline (that supposedly matters).
Do not misunderstand my point. I think her decision to interview Representative Justin Burr (R-Montgomery, Stanley, Union) is a good one. He is chairman of the House Select Committee on Early Childhood Education Improvement, which is charged with reforming North Carolina’s state preschool systems. In addition, Republican leaders, including Burr, continue to spar with Superior Court Judge Howard Manning, Governor Perdue, and various special interest groups over changes to pre-K funding and administration. This is relevant information.
But in the context of the NIEER rankings, Burr is irrelevant. If we’re looking for members of the N.C. House to interview about the data relevant to the report, why not interview Tricia Cotham (D-Mecklenburg) and Earline Parmon (D-Forsyth), who chaired the House Education Subcommittee on Pre-School, Elementary and Secondary Education beginning in 2009? An interview with one of the former chairs of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland), Marian N. McLawhorn (D-Pitt), and/or Ray Rapp (D-Haywood, Madison, Yancey), would have made sense. On the other hand, giving them a pass does not make sense.