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Lawmaker upset when daughter's class appeals for school funding

Posted June 6, 2011
Updated June 9, 2011

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— In an attempt to appeal for more education funding in the state budget, Lee County Schools stepped over the line, a lawmaker said Monday.

Rep. Mike Stone, R-Lee, said school district officials had his 8-year-old daughter's third-grade class at Tramway Elementary School write letters to elected officials, including him, to protest cuts in the proposed $19.7 billion state budget.

"I was extremely disappointed, but I tried not to show that in front of my daughter," Stone said. "I don't know that at any time we should use our third-grade students as lobbyists."

Student letter about budget cuts Lawmaker upset when daughter's class appeals for school funding

The teacher outlined what students should include in the letter, he said, noting his daughter mentioned the loss of two teaching assistants, field trips and science experiments and more difficulty in learning multiplication and reading comprehension.

She ended her letter, "Please put the budget higher dad."

"As I read through this (letter), anger completely shot through me, and I was trying to hold myself together," he said. "(It's unconscionable) to know any education system would use a daughter against her father."

Superintendent Jeff Moss said letters were also sent from students in other local schools to their representatives and to Gov. Beverly Perdue. Letters weren't written to "Mike Stone, the father" but to "Mike Stone, the representative," he said.

"If you're not interested in receiving letters from people in your district, don't run for public office," Moss said.

He said he doesn't see a problem with a writing exercise that has students supporting public education.

Stone said he fears his daughter's classmates will blame her if the teaching assistants lose their jobs. He said he hasn't yet expressed his concerns to Moss or the Tramway Elementary principal.

"The disappointing side is we have a superintendent that lets this happen and go on and not willfully try to stop it," he said.

277 Comments

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  • randrmomanddad Jun 9, 3:42 p.m.

    How Dare they Educate our children on how politics work....It is'nt like their future is important.!!!

  • ap1976 Jun 8, 5:58 p.m.

    If this legislator is more ticked off over the fact that his daughter wrote a letter to him begging to not vote for budget cuts to her school rather than the fact the political agenda he supports shortchanges his child's education, then he's got his priorities entirely out of order.

  • gunny462 Jun 8, 3:01 p.m.

    "And the stimulus has been shown to be a DEM ploy to fund unions and dem coffers.""Cool! gunny is a liar. Good to know.
    Common Nonsensical"

    REALLY? Prove me wrong, show me one article from this YEAR showing where the money went ;) good luck!

  • gunny462 Jun 8, 2:59 p.m.

    "Since they don't believe a teacher should should coerce students into believing that America is the greatest nation on the planet I do indeed call them extremist. Common Nonsensical"

    Considering what you said makes absoultely no sense your name fits. Teachers do not coerce students into LEARNING. This teacher (and now I understand it wasn't even them but the super) decided that of the 30 classes only ONE would have to do the letter. GUESS WHICH CLASS? Yup the reps daughter's CLASS! So class what has this taught you? Ahh yes, let's point the finger at her and her father, thats the democratic way! Let's traumatize the girl for some left leaning dem's political view point!

  • gunny462 Jun 8, 2:54 p.m.

    "Try to keep up. I was accused of being selfish for supporting extra education spending"

    Then please explain to EVERYONE here how YOU are going to reduce spending CAUSED directly by a dem held state? You seem to just want to spend not just your money but ours as well and our children's just like this current obama led admin.

  • RaleighHunts Jun 8, 10:21 a.m.

    "We use to write to our reps when i was in elementary school...and mcdonalds...and Santa...and anywhere else that would get us interested in writing. Long time teaching tool."

    and as long as you were writing something of YOUR choosing to someone of YOUR choosing, I would have no problem at all with that.

  • FromClayton Jun 8, 9:36 a.m.

    i think it is a great idea. the children are the ones most effected by the education budget cuts therefore they should step up and try and make it better. It is slighty messed up that she was writitng to her dad, but that is just how it turned out. I'm sure they would have written those letters whether or not a rep's child was in the class. We use to write to our reps when i was in elementary school...and mcdonalds...and Santa...and anywhere else that would get us interested in writing. Long time teaching tool.

  • RaleighHunts Jun 8, 9:35 a.m.

    "If you're not interested in receiving letters from people in your district, don't run for public office," Moss said.

    The problem isn't that they are receiving letters from people in their district, the teacher HIM/HERSELF certainly has the right to send letters expressing that to legislators. Where this becomes completely inappropriate is when a teacher/administrator pretty much tells the students what to write (making it therefore NOT the true, informed opinions of the students, but rather hundreds of copies of ONE person's opinion) and has them send it to lawmakers as if it was the students idea and their opinions.

    Teachers: Teach the students, lobby the lawmakers. Do not create assignments using the students as pawns. If you want to write a letter expressing an opinion on school funding, WRITE IT YOURSELF, dont have your students write it and pretend it is coming from them.

    Oh, and by the way, I AGREE that more funding is needed, but I DO NOT condone that methodology.

  • RaleighHunts Jun 8, 9:13 a.m.

    "Grow up people! If you don't agree with the way the teacher is teaching your child, home school them yourself and quit complaining."

    That is completely ridiculous. Teachers are public employees, paid for by OUR taxes. If you don't agree with the way a teacher is teaching your child, you find out if that is because they are teaching something wrong or because that is the school's curriculum. IF they are teaching wrong, they need to be shown how to teach it right or they get fired (that's pretty simple and straightforward, and is the case for every other employee on the planet), and if it is the curriculum that you disagree with, you lobby for that change with administrators/legislators.

    Either way, Im pretty sure that the taxpayers who pay all the educators salaries are certainly allowed to take some action when they dont agree with how their kids are being taught other than pulling them out of the school THEY are paying for.

  • firefighter414 Jun 8, 8:27 a.m.

    Grow up people!
    If you don't agree with the way the teacher is teaching your child, home school them yourself and quit complaining.

    Some public schools do not even issue books to the students, due to not having enough to go around and we are going to cut teaching positions and other school funding?

    As for pay, teachers and all government employees knew what the pay rate was going to be when they signed on for the job. Don't like what you are making... get over it or go find another line of work. Think that teachers or government employees are making too much money? resign from your high paying executive job and try teaching or another government job.

    signed,
    your overpaid government employee

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