by John Grooms
They say that one major mark of intelligence is the ability to hold two contradictory thoughts in your head at the same time. If thats true, then N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis must be one of the smartest guys in the state. Either that or he has a serious case of Reality Disconnect. Or maybe hes drunk. I dont know. What I do know is the Cornelius moderate-turned-Tea-Partier is showing a knack for saying things that completely contradict his own actions. Case in point: For weeks, Tillis kept insisting, despite being contradicted by, you know, actual facts, that the huge cuts made to state education funding would not result in thousands of lost education jobs. He repeated this bit of nonsense so often, some pundits started calling him the Double-Speaker of the House.
Now hes come up with another doozy. NC PolicyWatch points to a Tillis interview in the Wednesday edition of Raleighs News & Observer in which he stresses the importance of early childhood education. Heres the interview segment in question:
He said some children who havent received the education they need early in life are being wasted as productive members of society.
Im absolutely certain that some number of those people who are being lost were lost before they ever get out of third grade, Tillis said. They didnt have early childhood development opportunities. They didnt have the core ability to read by third grade. They didnt have the skills they needed to be educated past third grade.
The problem, of course, is that Tillis helped ram through a budget that eviscerates early childhood funding. As part of their wholesale gutting of anything education-related, Tillis & Co. fundamentally changed the states acclaimed pre-K program, More At Four. Now, what was once a free, education-intensive program will basically just consist of child care, i.e., warehousing. On top of that, fees are going into effect, making it impossible for some of the kids who need it the most to attend. Apparently, Tillis either doesnt think any of us noticed what hes been up to, or his brain has no idea what his mouth is saying. Or hes drunk. Your call.