The next best hope for North Carolina Republicans is, apparently, not too great at reading legislation from a General Assembly his own party controls.
Current lieutenant governor and aspiring gubernatorial candidate Dan Forest shared a Fox News article from his verified Facebook page this morning claiming that North Carolina is considering “dropping an ‘F’ grade to 39 percent for state public schools.”
The bill has been making the rounds over the past few days, and our esteemed lieutenant governor is not the first to make this mistake, though he is perhaps the highest profile public official to err. The Fox News article begins:
The bar for failing test scores in North Carolina’s state public schools may be significantly lowered under the proposals of new legislation.
House Bill 145 deals with the state’s method for assessing the effectiveness of individual public schools — and doesn’t affect student grade scales at all. The state currently assesses schools on a 15-point scale and the bill aims to re-establish that method next year.
And further down, in their ruling:
A lot of people — some media outlets, politicians, a sports reporter — got this one wrong. Not only does the bill not affect students’ grades, it also makes no major changes to the state system used to give parents an idea of a school’s effectiveness. We rate this claim False.
What’s more, the PolitiFact article cites a tweet from Dan Forest on February 26th decrying the move as “lowering expectations for our education system.” The language of the bill does not include the word student in it once, and in fact is quite explicitly titled “An Act to Adopt a Fifteen-Point Scale in the Determination of School Performance Grades.” School. Performance. Grades. Not students.
Dan Forest, especially as the president of the NC Senate, ought to do a bit more reading next time before he promulgates, dare I say, fake news online. With over 100,000 followers on his Facebook account, he owes his supporters a more discerning approach to his online presence.
Kirk Kovach is a native North Carolinian interested in writing about politics, communication and culture.