Francis X. De Luca, president of the Civitas Institute, doesn't like his registration-only events to be recorded. Last Wednesday at the Apex Community Center, he immediately zeroed in on an INDY reporter's recorder and summoned the offender over with a wave. "If you want to ask them questions, you're perfectly free to talk to all the presenters," De Luca said, "but not, you know, record them."
De Luca ultimately allowed us to record the two-hour charter-school pep rally. But he asked for the device to be turned off whenever citizens (there were around 30) asked questions. Then he went back to diddling his cellphone for most of the meeting, pausing once to rise from his seat and (presumably) go negotiate with the loud, bouncy-piano-playing teacher of a kids' dance class next door.
If so, then We the People did not come out on top. The dance class may even have gotten louder.
Titled "Education Can't Wait: School Choice Town Hall Event," the event included talks from Dr. Bart Danielsen, associate professor of business management at N.C. State, and Jonathan Butcher of the Goldwater Institute, "one of the key architects of Arizona's [education saving account] program."
Danielsen touted the charter-school surge in downtown Santa Ana, California, where, he says, there are 3,500 kids attending charters within two blocks of "an area that was blight."
He also cited research that concluded that Charlotte kids who won a school-choice lottery "spent fewer days in jail. ... Minority males who won the lottery committed half as much crime for the next seven years as the ones who applied but were rejected."
But back to Santa Ana. Crime is waaaay down, which of course means we need more charter schools. "I hope someone from Durham is here and sees that," said Danielsen.
You got it, doc.
Also in attendance: Teiji Kimball, a Republican who's running for U.S. Rep. David Price's seat. (LOL, good luck.) A day earlier, Kimball announced his support for the N.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program—you know, vouchers—and used the press release to solicit sign-ups.
We also spotted former state Rep. Bryan R. Holloway, a young Earth creationist who quit the General Assembly in October to take a job as a lobbyist for the N.C. School Boards Association.
So, yeah, this is what the war on public education looks like. God help us all.
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