Union County Representative Craig Horn has given the strongest indication yet that he will run for North Carolina state superintendent. In comments to NC Policy Watch this week, Horn said “at this point I’m planning on filing.”
I’ve been an outspoken critic of the notion of Craig Horn at the helm of North Carolina’s public schools since he first publicly floated the idea last month. My friend Stuart Egan at Caffeinated Rage has, too. And while we may be just two public school teachers in a state of nearly 100,000, our views are not unique among educators who have monitored Horn’s work as an elected official. Here’s why.
Since being elected to the House of Representatives in 2010, Horn has rarely missed an education-related photo op. During that time he has met a whole lot of teachers. Hell, I’ve met him a bunch of times myself, as my drawer full of Craig Horn business cards can attest. Each time, Horn has firmly shaken my hand, handed me his card, leaned in close and said a little conspiratorially, “That’s my personal cell number. Call me. I can’t do it without your help.”
Each time he’s forgotten that he already met me, already gave me the same song and dance about how much he relies on teachers to help him make sound decisions as a legislator. And each time I’ve come away feeling that Craig Horn didn’t actually see me, he just saw an opportunity to paint himself in a certain light and score some political points.
How do I know Craig Horn’s love of teachers is largely a charade? His 9 years of consistently voting against me and my colleagues–all of which is chronicled on the North Carolina General Assembly’s website. These are just a handful of examples:
Here’s Craig Horn’s vote in 2013 on a budget bill which abolished career protections for all North Carolina teachers, meaning any teacher could be fired at any time without explanation or an opportunity to speak on their own behalf:
Here’s Craig Horn’s vote to eliminate pay for teachers who earn master’s degrees. made North Carolina the first state in the country to revoke advanced degree salary increases.
Here’s Craig Horn’s vote on stripping retiree health benefits from state employees beginning in 2021. This means when teachers who have devoted their lives to educating the state’s children will be forced to purchase their own health insurance when they retire.
Here’s Horn’s vote on taking $85 million from the teacher assistant pool, one of several votes that has reduced teaching assistant numbers in North Carolina by 7000 compared with a decade ago.
Here’s Craig Horn’s vote on cutting all funding for the North Carolina Teaching Fellows program, a 25 year-old teacher development program which gave scholarships to high school students who committed to teaching in NC schools.
For good measure, here’s Horn’s vote on greatly expanding testing and threats of grade retention for 3rd grade children through the Read to Achieve initiative:
Craig Horn is a smooth talking politician, but his words are worth exactly doodly squat. The only thing that matters when it comes to evaluating his fitness for the office of state superintendent is his voting record, and Horn has supported the policy changes that have most damaged our profession during his time in office.
North Carolina’s teachers were caught napping the last time the office of state superintendent was up for a vote in 2016, and we’ve paid a heavy price.
It’s not going to happen again.