Editorial: Bad pattern is evolving for McCrory

Feb. 04, 2013 @ 03:43 PM

Just over three weeks into his new job, Gov. Pat McCrory isn’t inspiring confidence as a great communicator.

If anything, he’s developing a reputation for getting his foot stuck in his mouth.

First came the thoughtlessly spoken justification of salary increases to his Cabinet. The amount of the raises, about $78,000 a year, wasn’t so much the problem, especially in light of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos working for $1 a year and Deputy Budget Director Art Pope taking no salary at all.

“I’m trying to make it at least where they can afford to live while running multibillion-dollar departments,” McCrory said of boosting salaries already over six figures.

With our state fifth-worst in unemployment, the governor has got to get a better filter. Although, he obviously had unemployment on his mind when, in a recent radio interview, he threw a grenade with a warning note to the 17-campus University of North Carolina system.

“I think some of the educational elite have taken over our education where we are offering courses that have no chance of getting people jobs,” McCrory said. “So I’m going to adjust my educational curriculum to what business and commerce needs to get our kids jobs as opposed to moving back in with their parents after they graduate with debt.”

Everybody wants more jobs in our state and, admittedly selfish, in our communities. The governor may well be on to something in trying to shake up the education system, de-emphasizing enrollments in favor of successful graduates with jobs.

Jan Boxill, the UNC Chapel Hill faculty chairwoman, said employers demand graduates with problem-solving, analytical, communication and team-working skills. Logistics for McCrory’s plan will need them.

Liberal arts and humanities have long developed critical thinkers and innovators among our leaders, both in the state and our country.

Programs within the state university system, and by extension the community colleges like Vance-Granville, are much broader than job incubators. Agricultural and industrial extension programs, business and technology development centers and health education centers are other pivotal components students and graduates serve.

Yes, Gov. McCrory, grow the jobs, fund colleges smartly, and don’t be afraid to make changes in our education system. But careful how you say it. We’re listening.