Gov. McCrory and the state legislature have not made education a priority. The results their leadership are clear: larger class sizes, fewer teaching assistants, a textbook shortage, fewer computers and classroom supplies.
- By increasing class sizes and cutting teacher assistants for two consecutive years, lawmakers are making a teacher’s job even harder.
- By cutting textbook funding, lawmakers have left schools with severely out-of-date textbooks. Many districts don’t have enough books to let students take them home to study at night.
- By underfunding school supplies, lawmakers are forcing teachers to pay for basics out of their own pockets.
And North Carolina teachers remain terribly underpaid. Many of our best teachers are leaving our classrooms for better opportunities elsewhere. North Carolina ranks 46th in teacher pay and 46th in per pupil funding.
Worse, the cuts were necessary to pay for their unnecessary and extravagant tax cuts that mostly goes to benefits the wealthy and profitable corporations. Public education is the backbone of North Carolina’s economy. By failing to invest in our schools and without any plan to fix it, lawmakers are jeopardizing our future.
What We Need To Do
It’s time to stop cutting and start investing in our public schools because our kids deserve nothing but the best. For too long, politicians have been making cuts to schools to pay for tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy. In order to compete for the jobs of the future, let’s invest in our classrooms and show that we value and respect teachers. Let’s raise ALL teachers’ pay and set a real benchmark like the national average, so our teachers will stop leaving our classrooms for more competitive salaries in other states. Then let’s give teachers the tools and incentives to develop their skills, and pay more for teachers who work hard and improve themselves. Every classroom should have proper textbooks, supplies and smaller class sizes.
Finally, it’s time to end the one-size-fits-all approach to education. For too long, micro-managing politicians have been tying classrooms up in red tape and putting tests ahead of students and teachers. Instead, let’s invest in high quality teachers that we can trust, let’s give them the tools to teach our children and then get out of the way.
Paying Our Teachers What They Deserve
To recruit and retain the best teachers in North Carolina we must commit to a long-term plan to fix our un-competitive teacher salaries. North Carolina ranks 46th in the nation in teacher pay, $10,000 below the national average. Many of our teachers are forced to work second and third jobs just to make ends meet. Teachers should not have to worry about moonlighting. We should raise all teacher salaries significantly so that teachers can focus on students, children, and their profession. Some teachers are leaving North Carolina schools for other states where they can make more money. States like Texas and Virginia are actively recruiting North Carolina teachers with higher salaries. Many North Carolina teachers can get a $10,000 raise by moving just across the border to South Carolina, Tennessee or Virginia.
If North Carolina is going to compete in a global economy with India and China, our teaching salaries should at the very least be competitive with South Carolina and Virginia. Committing to a plan to raise teacher pay to the national average over the next few years would be a significant commitment to current and future teachers.