Apparently North Carolina ranks 48th in the nation in per pupil spending? And our average for teacher pay ranks 46th? To say that is discouraging is an understatement.
According to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI),
This will be the fifth consecutive year public schools have endured significant funding reductions. Many local superintendents have shared that schools in their districts have already been "cut to the bone." For years, many schools in North Carolina have operated with fewer teachers and staff, limited resources such as textbooks and technology, less training for teachers, and with facilities in need of update and repair. One superintendent has described the situation as a rubber band that has been stretched to its breaking point.
Given the harsh spending cuts over the past few years, it seems strange that our lawmakers are focused on charter schools and other faddish privatization schemes. No matter what your opinion is on charter schools, they take money away from our traditional public schools. Since 2008, the number of charter schools has grown by almost 50 percent, while over that same period nearly 4,000 traditional public schools have closed.
If you had a apple for every North Carolina school closed you would have a solid ton of apples and enough to keep the doctor away for a decade. That's too many public schools to lose.
Fortunately, people are taking action to stop the backslide. One of the groups of people working on putting education first is Action NC - a group I'm proud to work with and be a member of.
In fact, Action NC is so concerned about the effects of splitting our education dollars that we have launched Keep Our Kids First education campaign. The campaign will improve public education in North Carolina by bringing the public together to demand kids be the highest priority of our state government.
Public funds must fund schools that serve all NC children, not a select few segregated by class and race. We need to be careful about the education choices ahead of us, North Carolina. We need to our public schools to lift us up; we can't allow the NCGA to let us down.