The North Carolina General Assembly is implementing meaningful public school reforms that are popular with parents and students because they focus on families’ shared priority of improving student achievement.
Changes already in effect include four consecutive teacher pay raises, an improved approach to state education funding, a successful Read to Achieve literacy program and expanded school choice for low-income families.
Today, the North Carolina legislature remains committed to fundamental education reforms through new initiatives to lower class sizes and provide assistance to struggling schools with an Innovative School District.
Our education leaders believe meaningful reforms – policies that empower students to work towards a successful future – are critical to accelerate classroom learning in our state’s public schools.
Higher Teacher and Principal Pay
Thanks to four consecutive pay raises for North Carolina teachers, the statewide average salary is $50,000 while starting teachers earn $35,000.
This year, we had the fastest growing teacher pay in the nation since 2014.
We enacted teacher bonus opportunities, reestablished the N.C. Teaching Fellows program and expanded the Teacher Assistant Tuition Reimbursement Program to recruit and retain our state’s best educators.
North Carolina’s principals and assistant principals will also see their salaries go up by 8.6% and 13.4%, respectively, over the next two years.
Since 2011 the Republican-led North Carolina legislature has erased billions of dollars of debt and deficits and stored a record savings reserve to secure our state’s financial well-being.
With a balanced budget process in place, North Carolina increased education spending substantially this decade. We’ve invested more than a billion additional dollars into public schools, including tens of millions of additional dollars for textbooks and digital resources.
We’re working to streamline those additional tax dollars directly into classrooms and provide budget flexibility for local school systems to help meet their students’ needs.
With better compensated teachers and an improved budget process, North Carolina now has a platform to help more low-income families attend a school of their choice.
Through opportunity scholarships and increased education options like charter schools and virtual schools, North Carolina is building dynamic school systems with diverse choices for families who need them most.
These programs have strong bipartisan support in the General Assembly because they benefit parents and students, who have filled enrollment waiting lists for increasingly popular education options.
Lower Class Sizes
Today, the North Carolina legislature is working with local school systems to lower class sizes. Like most parents, we believe reducing student-teacher ratios is essential to education success.
The state legislature continues to help schools meet our shared goal of lowering class sizes by providing flexible funds, delaying implementation and reducing the initial impact of the new requirements this year.
Just as the North Carolina legislature is steadfast in our commitment to higher pay for educators, better budgets and choices for low-income students, we will continue working with local school systems to lower class sizes and help students be successful.
Innovative School District
Another example of North Carolina’s dedication to meaningful reform is the Innovative School District (ISD).
This program seeks to help schools that consistently rank near the bottom of the state in academic performance better serve students who are being denied our state’s promise of a quality education.
Like our commitment to higher teacher pay, better budgets, more education options and lower class sizes, Republican-led North Carolina is committed to meaningful reform for parents and students who attend struggling schools.
To address systemic achievement gaps, improve low-performing schools and offer hope to kids who need it most, North Carolina is implementing fundamental reforms that make a meaningful impact on student success.
Our duty to help every student realize the full potential of a quality education demands a willingness to change and deliver that promise to young people.
As education leaders, we have a duty to pursue innovative policies like the Read to Achieve literacy program to improve performance and provide a path to success for all students.
That’s why North Carolina’s legislature is investing in meaningful education reforms, today, that build a brighter future for our children, tomorrow.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the Shelby Star.Perspective