The following is a press release from the North Carolina Association of Educators
RALEIGH, N.C. – The opening day of school this year is being met with a barrage of political ads, many of which contain misleading information about the status of public education in North Carolina and that try to paint a rosy picture of conditions for students and educators. The North Carolina Association of Educators is urging North Carolinians to #AskAnEducator when they want to know what is really happening at our public schools.
“The truth is, instead of giving every child a chance to succeed regardless of zip code by investing in our students and improving education, the governor and some of our legislative leaders have chosen the side of corporate boardrooms instead of classrooms by passing tax cuts to big corporations and the wealthy,” said NCAE President Mark Jewell, a teacher in Guilford County.
In many of the political ads, there is a lot of boasting about what is being done for educators. An analysis by the non-partisan NC Policy Watch concludes the state budget contains very questionable statements on average teacher salaries and that the math doesn’t add up with the stated average salary increases. This year nearly 4,000 educators received no raise at all, and last year more than 60,000 educators received no raise, only a small one-time bonus. Other public school personnel have also been shortchanged on compensation. The fact is, North Carolina ranks 41st in the country in average teacher pay and is nearly $10,000 behind the national average. Nothing to brag about. Since 2012 there are 35,000 more students and 4,900 fewer teachers and thousands of teacher assistants have been cut. That’s moving backwards, not forward.
In addition, North Carolina ranks in the bottom tiers of states when investing in our students. Textbooks and other instructional materials are in short supply and parents and educators have been relied on to spend hundreds of dollars to meet the most basic needs of students. When adjusting for inflation, per-pupil spending in 2008 was $6,237 and today it is $5,616.
“Our students deserve better, our communities deserve better, and our state deserves better,” said Jewell.
NCAE is the state’s largest education advocacy organization for public school employees and represents active, retired, and student members.