On Monday, Governor Pat McCrory spoke at the North Carolina Business Committee for Education and Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce‘s Western North Carolina Education Conference “Is Early Childhood Investment the Link to NC’s Future Workforce?”
Governor McCrory spoke to the gathering about the recent budget and what it means for education in North Carolina for the next two years, as well as the importance of early childhood development for future academic and professional success.
On teacher pay
“About two-and-a-half years ago, we realized that entry level teachers, one-to-eight years of experience, had not been given any pay raise for over five years,” said McCrory. “That’s including longevity pay. And our attrition was highest with teachers with one-to-seven years of experience. So our first goal was to raise the minimum teacher pay from $30,000 to $35,000 a year … that’s not including supplements.”
“There will not be a teacher making less than $35,000 a year, regardless of what county they live in in North Carolina as of this year.”
On teacher assistants
On maintaining funding for teacher assistants, McCrory noted that had been a priority for his administration.
“We are very, very pleased with keeping the integrity of teacher assistants, and, at the same time, requiring superintendents to spend the money on teacher assistants too, which was one of the best kept secrets,” said McCrory. “We had some school systems which were actually diverting some of the teacher assistant money to other things. So if the money is targeted for teacher assistants, you’ve got to spend the money on teacher assistants.”
On early childhood development
Governor McCrory touched on the main topic of the event, early childhood development, saying, “The stats prove themselves. If we don’t have the early childhood development, then we don’t have the first- and second-graders reading at sufficient levels or doing basic math at sufficient levels, then by third grade, if they are not at sufficient levels, we know we’ve lost them most likely for life.”
Watch Governor McCrory’s full remarks at the video below from the NC Early Childhood Foundation, including further comments on early childhood development, workforce development, community colleges, remedial education, and mental health care.