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Roundup Results: Which education issue is most crucial for the General Assembly to address in the legislative session?

On Wednesday, May 16th the General Assembly opened for the first day of the short session, and downtown Raleigh was packed with a sea of red t-shirts. Teachers from across the state took to the streets to rally as part of the #RedforEd campaign, protesting for more funding for students and classrooms and better teacher pay. EducationNC was there, too. In case you missed it—here’s our recap of the day!

With this topic in mind, Reach NC Voices asked North Carolinians for their input on education priorities for the General Assembly in our May 10 Reach Roundup newsletter. We posed our Question of the Week: “Which education issue is most crucial for the General Assembly to address in the legislative session?” Response options included: teacher pay, principal pay, school calendar flexibility, school safety, or “none of these.” Here’s the breakdown of how participants answered our question as well as some of the comments we received.

“We entered this field knowing we would never be wealthy, and that is okay. We did expect, however, reasonable, modest increments, such that increases in insurance should be covered, and maybe some slight growth. Instead, we are told we will not get more increases, longevity pay is gone, and local supplements are wildly variable across the state.”
-George from Fayetteville, NC

“Teachers and principals are pretty savvy folks. They need a professional pay scale that attracts and encourages them to stay in public education. They are the builders of our state and nation!”
-Charles from Avery Creek, NC

“Per pupil spending should absolutely be on this list. Our kids are simply not getting what they need – they need more staff, better resources, repairs to buildings, teacher assistants, teachers who have the time and small classes needed to do their work well… Those things are not fixed just by paying teachers more (though we need that too!).”
-Riley from Greensboro

“The calendar law causes more problems then it helps. I live at the beach and we need to start earlier in the year to allow makeup for hurricane days that result in missed school at the beginning of the year. Our state is too diverse to have a 1 size fits all approach to the school calendar.”
-Amy from Pender County, NC

“We are losing too many good teachers to higher paying jobs, often in the same town. Some, that can move, are also going to other states. In order to improve the quality of the education system in NC we must have quality teachers. Quality teachers must be compensated fairly or they will leave.”
-Shelley from Greenville, NC

Interested in participating in Reach NC Voices? You can sign up to share your thoughts on our weekly questions. We’d love to hear from you!

Yasmin Bendaas

Yasmin Bendaas is a Science writer.  A North Carolina native, she received her master’s degree in Science & Medical Journalism at UNC Chapel Hill, where she was a Park Fellow. She received her Bachelor of Arts in anthropology in 2013 from Wake Forest University, where she double-minored in journalism and Middle East and South Asia studies. As an undergraduate student, Bendaas gained insight into public health when she interned at the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, a statewide grantmaker focused on rural health, including access to primary care, diabetes, community-centered prevention, and mental health and substance abuse. 

As a journalist, Bendaas has been funded twice by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting for fieldwork in Algeria — first to cover a disappearing indigenous tattoo tradition, and again to look at how climate change affects rural sheepherding practices.