The GOP and schools - News-Times: Editorials

Logout|My Dashboard

The GOP and schools

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 11:45 am

Dogged by what the Republican controlled General Assembly has done to public education in North Carolina, as thousands of North Carolinians protested cuts to teacher pay, Gov. Pat McCrory announced the creation of a Governor’s Teacher Advisory Committee Nov. 4. At its first meeting the next day on the SAS campus in Cary, SAS CEO Jim Goodnight said he was hopeful the General Assembly “will find some money to pay you [teachers] a little bit more. Some of the salary data is not very good.”

Last Wednesday J.J. Smith, News-Times sports reporter, said he had thought about being a teacher until this year and in his column, enumerated some of the problems:

• The General Assembly froze teachers’ salaries beginning with the 2008-09 school year so teachers haven’t received a raise for six years.

• A first-year teacher starting out six years ago with a bachelor’s degree made $30,800. And with salaries frozen, that teacher continues to make $30,800. If the General Assembly decided to end the salary freeze, it would still take 15 years for a teacher to reach $40,000.

• In the 2013 rankings, North Carolina was 46th in average teacher pay.

• Teachers’ salaries in North Carolina have shrunk nearly 16% since 2001, representing the biggest drop in the country.

• A master’s degree used to bump teachers-coaches’ pay nearly 10%. Not anymore.

• Though a few other states have talked about doing away with the automatic pay increase for advanced degrees, North Carolina is believed to be the first state to do so.

• The number of teachers leaving North Carolina last year more than doubled to 816 compared to 2010.

Other grievances were noted in our front-page story last Wednesday about the Nov. 4 “walk-ins:” ending tenure and class size limits, reducing teacher assistants and vouchers sending tax money to private schools, which some consider “unaccountable.”

“We stand united here today,” said Martha Swiber, White Oak Elementary advisory council chairman, organizer of the Croatan High School walk-in Nov. 4, “to tell state leaders that much of the recent public education policy and legislation does not put children first. It will hurt our economy and endanger this great state’s future.”

Last Thursday, N.C. Policy Watch Executive Director Chris Fitzsimon, said the N.C. Budget & Tax Center and the Education and Law Project of the N.C. Justice Center said many solutions can be found immediately if the political will is there.

But “Despite what you hear from the education establishment and the teachers’ unions,” said Sen. Phil Burger, Senate president pro tempore last week, “we’ve invested more in North Carolina’s public schools than any legislature in history. While we’ve cut overall government spending, balanced the state budget and streamlined programs and bureaucracy, we’ve actually increased the amount of state dollars going into our public schools.”

On a graph, he said K-12 state education appropriations for the last five years were:

2009: $7,458,261,240

2010: $7,085,588,912

2011: $7,464,492,057

2012: $7,506,553,067

2013: $7,867,960,649

“But money isn’t the only answer,” he said. “We don’t want to blindly throw funds at our schools, like the unions insist we do. We want to change policy and improve student outcomes. One of the ways we’ll do that in 2014 and 2015 is by restructuring the teacher pay system. Good teachers are the lynchpin to our education system. They’re absolutely critical to the success of our students. And they should be recognized and rewarded with higher pay and performance bonuses. At the same time, we want to make it easier for administrators to get the bad teachers out of our classrooms.”

But right now, as far as public education in North Carolina is concerned, Republicans and Gov. McCrory are getting short shrift. It’s a problem, or an opportunity, Gov. McCrory and the General Assembly have and must address — and sooner than better.

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • dc posted at 12:11 pm on Fri, Nov 15, 2013.

    dc Posts: 2217

    Not that simple. For instances, in Wake the administrators were pondering taking away "no work equals zero" grading. Why do you think the administrators were moving towards this change in policy? The teachers stood up and complained about something other than pay and won the argument which is not the norm. Good for the teachers in going against the liberal tide and continuing to hold the students as well as their parents accountable.

  • DeadBolt posted at 8:01 am on Fri, Nov 15, 2013.

    DeadBolt Posts: 330

    Again, about the pay?????


    Based on what i have read in the articles, i gather that the teachers aren't being paid enough, and the current lessons for the kids aren't working.

    The one thing i do not see in these is the actual higher ups posting about their pay, or lack of duties performed. (personally, it seems to me, if the teachers were getting more money, they would be happy as clams regardless of their 'rank' in the nation, or students performance).

    I honestly would not call this 'dumbing down', it seems that they have sidetracked the older lessons for a different way of learning, thats not working.

    Its kind of hard to educate someone when they were lost from the start of the lesson. ie: the truly sad part is that the administrators and teachers have chosen their path in life, been to school, found a paying job, and will continue to burden the public over pay, and status, while the kids will either get it or not.

    Seems like the kids have been bamboozled for lack of a better term...[wink]

  • dc posted at 4:33 am on Fri, Nov 15, 2013.

    dc Posts: 2217

    Teachers don't set education agenda especially in a non-union state. Public education has been dumbed down even in states previously known for excellence by certain people with agendas contrary to admirable values. And, the majority has both wittingly and unwittingly allowed it to happen. The majority has over time lowered itself to that agenda's standards. Buildings are the responsibility of the local "deciders" if what one reads is true. Wasting big bucks to build impressive looking "homes" for temporary occupants while packing some in "low rent" mobiles can't be justified.

  • presidio jones posted at 2:39 pm on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    presidio jones Posts: 174

    Putting children first is a ridiculous saw that just doesn't cut anymore, especially when your whine is always about you. Albert Shanker , late president of the union,American Federation of Teachers was asked when will the union be concerned with the quality of the children's education, he replied when the kids can vote , a rare honest answer from a progressive leech.

  • presidio jones posted at 2:30 pm on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    presidio jones Posts: 174

    Being unaccountable, as you attributed to private schools just doesn't happen. Private school vouchers will produce a competition to welfare schools monopoly thereby creating a accountability for those that definitely have a pay commiserate with the results provided(46th in pay for 43rd in results). Not too shabby eh comrades,defining "education" down for years and defining deviancy down has it's perks for your having a progressive outlook and whining about your work.
    Administration should be held responsible for the luxury they provide themselves while having a let them eat cake attitude towards facilitators. Seventy five million for a new prison in Wake county , I think it is called Rolesville High or West Wake High is enough to build a real prison with armed guards.

  • dc posted at 12:44 pm on Wed, Nov 13, 2013.

    dc Posts: 2217

    What will decide what is a bad teacher? Also, who and what will allow the system to get rid of bad administrators? Why do we always hear the drum beat about bad teachers, but you never hear much of anything about bad administrators?


The News Times e-Edition


Updated: 5:55 pm | See more