Amid all the back-to-school stories in Monday’s news, comes this bit of advice for the General Assembly from the editorial board of the Fayetteville Observer:
‘When the General Assembly goes back into session in January, education should be a priority. Yes, job-creation is important, and rebuilding this state’s shaky economy must be the top goal. But the foundation of this state’s economy is public education, which includes one of the best public university systems in the country. In the last two or three legislative sessions, education has been battered. Funding was slashed from preschool, the K-12 system, the community colleges and the university.
How much more can they be diminished before it begins to drag the economy further down? We already have the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the country. Will continuing cutbacks in education somehow make North Carolina more attractive to companies looking to do business here? Not likely. Our well-educated, well-trained workforce is a key to industrial recruitment. And we’re not doing well in maintaining that education and training anymore. Lawmakers can cut corporate taxes all they want, but new industries won’t move here or grow here if we don’t have that key workforce and excellent schools to continue training it.
We wish our students and teachers the best for this new school year, and we hope the General Assembly does, too – and will show it by providing the financial support to continue our remarkable progress.’