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Our declining commitment to education

Anyone paying any attention to the news in recent months already knew this to be the case, but it’s still sobering to see the data.

Example #1 – On Tuesday, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released this report [1] documenting the way most states (including North Carolina) have been significantly reducing their commitment to K-12 education. According to the report:

States have made steep cuts to education funding since the start of the recession and, in many states, those cuts deepened over the last year. Elementary and high schools are receiving less state funding in the 2012-13 school year than they did last year in 26 states, and in 35 states school funding now stands below 2008 levels — often far below.

Example #2 – Today, Together NC released this fact sheet [2] which explains North Carolina’s declining commitment to higher education. To quote the document:

“State investment in the UNC system declined by 11 percent over the course of the Great Recession, and investment in the community college system decreased by 4.3 percent over the same period. Throughout the 2000s, state appropriations for post-secondary education fluctuated with economic downturns and recoveries, which undermined these institutions’ unique role in supporting worker re-training in tough economic times.

Reduced state investment in postsecondary education has shifted more of the cost of obtaining a degree or professional credential to students and their families. Tuition at UNC system schools has increased by nearly $1,000 in inflation-adjusted dollars over the decade, while community college tuition increased by $650.”

Both examples confirm that we are, as Governor Perdue has at times lamented in the past, “eating our seed corn.”