Two new items of note in Raleigh’s News & Observer highlight the ongoing existential threat to the future of public education in North Carolina posed by the state’s conservative political leadership.
Item #1 is an excellent editorial entitled “Voucher ploy could be disastrous to public schools.” In it, the paper rightfully blasts the legislature’s growing infatuation with privatizing public schools through the introduction of vouchers:
“Now, once again, some in the General Assembly want vouchers. The idea is presented as an opportunity for lower-income people, targeted to them in order to provide them with an educational ‘option.’ But the logic sounds more like a way to get a voucher foot in the door of the public bank. What begins as a program for lower-income families likely would soon be expanded as more groups of parents demanded the same option, even if they are not lower-income….Meanwhile, the noble mission of public education carries on, with Republicans in the legislature looking for ways to cut public education money. A voucher system would do it. The public schools would surely lose if vouchers won….Public schools are the best thing we do. We should invest more in them, not less.”
“Only three states are expected to spend less per student than North Carolina in the current school year, according to the latest rankings from the National Education Association.
North Carolina’s per pupil spending for the 2012-13 school year is estimated at $8,433 with only Texas, Utah and Arizona spending less per student. The U.S. average is $11,068.
The state also ranks No. 48 in teacher salary among the 50 states and District of Columbia in the current school year, paying an average $45,947. Only Oklahoma, Mississippi and South Dakota pay less. The U.S. average is $56,383.
Both rankings in per pupil spending and average teacher salary represent a decline in the NEA rankings from the previous year. North Carolina spent $8,492 per student in the 2011-2012 school year and paid an average teacher salary of $46,605.”