Editorial pages offer scathing words for education cuts
In case you missed them, check out this morning’s lead editorials in Raleigh’s News & Observer and the Charlotte Observer — both of which tell it like it is on the matter of our state leaders’ ongoing assault on public education.
In “A basic math lesson for N.C. lawmakers,” the Observer puts it like this:
“Here’s what the Senate and House budget plan, set for a vote this week, does to N.C. schools:
It cuts education spending by almost $500 million in the next two years, including a decrease in net spending for K-12 public schools.
It invites bigger and more chaotic classrooms by removing the cap on some classroom sizes and cutting funding for elementary school teacher assistants. School systems can offset those cuts if they somehow find money in their shrinking budgets, but if they don’t, more than 3,850 second- and third-grade teaching assistants will be gone.
It phases out extra pay for teachers who earn a master’s degree, removing at least some incentive for teachers to improve themselves and their classrooms.
Most critically, it continues to pay N.C. public school teachers abysmally. The budget doesn’t give teachers raises next year, which guarantees that N.C. will continue to rank near the bottom of national rankings in teacher pay.”
Meanwhile, the N&O has this to say in “Teachers take another hit in state budget”:
“As it stands now, the state is near the bottom in teacher pay in national rankings. That is a disgraceful circumstance for a state that thanks to the efforts of former Gov. Jim Hunt once got its pay levels to the national average.
So let’s see…bottom pay, no tenure, and, oh yes. The General Assembly is making a big cut in teachers’ assistants, who as anyone who’s been in a classroom knows, are vital to the educational process. And more crowded classes make them all the more vital.
Maybe somebody at the barber shop told Phil Berger he’d heard some assistants were coasting.
Teachers are the heart of the most noble thing this state and this nation do: provide an education to all. And yet Berger and other Republicans speak of public schools as if they were more a nuisance than a monument to enlightenment. They also seem to believe they can continue to make teachers a target of petty criticism, pay them poorly, offer them few benefits and still maintain a quality school system.
That defies logic. And as teachers begin to ask themselves why they want to work in North Carolina, they’re going to have more difficulty coming up with the reasons.”