Dr. Bill Anderson of the nonprofit MeckEd — a pro-public education group in Charlotte — published a fascinating, chart-and-graph-filled editorial/report this week about the status of North Carolina’s public schools. You owe it to yourself to take some time to review it.
“North Carolina was once considered a leader of K-12 public education in the Southeast. A few years back, during the tenure of Governor Jim Hunt, who was referred to on the national stage as the “Education Governor,” teacher salaries, academic achievement, and accountability increased significantly. The unfortunate reality of change, along with an extreme and prolonged recession, has resulted in painful adjustments due to significant reductions in education funding.
This editorial is intended to provide an accurate and objective picture of these changes since 2006. It provides data on student population growth, academic achievement, the reduction of full-time instructional personnel, teacher salaries and how N.C. fares when compared to national teacher pay scales. It also shows what the outlook could be for traditional public schools in a state that once valued public education as an investment in the future. So much has changed and is being “reformed” very rapidly this summer. Some legislators believe our public schools are “broken” and need to “be fixed.” Hopefully, by understanding these developments with annual data points, the citizens and legislators of our great state will now have an accurate understanding of how far North Carolina has slipped in regard to funding and valuing the importance of public education.”