Parents are deeply unhappy with changes to North Carolina’s public schools

More than 94 percent of respondents to a survey conducted by researchers at UNC-Wilmington said that they felt public education in North Carolina is headed in the wrong direction and overwhelmingly trusted teachers and administrators — not lawmakers — to make educational decisions for the state’s public schools.

Residents of North Carolina, 80 percent of which were parents with children in public schools, were surveyed about the quality and direction of education in the state and asked to react to recent legislative decisions passed by the General Assembly, including the removal of additional funding for teachers who earn advanced degrees, implementation of a voucher program, removal of class size limits, and the abolishment of tenure, among others.

  • More than 85 percent of respondents disagreed with the state’s decision to provide low-income families with private school vouchers.
  • Ninety-six percent of participants disagreed with the removal of additional pay for teachers earning a master’s degree in education.
  • More than 76 percent of respondents disagreed with the elimination of teacher tenure. 
  • Ninety-six percent of participants disagreed with the removal of class size caps.
  • Ninety-five percent of respondents disagreed with the decision to not increase teacher salaries in 2013 for the fourth time in five years.

Participants were also given the chance to respond to the survey in their own words. Below are a few of those comments:

“These laws will not improve NC education, but destroy it!”

“I am just very disappointed in the direction NC education is headed. I hope to find work in another state that values children and education. NC is no longer that state.”

“I am shocked, angered and saddened by the direction of education in this state, all at the hands of the current legislature and governor. Because of these devastating changes, and in spite of a strong desire to teach again, I will not likely re-enter the profession.”

“My family is very concerned about the direction in which the 2013 NC State Legislature seems to be taking our public education system. We have two children enrolled in public schools now, and have witnessed firsthand the exodus of quality teachers and the swelling of class sizes. At all levels, we will be paying attention to candidates’ attitudes, statements, and actions regarding this issue and will vote accordingly.”


  1. Clark R

    March 10, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Survey doesn’t use scientific methodology. Basically worthless.

  2. wayne burgess

    March 10, 2014 at 11:13 am

    do anything at all to get rid of these god-damned rightist republicans.

  3. Alan

    March 10, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Rather hard to believe that two PhD’s would conduct a study that would be “basically worthless”. Unless of course you happen to be Dr. Jerome Corsi, that would indeed be worthless.

  4. Karen

    March 10, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    It is called qualitative research and is used to gather an understanding of behaviors and the reasons for that behavior. It is also used to find a range of ideas and feelings. It is also used to discover motivations and factors influencing decisions. Data is often collected through surveys as in this case.

  5. Janna

    March 10, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Here is a link to the original study. It is not scientific (meaning they did not have a control group or control for variables or subjects) but it is not worthless. They just were asking parents what they thought about new education changes in NC. The researchers did control for who had ever worked for public schools so they could see if parents who were once worked in public schools felt differently than those who never had. They clearly posted their methods and did not represent the study as anything other than what it is. During the time the survey was available the majority of the respondents reported were not happy with the current changes in NC education. As a parent who has been hearing parent complaints all year I personally think their results have some credibility. There are a lot of angry parents right now. http://people.uncw.edu/imigs/documents/NCReact_ImigSmith.pdf

  6. BP

    March 10, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Worthless, aka, contrary to what you believe.

  7. Robert

    March 11, 2014 at 11:14 am

    As a teacher, husband, and father of two who qualifies for government assistance, all I can say is that higher pay would be great! I have often said that I never became a teacher to be rich, but to me the money just represent our worth to the state. It would be nice to at least be able to make enough money that I can have a savings account. Maybe take a trip from time to time. Don’t think that is too much to ask.

  8. Janna

    March 11, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Another validation point is that this other recent study from Highpoint that has most of the same results. http://www.highpoint.edu/src/files/2014/02/28memoED.pdf
    This telephone survey also found that a large majority disagreed with no teacher pay increase, class size cap removal, less per pupil funding, and no pay supplement for masters. There were some discrepancy from the Smith/Imig study on some other items but their explanation of Read to Achieve and TFA were so brief I am unsure respondents knew both sides of the issues. Teacher tenure was split on the Highpoint study but neither study discussed that there really is no teacher tenure- just due process rights. What the Highpoint study does demonstrate is many concerns are share by Democrat, Republicans, Independents, liberals and conservatives. Not funding public education harms children from all families.

  9. Patrick

    March 11, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Hi Karen,

    Alan is sort of correct, but I would call it misleading rather than worthless. The methodology section explains why: the survey responders were not randomly selected but encouraged to apply through online links and emails through the PTA. Thus the survey is really a reflection of the PTA, not the North Carolina public or average parent in the state. PTA opposition to vouchers is not a big surprise.

  10. GOP Rules

    March 12, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Are comments shut off here because the whole poll is bogus? Using surveymonkey.com is not a way to perform a respected poll, although I guess that is what passes as rigorous progressive statistical analysis these days…pure monkey business.

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