Commentary

North Carolinas’s ongoing war on teachers

TeachersIn case you missed it, yesterday’s lead editorial in the Fayetteville Observer did a fine job of summing up the continuing war on public school teachers being waged by the state’s political leadership:

After decrying the large teacher shortages that plague school systems across the state and some recent national surveys that put the state at the bottom of the pack for its treatment of teachers (and which also describe a decade-long spiral in North Carolina) , the editorial says this:

“Add to that the legislative dismantling of the state’s teacher-assistant program, lawmakers’ assault on the association that is a weak version of a teachers union, and an attempt to end teachers’ also-flimsy tenure rights, and it’s easy to see why they’re wearing out the exit door.

A pay raise for new teachers, hiking their starting salary to $35,000, may help attract talent to North Carolina schools, but it won’t keep them here for long, because more experienced teachers have made little or no salary headway.

That 10-year trend should be a reminder, too, that the decline in teacher salaries – from around the national median to something approaching the bottom of the barrel – is a bipartisan exercise. It started while Democrats controlled the legislative and executive branches, then was pushed along by the Republicans when they took over.

Our lawmakers can pursue all the educational reform in the world, but it won’t work until we can attract and keep good teachers. We’ll do that when we boost salaries back to the national median.

Let’s be clear: Without a great K-12 education system, most of our other goals are out of reach. And without good, well-paid teachers in our classrooms, our education initiatives will fail.”

Click here to read the entire editorial.

2 Comments


  1. Michael Lodico

    October 20, 2015 at 8:48 am

    I was in Wyoming earlier this month conducting accreditation review teams. Average starting salaries in that state now approach $45,000. That state invests in school construction, transportation, technology, etc., to a level unimaginable in North Carolina. There is no redder state than Wyoming, so the hostility toward public education in the North Carolina current legislature is not just an issue of Republicans v. Democrats — it more likely stems from the religious right’s concerns about “godless government schools.”

  2. Michael Lodico

    October 20, 2015 at 8:51 am

    I WANT TO CHANGE THE VERB “CONDUCTING” TO “LEADING.” I DON’T SEE A WAY TO EDIT A POST. THANKS — ML

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