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If you’ve heard a lot of back and forth about what North Carolina pays public school teachers, but felt as if you could never get the numbers straight in your head, click below to view them in all their Ebenezer Scroogeian/Art Popeian glory:

Fiscal Year 2013-2014 North Carolina Public School Salary Schedules.

 

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On Friday, Chris Mai of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities documented some remarkable numbers related to American support for public education. As her chart below shows, North Carolina’s dwindling support parallels a disturbing national trend:

 “Local governments added 20,000 education jobs in the month of August, the Labor Department reported today.  That’s good news, but schools remain in a big hole from the recession:  local school districts still have 297,000 fewer jobs than in August 2008 (see chart).

Education cuts chart

This means that, even as K-12 enrollment has risen — by 800,000 students between the fall of 2008 and fall of 2013, according to the Education Department — schools have fewer teachers, librarians, principals, guidance counselors, nurses, and other staff to help them.

Instead of setting our students up for success at the start of a new school year, we’re giving them less support than just a few years ago.

 

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School testsAt the risk of committing education policy world heresy by saying something positive about the Department of Public Instruction and the federal Department of Education, let’s hear three cheers for the following announcement from the NC Public Schools website:

“Thanks to a grant and supplemental funds from the U.S. Department of Education, every eligible North Carolina high school student who took an Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) exam last year will have his or her test fees covered.

As a part of the federal Advanced Placement Test Fee Program, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) will receive more than $880,000 to cover AP and IB exam fees for all low-income students who qualify. The Department will use the funds to reimburse districts for the IB exam fees and pay College Board directly on behalf of districts to cover outstanding balances they incurred for eligible students. Read More

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As Clayton Henkel notes below, the General Assembly returns to Raleigh today to override the Governor’s vetoes of a pair of bills dealing with immigrant workers and drug testing of public benefits applicants.

In response, the good folks at Public School First NC released a statement this morning that highlights what lawmakers ought to be doing now that they’re back in the Capital City:

PUBLIC SCHOOLS FIRST NC URGES LEGISLATURE TO REINSTATE FUNDS FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION
Despite Promises of Job Growth, Teaching Positions Cut Across North Carolina

Raleigh, NC—September 3, 2013— As the General Assembly convenes for a special session, Public Schools First NC urges legislators to acknowledge the drastic budget impacts already, affecting public education and to use this opportunity to restore funding. The predicted consequences of these cuts—the loss of teacher and teacher assistant positions, increases to class size, inadequate instructional supplies, and the trimming of special programs—comes on the heels of promises by elected officials to promote job growth. Read More

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Today’s lead editorial in the Greensboro News & Record provides a civics lesson for conservative state House members trying to escape responsibility for the state’s declining commitment to public education:

“Stung by ‘outrageous claims’ that they cut school spending, N.C. House Republicans responded with a ‘fact sheet’ that blames cities and counties….

This is a dodge. In North Carolina, state funds cover the bulk of K-12 costs because the state constitution assigns responsibility to the legislature. Local governments are allowed to supplement state appropriations for school operating expenses but are not required to do so….

After terming the GOP claims a “shabby political strategy,” the editorial concludes this way:

“If Republican legislators want to shift that burden to local governments, they’ll have to rewrite the constitution.”

To which, all a body can say is: Don’t give these guys any ideas!

Read the entire editorial by clicking here.