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The State of Public Education in NC: What you should know

The state of public education in North Carolina has yet to improve following rollbacks caused by the recession of 2008. Since coming to power in 2010, Republicans have made policy changes that have further eroded North Carolina’s public education system:

Teacher pay in North Carolina has not increased in any meaningful way over the past several years.

  •  As of 2018, North Carolina’s teachers have an average salary $9,600 less than the national average.
  • This puts North Carolina at 37th in the nation for average teacher pay—16 spots lower than the 2001-2002 school year.

Per pupil spending has remained consistently low while Republicans in the General Assembly have prioritized tax cuts for corporations.

  • According to an annual report released by the National Education Association, North Carolina ranks 39th in the nation in per-pupil spending this year
  • North Carolina now spends around $2,400 less per-pupil than the national average per-pupil

Cuts to school supplies are passed on to teachers and parents:

  • Teachers spend between $500 and $1,000 out-of-pocket on classroom supplies,
  • The average family with elementary-age children pays $650 per child on school supplies.
  • The average family with middle schoolers spend $1,000 per child on school supplies.
  • The average family with high school students spends $1,500 per child.

In North Carolina, the achievement gap between wealthy and low-income students widened more than any other state between 2011 and 2014.

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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rep. Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth)

In this Real Facts Legislator Profile, we focus on Rep. Donny Lambeth from District 75. Lambeth is a chairman of the Appropriations Committee, the Health Committee, and the Health Care Reform Committee. He is also a member of the Education – K-12 Committee and the Education – Universities Committee. Before being elected to the General Assembly in 2012, Lambeth worked for Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center for 40 years. During his career, Lambeth held 17 different job titles, including president, and saw his compensation package reach $1.2 million. Lambeth also served as chairman on the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education for 18 years. Lambeth was a “controversial” chairman, characterized as “belligerent” by some parents and teachers. Read the full profile here

“Get in touch with state lawmakers and county commissioners and urge them to support education.” – Column written by Donny Lambeth (Winston-Salem Journal, 2/10/11)

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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Nelson Dollar (R-Wake)

In this legislator profile, we focus on Rep. Nelson Dollar, the Republican representative from District 36, who has been in the General Assembly for over a decade. Since the Republicans took control of the House in 2011, Dollar has been senior Chairman of the Appropriations Committee working as House Republicans main budget writer. According to the News & Observer, “officially” Nelson Dollar “is senior chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.  Unofficially, he’s the House gatekeeper.” Read more here.

“Most of the people who would have been covered by Medicaid expansion are ‘relatively healthy’ and could always get care in emergency rooms.” –Nelson Dollar (News & Observer, 10/14/13)

Summary

  • Dollar has consistently written budgets and policies that shortchange education at every level. Instead, prioritizing tax cuts for big corporations.
  • During the more than 10 years that Rep. Dollar has served in the legislature, he has eliminated policies that would aid his constituents
    • He advocated for cutting child care subsidies
    • He voted against Medicaid expansion
    • He supported a budget that eliminates the ability to access health insurance after retirement, for state employees hired after 2021
  • Dollar has used his position of power to benefit himself with lucrative consulting contracts.

Read more on Dollar here.

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North Carolina legislator profile: Senator Phil Berger (R – Rockingham)

Over the next several months Real Facts NC will release a series of reports on key North Carolina legislators and how their work impacts the people in their districts. In the first of the series we’ll take a look at the man claimed by many to be the most powerful individual in state government, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger.

Berger has represented Rockingham County since 2001 and became minority leader in 2004 and Senate President Pro Tem, the leader of the Senate, in 2011. While Berger has succeeded in Raleigh enacting his conservative agenda, Rockingham county has seen more than its fair share of setbacks in recent years. 

Read below a summary of how while Phil Berger has gotten ahead in Raleigh, Rockingham has fallen behind. Find the full report: here.

(Dwane Powell, The News & Observer)

 

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Robert Bryan, far from roughing it after losing House seat

Former Republican House member Robert Bryan III lost to Democrat Mary Belk in the November 2016 election, but his loss couldn’t have stung much. In April 2017 Bryan was appointed by the House to the UNC Board of Governors and was sworn in for his four-year term at the end of June. …

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