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2019 NEA Report shows drop in per student spending in North Carolina

NEA released its 2019 Rankings and Estimates report last Monday. Updates show some positive changes, though the state still falls near the bottom in per student spending and average teacher salary.

Per student spending in NC remains near the bottom as Republican budgets consistently fail to meet classroom needs, spending nearly $3,000 below the national average per student.

  • The state dropped in rank from 39thto 42nd in per student spending between the 2016-17 school year and final 2017-18 numbers.
  • NEA’s 2018 report estimated the state would rank 39th in per student spending for 2017-18. Revised numbers drop NC to 42nd.
  • NC spends $2,957 below the national average per student.

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The State of Public Education in NC: 2019

Since Republicans have taken power, we’ve witnessed a shrinking commitment to public education at all levels. While funding remains mired at pre-recession levels, Republicans prioritize tax cuts for corporations and those at the top. We need to invest in our teachers and students.

Thousands of N.C. teachers are gathered in Raleigh to ask lawmakers to prioritize education while the House Appropriations Committee meets to discuss the state’s 2019-20 budget. How did we get here?

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During a hectic week, NCGA Republicans moved bills that could further cuts to education and continue advancements of unchecked privatization of public schools

A recent study found that just 23 percent of 4-year-olds in North Carolina have access to pre-k, below the national average. Meanwhile teacher pay in N.C. remains $7.8k less than the national average and NC teachers make 35.5 percent less than other 4-year college graduates in the state. Teachers pay out-of-pocket for school supplies to meet classroom needs. However, unchecked growth of charter schools has created a fiscal burden on local school districts of $500 to $700 per student.

A number of education-related bills are moving through the NCGA this session, but some appear to do more harm than good. We’ve highlighted three of those bills below.

H485 seeks to address a problem created by Republicans when they rolled back Smart-Start funding and, since then, continually failed to address the growing pre-k waitlist. Instead of funding pre-k, lawmakers want to send 4-year-olds to school online. Experts have concerns about the virtual learning pilot program because the value of pre-k “is less about the skill-learning in reading and math and more about skill-learning in social-emotional domains.” Virtual pre-k is a short-sighted effort to solve a funding failure with long-term impacts.

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#TBT: Mark Johnson again claims NC teachers are making plenty of money

Mark Johnson falsely claims teachers make more than other college grads in NC

State Superintendent Mark Johnson doubled-down Wednesday on his controversial teacher pay comments from early 2018 during an interview on a conservative talk radio show.

Last year Johnson faced criticism for claiming that the base starting teacher salary was “good money” for people in their 20s. For reference, Johnson, 35, makes $127,561, but if he were still on the teacher pay scale would be making just $38,000

Johnson repurposed his now-debunked talking point to again claim teachers in NC are making plenty of money.

“[average teacher pay] is also more than the median wage of a person in North Carolina with a four-year degree for a year. That means that the average teacher is making more than what these median households in North Carolina make, families are bringing home,”Johnson said Wednesday on Wilmington’s Big Talker.

This claim is blatantly false, especially his point about what families are actually “bringing home.”

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North Carolina Candidate Profile Update: Bobby Hanig (R-Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Washington)

Hanig ran unopposed for the Currituck Country Board of Commissioners in 2016 and was elected Chairman of the Board shortly after. During his time on the County Commission, Hanig proved he will follow in other Republicans’ footsteps and be yet another rubber stamp for the Republican age…

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

Donny Lambeth is a Republican legislator currently serving his third term representing HD75 in the North Carolina House. Before being elected to the General Assembly in 2012, Lambeth worked for Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center where he held 17 different job titles but most notably earned more than $1 million in a single year as the president.

Remarkably, only two years after Lambeth earned $1.2 million as a hospital executive, he voted against expanding basic health care access for low-income North Carolinians. Despite being considered “the legislature’s leading healthcare expert” he voted against expanding Medicaid coverage for some of North Carolina’s most vulnerable populations. This vote resulted in hundreds and possibly thousands of lives lost across the state due to a lack of affordable health care.

Along with working for a medical center, Lambeth served as the chairman of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board for over a decade and was a deeply controversial chairman. Parents and teachers complained that he “slept through meetings” and was “belligerent.” During his tenure, he criticized the state lawmakers for failing to fund public education.

However, since being elected to the House, he has fallen in line with the Republican trend of prioritizing tax cuts for corporations over paying teachers at the national average. Lambeth voted for multiple Republican budgets that fail to compensate hardworking teachers fairly and shortchange students by cutting education spending year after year.

Furthermore, Lambeth supported voter ID legislation, dubbed the “Monster” voter ID law, that was struck down in court for discriminating against African-American voters with “almost surgical precision.”

Read on for more about Rep. Lambeth.

Source: Morganton News Herald

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North Carolina Legislator Profile Update: Debra Conrad (R-Forsyth)

Photo: Winston-Salem Journal Debra Conrad was on the Forsyth County Commission for 18 years and has been in office since 1994. While there, she caused tension between the County Commission and the school board. She repeatedly voted against funding more education, instead voting in favor of …

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North Carolina Legislator Profile Update: John Bradford (R-Mecklenburg)

John Bradford was first elected to the Cornelius Town Board in 2011. While there, he supported hiring a private contractor to operate and build I-77 toll lanes. However, when I-77 became a political liability after he was elected to the NCGA, he changed his position. This type of political “courage” is indicative of the rest of his political career.

Bradford repeatedly failed to protect North Carolina children and families while in the House. Bradford voted to block debate on several common sense gun law reforms, including a “red flag” law that would keep guns out of the hands of people convicted of domestic violence, rape or other violent crimes. Bradford failed to keep N.C. schools safe by blocking these amendments to a school safety bill that was criticized for not doing enough.

Bradford also failed give children the tools they need to succeed. Bradford said, “spending more in education will not magically solve the problems we are facing” despite years of failing to raise per student spending or teacher salaries to the national average.  

Bradford pushed for laws that protect landlords like himself while putting every day North Carolinians at risk. Bradford is a property manager and owns Park Avenue Properties, which faced dozens of complaints according to Better Business Bureau, but still voted in favor of eviction practices that were deemed “unfair and deceptive”.

Bradford used his position in the House to protect himself and his own interests rather than helping the families in his district.

 

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