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?

In numbers:
  • 49th in wage competitiveness for teachers (EPI)
  • Teacher salaries are $7,800 less than the national average (NEA)
  • Teachers make 35.5% less than other college graduates in NC (EPI)
  • 25% of all teachers work second or third jobs. The average in the South is 9% (NCES)
  • Only 23% of 4-year-olds have access to pre-k (NIEER)
  • Local school districts lose $500 to $700 per student to charter schools (Duke University)
  • Teachers pay up to $1,000 out-of-pocket for necessary classroom supplies (NPR)
  • The state funded 7,056 fewer teaching assistant positions in 2018-19 than in 2008-09. (NC Justice Center)
  • 40th in Education Week rankings (Education Week)

In words:
  • A trend toward charter schools and “neighborhood” models is resegregating public schools, harming students. Desegregation lifts up students from all backgrounds.
  • Republicans cut funding for early childhood education, including Smart Start, meaning thousands of 4-year-olds can’t get access to classrooms. Instead of funding a solution, they want preschoolers to go to school online.
  • Instead of restricting charter growth by creating more oversight, Republicans want to give the State Superintendent the ability to approve bonds to build charter schools. Yet another unfunded mandate for counties.
  • Teachers are forced to rely on donations from parents and crowdfunding for necessary classroom supplies like paper and printer ink.
  • Student debt is a growing problem for adults across the state. Higher education is too expensive and NCGA policies have worsened the situation, especially at the state’s HBCUs.