education

North Carolina Legislator Profile Update: Rep. Scott Stone (R-Mecklenburg)

Scott Stone was appointed to House District 105 in May 2016 and won the election for the seat in November of the same year.He does not have any prior political experience, as he lost the race for Charlotte Mayor in both 2015 and 2011 and lost a race for Arlington County Board (VA) in 1996.

Stone is out-of-touch with his constituents. He added $287,000 worth of “housekeeping buildings” to his $459,500 home, meanwhile, he voted for bills that make it difficult for North Carolinians to get ahead. Stone blindly followed his party’s lead, voting to block an amendment that would have expanded Medicaid for several North Carolinians and voting in favor of several other bills that fail to protect working families in NC. He opposed raising the minimum wage and did not want to allow affordable housing near his south Charlotte neighborhood.

Despite boasting about the fact that he has children in the NC public school system, Stone has repeatedly voted for bills during his short time in office that fail to adequately fund public schools. He claims diversity in schools is a “politically driven issue” and opposes busing to increase diversity in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools, claiming it is “not the answer.” Stone said, “the legislature is responsible for the education of students across the state,” but he has voted for Republican budgets that continue to fail NC’s education system.

Following the shooting in Parkland, FL, Stone followed his party’s lead and voted against amendments made by Democrats to a school safety bill that would have added gun-control restrictions. Stone prioritized gun rights over the safety of children at school. He once again proved he is out of touch with North Carolinians and will blindly follow the Republican party at any cost.

Click here for more about Stone's record. 

Photo: WSOCTV
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North Carolina Legislator Profile Update: Rep. John Sauls (R-Harnett & Lee)

Rep. John Sauls is a Republican preacher representing House District 51. He served two terms from 2003-2006 and then retired, claiming to expand his congregation. However Sauls then retired from leading his congregation, handing over the pulpit to his higher-energy son, only to run for the NC House again in 2016. Since 2016 Sauls has served without distinction, sponsoring very few bills and missing many votes due to absences. He recently published Facebook ads listing the wrong district number and is known for being absent from floor votes and committee meetings. However, the votes he has been present for continue the Republican trend of prioritizing corporations and millionaires over the people in their districts.

Read on for more about Sauls’ record.

Photo: The Sanford 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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North Carolina Legislator Profile Update: Nelson Dollar (R-Wake)

Rep. Nelson Dollar is a Republican representing House District 36. He has been in the General Assembly for over a decade and has been senior Chairman of the Appropriations Committee since Republicans took control of the House in 2011. Working as House Republicans main budget writer Dollar, according to the News & Observer, “officially […] is senior chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Unofficially, he’s the House gatekeeper.”

 

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UPDATED: S75 is a Millionaires Protection Act

Making the Middle Class Tax Shift Permanent 

S75 – The “Millionaires Protection Act” is meant to make Republican Politicians radical tax shift from those at the top to working families permanent 

The “Millionaires Protection Act” would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that locks in income tax rates that largely benefit the wealthy – over the last four years the average millionaire saved almost $15,000, while the average family saved only $6 (that’s SIX dollars) a year from the tax changes enacted by Republican politicians. 

  • While the income tax change may sound like a good deal, Raleigh politicians will look for other ways to raise taxes, and they’ll be left with sales taxes and fees that take a bigger bite out of the pockets of working families. What might seem saved in your paycheck you’ll more than pay back at the cash register.
  • How do we know they’ll raise sales taxes and fees – because that’s what they’ve been doing! Over the last three years Republicans have enacted three tax hikes on working families through news sales and service taxes and fees meaning you pay more to send a kid to college, put gas in your car and get it repaired, and even to keep the lights on at your home. 

In order to lock in these huge tax cuts for millionaires, Republican politicians will also be locking in current education funding that is lower per student than it was before the recession and causes North Carolina to be ranked 45th for teachers in the country.

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Video: “The horror:” N.C. Republicans again show they’re out of touch with the reality of teaching in N.C.

During discussion of the 2018 Republican budget, Rep. Dana Bumgardner (R-Gaston) used the example of his father, a teacher and principal in the 1950s, to explain how easy teachers have it in 2018.

“When my dad taught back in the 1950s he got paid for nine months a year” Rep. Bumgardner said, “and in the summer he would go get a job and work, the horror.”

“The horror” 

N.C. has the third highest number of teachers working second jobs outside of the school system.

According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics compiled by EdNCover half of all North Carolina teachers have a second job. Though the data doesn’t clarify whether those jobs are specifically held over the summer, it is pretty apparent that teachers in 2018 are working just as hard as Rep. Bumgardner’s father did to make ends meet.

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The State of Public Education in NC: Racial Inequity

Last week, we published a report highlighting the erosion of North Carolina's public education system following the 2008 recession and the 2010 Republican takeover in the General Assembly. Today, we look further into the state of racial equity in public schools around the state and explore how disparities in race and socioeconomic status have caused students of color to fall further behind. 

In North Carolina, the achievement gap between wealthy and low-income students widened more than any other state between 2011 and 2014. This has been partially due to the resegregation of school districts as desegregation tactics have been abandoned in favor of the "neighborhood school" model.

North Carolina charter schools have further segregated students.

Students of color have disparately higher rates of punishment, such as short- and long-term suspension, than white students.

Students of color underperform their white counterparts in nearly every educational metric, even when controlling for factors like economic disparities and limited language proficiency.

See the full report here

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Video: Chris Malone can't face North Carolina's rallying teachers, sends intern to answer the tough questions about low teacher pay

Tens of thousands of teachers from across the state rallied in Raleigh on the first day of session to protest lack of funding for education. Teachers packed the legislative building and the gallery of House and Senate Chambers to confront their legislators about what is actually happening in classrooms around the state. After the House and Session senate quickly adjourned, teachers remained in the legislative building to seek out their representatives. While Democratic legislators largely stayed to speak to constituents, Republicans were nowhere to be found.

Instead, inside Republican legislative offices printed on large poster board in color ink (which many teachers across the state could not afford to print at the own schools for their students) were “Teacher Pay Facts” signs. The only problem—the teachers present claimed they had seen none of that money.

Outside of former Wake County School Board Member and current House member Chris Malone’s (R-Wake) office, teachers gathered at an open door hoping to find a legislator to speak with.

Chris Malone could not face North Carolina’s teachers and instead opted to send his intern to answer questions about one of the most pressing issues in the state. Hopefully next time the North Carolina citizens who pay his salary travel to make their voices heard, Malone can give them a few minutes of his time.

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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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