public schools

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Republicans continue their trend of playing politics with school safety, reject amendments to keep all students safe at school

The NC House voted today on a school safety omnibus bill, but the bill failed to make it to its 3rdand final reading today because Republicans rejected two amendments to the bill that would have improved safety at school for all children.

Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield proposed an amendment that would have added “cultural diversity” to the short list of things which school resource officers (SROs) must be specially trained on. Jeff Elmore was the only Republican to vote in favor of the amendment though a few were absent and three chose not to vote. The amendment failed, but earned support from every Democrat present.

A 2018 study found that putting more police in schools doesn’t make them safer and found that the state needs to evaluate and change the “philosophy on policing in schools.” Adding cultural diversity to the list of required trainings for SROs seems like an important step in addressing one piece of the study’s findings-that Black and Latinx students feel discriminated against by officers and less safe in their presence.

Read More

Mark Johnson on School Nutrition: A Close Reading

A few days ago, Superintendent of public instruction Mark Johnson sent out the mailer below on school nutrition. School nutrition remains a critical battleground as students and families battle food insecurity amidst stagnating wages and continual budget cuts in North Carolina. 

Real Facts previously documented how Johnson used the NC public schools email list as his personal blog. Now, it seems that Johnson has moved to glossy mailers as a medium for his vacuous nutrition advice. Below, find an annotated version of Johnson’s note.

Read More

North Carolina Legislator Profile: Brenden Jones (R-Bladen, Columbus, Robeson)

Brenden Jones is a used car salesman whose business has faced multiple lawsuits for selling “lemons” to women. However, House Speaker Tim Moore bought his son’s first car, a Mustang, from Jones. Jones makes it clear which customers he values.  Jones claimed to priorit…

Read More

North Carolina Legislator Profile Update: Rep. Mike Clampitt (R-Haywood, Jackson, Swain)

Mike Clampitt is currently serving his first term in the NC House of Representatives for HD119 and lives in Bryson City, NC.Before finally winning election to the General Assembly in 2016, Clampitt ran unsuccessfully for public office several times. Losing twice in races for NC House and losing a 2010 bid for the Swain County Board of Commissioners.

North Carolina public schools are the largest employer in most of Clampitt’s district. Despite this, he supported bills that shortchange teachers and prioritize tax cuts for the wealthy over funding classrooms. Despite not being in office, he was an outspoken supporter of the 2013 budget, even though he was not in office. Clampitt voted for the 2017 budget which prioritized tax cuts for corporations over raising teacher pay and per pupil spending, forcing teachers to pay out of pocket for classroom supplies.

Clampitt voted to block an amendment that would have expanded access to health care for low-income, rural North Carolinians. He has the wrong priorities, voting for policies that benefit wealthy corporate interests over the people of HD119 who are working hard to make ends meet. All three counties Clampitt represents have a higher percent poverty rate than the statewide average along with a higher childhood poverty rate and a lower median income.

Clampitt voted for bills that roll back environmental protections, putting North Carolina’s natural resources and drinking water in jeopardy. He voted in favor of the “garbage juice” bill and for other bills that make it easier for large corporations to pollute North Carolina’s air, soil, and water.

Read on for more about Clampitt’s record during his first term in the NC House.

“Clampitt said that if elected he would not support more dollars for schools.” -Sylva Herald, 12/27/13

Read More

North Carolina Legislator Profile Update: Stephen Ross (R- Alamance)

Stephen Ross was first elected to public office in the early 1990s, serving on the Burlington City Council for 16 years. He went on to serve as Burlington’s mayor from 2003-2007, then won election to the NC House in 2012. 

Read More

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

Read More

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.

Read More

New report highlights that North Carolina public education is falling further behind the rest of the country

The National Education Association released its annual report Monday. It highlights that, despite political talking points, North Carolina continues to rank near the bottom of teacher pay and per pupil spending when compared to the rest of the country.

  • Revised 2017 teacher pay ranking dropped NC to 39th in the nation. 
  • Average NC teacher salary for 2017-18 is $9,600 less than the national average
  • Per student spending for 2018 saw no change in ranking from 2017, still over $2,400 below national average

 

Read More