Editorial: No More Election Year Gimmicks, Let's Invest in Public Education
The Fayetteville Observer is out with an editorial that voices skepticism at the teacher pay proposals that we've heard from politicians in Raleigh. We're still waiting to hear the details, and in recent years the promises simply haven't added up in the end. Are politicians finally getting serious about improving public education, or is this just more election year tricks?
But we don't know how Berger plans to pay for those raises. He says we'll have to wait until sometime this week, when the Senate unveils its budget proposal. Berger did note that improved tax collections, above budget expectations, are making the improvements possible.
But as N.C. Association of Educators President Rodney Ellis said last week, "the devil is going to be in the details." Ellis added that, "The last time there was a pay raise, they promised it would get us to 32nd in the country, and here we sit at 41st."
Berger says the Senate's proposed raises will move teacher pay to the highest in the Southeast and 24th in the country. If that's true, it's an amazing accomplishment. We hope Berger's promise endures beyond the next election. Like Ellis, we'll wait until we see the details.
While we do want to see North Carolina teacher salaries around the national midpoint, as the politicians have promised, we have to wonder how the Senate plans to do it. Revenue increases have been good, but not enough to make those raises happen. Is the money coming from other places where it's needed too?
If North Carolina wants to be competitive, it needs to provide adequate funding for all levels of education, from preschool through the university level.