Editorial: Stop Nickel-and-Diming Public Education and Give Teachers the Tools They Need
With school starting for most NC students on Monday, the Wilmington Star News is out with an editorial reminding folks that thanks to cuts to public education from politicians in Raleigh, teachers will be paying more out-of-pocket for classroom supplies. While politicians in Raleigh tout meager pay increases for younger teachers, per pupil investment and classroom supplies funding remains far below 2008 levels, even as we have more students than ever.
Some of the difference is made up by churches and civic clubs who stuff backpacks for some low-income students. And for the rest? The answer, too often, is that teachers buy supplies for their students out of their own frayed pockets. The Raleigh News & Observer hunted around recently; it didn't have to look far to find teachers who were spending $100 and $200 per semester on supplies.
So, congratulations on those raises, teachers. Now you have more money to spend on your pupils.
The nickel-and diming of public education in North Carolina continues apace on other fronts. In some counties, school boards are considering stretching their pennies by cleaning the classrooms one less day per week.
Since 2008, the legislature has cut funding for the State Department of Public Instruction by some $19 million. Some fat was probably trimmed in the process, but state educators complain that programs for training and support to low-income, low-performing school systems has been slashed.
Meanwhile the majority in the legislature continues to transfer public school funds into voucher programs for private-schools -- some of which refuse to admit students they apparently deem unworthy.
We can’t compete in the world effectively if we continue funding vital school programs by the equivalent of bake sales and charity.
Let’s pay the teachers well and provide the tools they need to do their jobs.