In my inbox:
Roy Cooper for North Carolina
My mother Beverly was a public school teacher.
I travel all over this state as attorney general and people say to me, “I want to pay you a compliment.” I think they’re going to tell me I’m doing a great job.
And they’ll say, “Your mom was the best teacher I ever had.”
All of these years later — that’s the power of one educator in the life of a child.
My parents taught me the importance of education from an early age. And, now more than ever, I feel strongly that it’s time to invest in our future. Read my education plan here.
We should increase teacher pay. We should reverse cuts to textbooks and school buses. We have to stop the teacher assistant lay-offs.
Right now, the statistics paint an ugly picture:
• North Carolina is ranked 42nd in the country in teacher pay.
• 62 percent of North Carolina 4th graders are not proficient in reading.
• North Carolina already ranks 46th in the country and last in the Southeast in per-pupil expenditures for public schools.
• Governor McCrory’s proposed budget recommended cutting public universities by $26 million and reduces funding for community colleges by $14 million.
This is unacceptable — and we’re moving in the wrong direction.
Thanks for standing with me.
#1 We’re not 42nd in teacher pay, we’re 47th after the General Assembly raised teacher pay by the biggest amount in our state’s history over the last 2 years.
#2 62% of 4th graders are not proficient in reading? Where in the world did he get that number? Is he going by a 2014 WUNC report that references 2013 NAEP scores? Granted our 4th grade reading scores need a lot of work, but they increased slightly on the most recent NAEP and that is in large part due to Read to Achieve, albeit poorly implemented by DPI, in 3rd grade.
Common Core combined with Read to Achieve is, without argument, a recipe for failure for many kids for a variety of reasons — and these are both policies June Atkinson defends. I know, I’ve seen the results of this combination first hand with my own child at a 4th grade level for lexile and proficiency, yet the Common Core imposed comprehension level nearly had my kid in Read To Achieve. There is something VERY wrong there.
A question to ask: Is Cooper coming out against Common Core, which is doing damage to kids reading confidence and abilities due to the assignment of inappropriate grade level materials and skill sets? Is he endorsing the failed policies of Dr. Atkinson?
#3 North Carolina raised per pupil expenditures by $230 last year and was at an all time high since 2011. We also have one of the largest school populations in the country, which means our already big education budget has to stretch farther than other states. Not only that, but there is $70 million in planned increases over two years for textbooks.
Now take into account that the vast majority of NC districts (82 of 115) spend around $9,000 per pupil which is far more than the national average. None spent less than around $7,300.
#4 McCrory’s cuts to higher education represent around 2% of the higher education budget, I believe. Given the hugely bloated salaries like that of the UNC-Chapel Hill athletic director, Bubba Cunningham, who after his 10% increase is not making over $642k, perhaps Higher Ed needs to examine their priorities?
AG Cooper conveniently leaves out that NC is 7th in the nation for state funding of education. Other states take federal funds for such expenditures and are then subject to the US Department of Education for massive reporting, rules and regulations in spending said funds.
The only one moving in the wrong direction is Roy Cooper, who appears to be a victim of Common Core math.