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From the looks of it, no one has bothered to tell the new Republican leaders of the General Assembly that it’s Teacher Appreciation Week.

We celebrate our teachers because they are the men and women responsible for preparing our future workforce – for ensuring that the people of North Carolina remain competitive, sharp, innovative and smart.

But under the House budget passed this week – a vote taken without bringing educators to the negotiating table – North Carolina’s classrooms, colleges, teachers and children will become the victims of some staggering cuts.

Too many of our school teachers are already buying classroom materials out of pocket, but the General Assembly wants to cut funding for school supplies by 42 percent.

They want to terminate tens of thousands of teacher assistants, K-12 teachers, university faculty, community college instructors, and administrators at every level.

They have taken aim at teachers who educate our gifted students, and our high-needs students – with no regard for the children they serve.

The Republican plan will cut off the potential of the next generation by treating our educators as expendable employees. It’s just plain wrong for North Carolina, and it’s especially frustrating in today’s difficult economy.

Why would they do this now when, more than ever, we need educated workers to attract good companies and good jobs? Why now, when our children are poised to be the skilled, 21st century workers that companies everywhere are searching for?

We shouldn’t have to learn this lesson the hard way. Public and private leaders have understood the essential link between education and a skilled workforce for decades.

Thanks to their vision and commitment, generations of North Carolinians have progressed from early childhood through our public schools, through our community colleges and state universities, into jobs that demand the best training, knowledge and skill.

That’s how North Carolina transformed over time from a low-wage economy centered on agriculture, to a diverse, high-tech economy with advanced agribusiness, pharmaceutical, biotech, IT and finance companies.

Now that it’s our turn to lead, what will our legacy be if our children are not a priority?

What will our children say when they grow up to face a competitive global economy lacking the skills to compete?

To me, it’s as simple as two plus two equals four: good companies will hire North Carolinians as long as North Carolina produces smart workers. But if the new Republican leadership in the General Assembly is allowed to cut too deeply into education, the economic equation collapses along with the foundation of North Carolina’s future.

If you are the parent of a child in public school, or if you are a student in one of our colleges, take some time to thank your teachers – not just this week, but throughout the year. Unfortunately, if the worst ideas of some in our legislature take hold, it could be your last chance.

But before that happens, I will keep fighting – fighting for our educators and our education system at every level. The foundation we build for our future is too important to abandon.

Comment on this Story

  • robert

    It’s not the teachers, it’s the cost of the entire system. Perdue uses almost 50% of the NC budget for education, and our educational system still ranks relatively low in the nation. Maybe the problem is too much overhead cost, not teacher cost. And there is nothing wrong with teachers/administrators having to share in insurance and pension contributions. The NC Education Lottery was supposed to bail us out, but with only about 35% of it actually going toward education, something is seriously wrong.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    It is tracking what every other lottery has done in every other state. The first few years produces a windfall for the schools, but as interest fades, the lottery has to keep increasing prizes and inventing more and more games to maintain or renew interest. Overhead costs climb, money to the schools drops.

    Meanwhile, those first few years of fat, juicy windfall prompt the state legislatures to cut funding for education because all of the money the lottery was providing.

    It’s a vicious circle (as in circling the drain) and the amount of money provided to the schools will keep dropping as time goes by….

    ….but that doesn’t stop every convenience store in Columbus County from being jam-packed the day the TANF or unemployment arrives.

  • truthseeker

    The education system in this state has been given extra money every year and we still rank low on scholastic testing. Just today a Star News article talked about Civics and how students could not even pass a test about bill of rights and other important civic questions. Money does not educate a child. Teachers do and the liberals who have infested the education system from Washington to Raleigh have ruined public education. They are more worried about whether God is mentioned in the school than educating. Teachers having to buy supplies is completely insane. If I was a teacher I would deal with what they give me and that is it. My salary is for my personal finances not to offset what the morons who control this think they should have. You could double the budget Purdue but nothing would get better until such time as politics is removed from schools. Go ahead and whine, your a one termer anyway Purdue.

  • Not Buying It

    I guess the problem with North Carolina’s economy is that our educators did such a wonderful job of enlightening us that we became “to smart” for all of the jobs that were here in this state and have gone in the last twenty years. We are now so smart that, if we can’t just “google it” to find the answer, we move on and never put forth the effort to learn.

    Budget cuts to the schools??? Oh my! Try turning off the A/C and open the windows. That seemed to work back before the eighties when we wore long pants and shoes to school. Surely in todays world of tank tops, shorts and flip flops the kids will survive it. Teachers assistants… never saw one until I arrived at college, yet somehow my teachers always made it happen and that was without a computer making it easier for them. Want to reduce maintenance costs on the buses…stop wearing out the brakes by making stops every 150 yards. Kids will easily walk a quarter of a mile to go play at their friends house, let them walk off some of those happy meals by putting a little more distance between the bus stops.

    Has North Carolina gotten it’s money’s worth for the education dollars we’ve spent over the last thirty years? Do the few “high tech” jobs we’ve gotten really make up for the hundreds of thousands of industrial jobs we’ve lost?

  • SurfCityTom

    who went into Pakistan earlier this week would not be surprised by her opinion.

    I guess she forgets the Governor is supposed to represent all of the citizens; we know she only remembers taxpayers when it’s time to raise taxes.

    Put the blame where it belongs. Look at all the funds which are spent daily on maintaining Medicaid. Look at the billions borrowed by NC from the Feds to maintain Medicaid. Look at the $143 MILLION in interest payments which the state must begin paying back to the Feds this coming fiscal year. And that is just interest. The principal payments do not begin for 5 years.

    So, look at former Governor Easley. Look at Bev. They were the driving forces in all of that mindless spending.

  • BurgawBob

    Please tell us more about what does and doesn’t surprise Navy Seals.

    Thanks in advance.

  • Justice Seeker

    Gov. Perdue is not being honest about this education situation. I agree with other people who posted about children having it so convenient this day and age. Buses need to make longer distances between stops and the teachers should not have to spend their own money for supplies. The “pink” building in Raleigh and all the extra jobs should be eliminated. The money needs to educate the choldren and not just for uneeded jobs. Teacher assistants weren’t used in my day. The teacher taught without help and that’s the way it should be today.

    Let Governor Perdue whine. I agree she’s a one termer. People are fed up with the garbage the Democrats created and now look where they are…..gone. Rand, Soles, Basnight, Boseman….all the cause of today’s situation and they aren’t around to face the music. Tony Rand should be replaced from th cushy job he has. I hope his days of living off of NC citizens is close to a close. He needs to find a real job instead of being a parasite.

  • lfry

    I would like to reply about teacher assistants in the classrooms. Some people feel that they are not vital to education, not so. Assistants are the backbone of the teacher. I agree years ago there were no teacher assistants in the classroom. Children are much different to day. Learning has taken on a new meaning. What most of you were learning in second grade kindergarten is learning now. There are a wide vast of learning abilities, personalities, assessements that teachers do all year. The T.A. can work with small groups, work one on one with a student that may have difficulty learning what is being taught. Teachers get overwhelm doing so many task until the students may not get all the learning they need. There is so much for educators to do. Please don’t think that children come to school and sit and just listen to what the teacher is saying. When you have twenty little bodies in one classroom there is much to do. There are tying shoes, wiping noses, loving them when they get a boo boo. Driving them to school, making sure they go through the lunch and breakfast line, wiping faces, drying tears, helping to form their letter, sounds, teach , math and make sure they all feel love and welcome. The school need all the small people and the big people also in order to make school a learning and safe environment.

  • The teachers are the problem, they are sorry and are always crying about this and that. They get state insurance for free and when we want to charge them about 150 dollars a month for it, they cry about it, I pay over 450 dollars a month for worse insurance and they think I feel bad for them ,LOL, and then they want to work only 20 years and live good for ever, it is stuff like this that causes our state and counties to be broke. They think we should work every day of our life and support them just because they wanted to work a job that only worked about 55% of the year,that’s right school is only 180 days and the few extra work days, and while we are on the work days, what’s with that, every time you turn around, it’s school out for a teacher’s work day, is that the only days they work? As far as the teacher’s aids, I never had them when I was in school, the teachers did their jobs, not pass it on to someone else to do. Let this bunch of cry babies work 8 hours a day, without an aid, and do it for 52 weeks a year for 47 years like we have to to retire and then see how they like it. They cry about having to buy supplies, well welcome to the real world, every tradesman in the world has to buy their tools to do and keep their job. The real reason there isn’t enough money in the school system here in Bladen County is that we keep having to look for new supers to run our system because our school board can’t pick someone to do it without outside help and taxpayer’s cost, and then they pick someone who can’t be happy with a 150K a year job but has to steal more so we can waste more money looking again and again and everytime one quits or is forced to, they use the asst. super and pay to find another, if he can do the job when their buddy gets caught with his hand in the jar, can’t he did it all the time? And while we are on the school board, if all of them are so “for the children” why don’t they do the job for free? The central office costs us more than any one school in the county. When the limit is taken off the charter school and REAL schools get to open in the state, you will see these boards, these central offices and these teachers get off their cans and work like the rest of us are expected to do to support them.
    They know it and that’s why they want the limit on charter schools, they know we will take our children and put them in a better place and they will be out of a job and have to work FOR A LIVING and not set in a room, on their butts and cry about everything.

  • Guesthere

    Seriously, thanks for the laugh.

    “Teachers are the problem” – I’m going to start saying that every time I hear someone complaining, even if it has nothing to do with budget or education. These damn teachers!!!!!!!!!!

  • Guest3658974

    You sound like these kids’ mother, not their educator. I rest my case on why the education system we have stinks.

  • SurfCityTom

    as I respond to your inane post, I wonder what it’s point was.

    What would surprise Navy Seals? For one, the Annointed One approving the mission.


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