Education Matters


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“The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” - Malcolm Forbes


U.S. Average District Public School Per-Pupil Expenditure: $12,020[1]

North Carolina Public Education National Rankings[2]

42nd  Teacher pay                                                                                     

47th    Funding per pupil

50th   Overall ranking                                                                                

48th   Change in teacher salaries between 2003-04 & 2013-14[3]       

Key North Carolina Public Education Issues

Teacher Pay, Turnover, and Teacher Assistants

  • In the decade from 2001-2 to 2011-12, North Carolina teachers witnessed a 15% average salary decline. NC pays its teachers $10,000 less than the national average.[1]
  • In 2014-2015, largely due to loss of salary and benefits, 14,255 teachers opted to leave their current positions, a five-year high in NC teacher turnover.[2]
  • High turnover results in fewer mentors for starting teachers and more students in classrooms with less-experienced educators.
  • Fewer teacher assistants translates to less individualized attention for students.

Public School Funding

  • Inflation adjusted per-pupil spending for NC public schools is well below 2008 levels. [3]
  • Public schools are left with more students, fewer experienced teachers, and fewer teacher assistants.
  • Moving funds from public to private/parochial/charter schools wastes resources on unproven, often experimental private schools and leaves public schools without the resources to make them successful.
  • When state legislators want to make cuts, there are two big targets:  education (about one-third of budget) and health and human services (more than one-third of budget).
  • In 2013, Education Week labeled the NC legislature, “The Most Backward Legislature in America.”[4]

Charter Schools and Vouchers

  • Unlike NC public schools, private/charter schools are not accountable to most standards.
  • Vouchers and state support for charter schools drain resources from already underfunded public schools, which have 150,000 more students than ten years ago.[5]
  • Student achievement does not improve in charter schools.  In states where charter school performance is tracked, public school students outperform voucher students.[6]
  • The state’s voucher program violates the North Carolina Constitution. It states, “The General Assembly shall provide by taxation and otherwise for a general and uniform system of free public schools … wherein equal opportunities shall be provided for all students.” Vouchers to private/parochial/charter/for-profit schools also violates Article V, Section 2(1), which requires that "the power of taxation shall be exercised … for public purposes only."

What Can You Do?  

VOTE to support public education.
















Voting Matters


Democratic Women of Catawba County Issue Brief                           

Winter/Spring 2016

 “When voters stay home, special interests win.” - Elizabeth MacNamara

Catawba County Voting Snapshot

Elections Have Consequences

In the 2010 election, Republicans took control of the NC General Assembly. Two years later, Republican Pat McCrory became governor. In 2014, Republicans retained control of the state government. Here are some consequences:

  • Republicans dramatically reduced funding for public education. North Carolina used to be known for its commitment to education. The state now ranks 42nd in the nation for teacher pay, 47th for funding per pupil, and holds an overall national ranking of 50th[2].
  • North Carolina, under Republican leadership, twice refused Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. A December 2014 study[3] shows expanding Medicaid in North Carolina:
    • Would extend health care coverage to 500,000 more people and save lives
    • Create 43,000 jobs
    • Attract $21 billion in federal funding over five years

Further, Medicaid expansion would help rural communities by supplying federal funds to support struggling hospitals.

  • Republicans abolished the Earned Income Tax Credit, which provides crucial support to working mothers and families, and ended long-term unemployment benefits.
  • In 2015, lawmakers further restricted women’s reproductive health and freedom, cut funding for Planned Parenthood and limited sex education and pregnancy prevention.

Key North Carolina Voting Issues


Read more

2016 Election Offices on Ballot

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