On education, here’s what I’m reading…

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Spending per pupilImage caption: 2015-2016 Total Current Spending Per Student data chart is courtesy of the Public School Forum of NC’s 2018 Local School Finance Study.

The issues that I am focusing on (education, healthcare and workforce development) are multifaceted and complex. I want to learn as much as I can.  As I’ve been thinking about ways that policy and legislation impact the public K-12 education system, I have three top priorities that I support and that I want to partner with educators, community leaders, legislators and families to address:

  1. Ensure that all NC students have a quality educational experience.
  2. Increase teacher pay to the national average.
  3. Reinstate and enhance incentives to keep valuable teachers in NC.

In many of the articles and reports on education, I am observing a common theme: NC does not retain teachers because we don’t pay enough money or provide sufficient benefits. As a result, we negatively impact our schools, children and learning outcomes due to an increasing number of unfilled teaching positions.

One critical issue in NC is that we have a serious challenge in school resources based on where students live in the state.

The chart above is from the 2018 Local School Finance study as reported by the Public School Forum of NC. The two counties that represent District 29 (Davidson and Montgomery counties) fall short of the 2015-16 state average spending per student by $239 and $315, respectively. I met someone from Hoke county last week who explained that her entire county only had one high school. I had never even considered that to be a possibility. Curious, I looked up her county related to spending per student: $560.

Can you imagine the difference in an educational experience living in this county from others, particularly the wealthier counties? What is being done from the policy-making level and in legislation to address this? Counties, especially those that have been poorer for a variety of reasons including being in rural areas, heavily impacted by natural disasters and/or that have been historically segregated, cannot be held responsible for these disparities alone.

No student should have a “less than” education because of where he or she lives.

My mission is to keep learning and shining a light on this issues and working with others to ensure educational equity in our state.

 

On education, here’s some of what I’m currently reading:

From Public School Forum of NC (www.ncforum.org):

2018 Local School Finance Study

Top Ten Education Issues of 2018

From The North Carolina Justice Center (ncjustice.org)

*The Unraveling–Poorly Crafted Education Policies Are Failing North Carolina’s Children

*Stymied by Segregation—How Integration Can Transform North Carolina Schools  and the Lives of Its Students

*by Kris Nordstrom

Do you have thoughts or suggestions? Please share in the comments section.

 

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