The Sad State of Education in North Carolina

This week I am stepping into the “PC” ring. As many of you know, I spent 39 years in the public classrooms of three different states. Recently, the local news station (CBS) on the number of Charlotte-Mecklenberg school teachers who had resigned this school year. By mid-October some 169 teachers had resigned their positions. “The president of the Charlotte – Mecklenburg Association of Educators, Charles Smith, believes the higher departures are due to low wages and the state not offering more money to teachers who earn advanced degrees.”

So what does all this mean?

The NC General Assembly…

***Eliminated 9,306.5 education position this school year. 5,184.5 were teachers; 3,850 were teacher assistants; and 272 were support personnel (guidance counselors, speech pathologists, psychologists, etc.)

*** The current budget provides NO pay increases for educators. (My son has been at the same pay scale for the last four years. He and his wife, who is also a teacher, are struggling to make ends meet. He works three jobs to see to the welfare of his wife and two children.) In 2007-2008, NC was ranked 25th in teacher pay. At the moment, they are at the bottom.

*** While removing all the incentives for teachers to stay in NC, the Legislature adopted a $50 million school voucher program.

*** The State Legislature has eliminated career status for ALL teachers. The new standard requires each school district to identify the top 25% of effective teachers. Unfortunately, they did not provide the criteria upon which to base these evaluations. Teachers will no longer receive tenure. They will be placed on 1-, 2-, or 4-year contracts. The top 25% will be given the option of receiving $500 to compensate them for the loss of their due process rights.

*** Educators will receive no additional pay for a master’s degree unless their job requires it (i.e., counselors, school psychologists, etc.) Those currently paid for a master’s degree will be grandfathered in. To me, this means NC students will receive inferior educations. How can one convince a student to be a life-long learner when the teacher is penalized for loving education?

*** Schools will be graded from “A” to “F.” The score will be based 80% on standardized test scores and 20% on growth. No other variables will be considered in the grading.

*** The national model for recruiting teachers (the NC Teaching Fellows Program) is no funded.

*** Textbook funding will be cut by $77.4 million dollars.

*** Classroom supplies will be cut $45.7 million dollars.

*** Limited English Proficiency (LEP) funding will be reduced by $6 million dollars.

*** Retired educators will receive NO Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA).

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About reginajeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and contemporary novels.
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17 Responses to The Sad State of Education in North Carolina

  1. Cora Lee says:

    All those cuts, and then they wonder why their students have no skills 😦 I went through a similar experience when I taught in Florida.

    • How can a school system recruit good teachers when the funds are not there? My daughter-in-law would love to return to Ohio, but the truth of the matter is, she will have difficulty finding a teaching job because districts will not pay for her masters degree and her experience. For what a district must pay a person with experience and advanced degrees, they can hire two teachers at the base bachelors’ pay.

      • Cora Lee says:

        Exactly–then that’s what they do. The really stinky part is that most states require teachers to have some graduate work after their initial license is issued…but teachers are stuck paying for school themselves, and not getting a raise after they finish.

      • I never wanted to be a teacher, but I would loved every year because of the wonder of the young people I encountered. However, it would take a TON of money before I would return to the classroom. “Admins” are killing the spirit and the loyalty of the classroom teacher.

      • Cora Lee says:

        My theory was always that things would be better if the people making the legislative decisions had actually spent time in a classroom. 🙂

      • I agree, Cora. One year, we had to find money for the county district in which I worked, and so we went to a 4 day week. We did our 8 periods each day, and then on Monday we repeated periods 1 and 2; on Tuesday we went periods 1 – 8 and then repeated periods 3 and 4, etc., but what was go good about the situations was that the central office people had to work as subs in the classrooms. That went on for about 3 months. Afterwards, the central admins worked harder to keep good teachers in the classrooms.

  2. juliaergane says:

    Regina, I knew as far back as 1973 (when I was first in graduate school) that public education was going down hill. It was in the dreck that the so-called EdD’s were trying to convince us would be the Holy Grail. Personally, I was not impressed. I feel

  3. juliaergane says:

    I don’t know what happened there, anyway, to continue. I truly feel sorry for those teachers who are dedicated and know the subject content of what they teach in a logical way. However, there are teachers who either do not know or have students who do not learn. There are more students who are taught the myths of the Civil War than the realities. And, do not get me on my soap box about the so-called great state of Texas (may I be excused as I am quite nauseous). Many years ago (1958-1962) I did live in Elizabeth City, NC; however, I attended a parochial school, so when I returned to Connecticut in 1962 I was ahead of my peers. We should be ashamed of our educational standing in the world. Machines do not help this — real education asking the brain for real exercise does this. Thank you for your time. 😉

    • I taught school for 39 years, and many of my former students will tell you I was one “tough cookie,” but interesting enough, at last count 300 of my former students are my “friends” on Facebook, etc. Regularly, I hear from them about how what they learned in the classroom has translated to the real world, but I know that is not the truth across the board. I have worked with MANY fine teachers, who were dedicated to their jobs. Likewise, I know several who show up purely for the pay checks.
      I do not how we will survive as a nation unless the pendulum swings the other way soon.

  4. Susana Ellis says:

    Thank you for posting this. This sort of thing is happening all over, and frankly, I don’t understand why young people would choose to be teachers at all. Public education is being systematically destroyed in favor of vouchers or charter schools, the majority of which are failing much worse than the schools they replaced. In Ohio, the funds that should be going to public education are also going to billion dollar corporations. Shouldn’t the education of our children should be more important than throwing public money to these corporate hogs?

    • Having spent 20 years teaching in Westerville City Schools outside of Columbus, I follow the ins and outs of educational funding for Ohio quite closely. Both my son and my daughter-in-law are teaching in North Carolina. Occasionally I consider returning to the classroom (retired in 2010), but all the “red tape” stops me from doing so. It is a shame that my son must work 3 jobs in order to support his family of two children.

  5. We always cut our noses off to spite our faces. This is what happens when you leave education up to states and local school districts. IMO, education, including text books, and teacher pay should be nationalized, like they do it in England, and in Western Europe. Teachers should be paid on the same scale as DODDS teachers.

    • I so agree, Ella.

      Today, I received this message from a former student (now in college):
      I wanted to say “thank you” for the birthday wish last week and also wanted to say “thank you” for making an above average business communicator from a below average English student. Some of the papers I’m reviewing in my group projects are so poorly written, they’re hard to understand. Mine excel because of you. Not to mention every job description I read has “strong verbal and written communication skills” somewhere in it. Thank you!

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