NC Republicans:our schools are better than Mississippi!

Great analysis by Chris Fitzsimon on not only the damage the Republican legislature has done to public schools, but the fact that they are actually proud of it:

Here’s a pretty good indication of the state of the debate about public schools in North Carolina. The Republicans and the right-wing think tanks that craft their talking points are now boasting about their figures that show North Carolina ranks 42nd in the country in per pupil spending and that the Republican budget fired 534 teachers and 1,260 teacher assistants.

Those are their education accomplishments, a budget which slashed $460 million from public schools and fired 2,000 people from classrooms across the state…

The NEA report shows that North Carolina education funding was cut $200 per student in the budget passed last summer. But according to the report the state’s ranking in per pupil spending actually increased from 47 to 42 because a handful of other states near the bottom of the rankings, like Mississippi and Texas, cut spending even more.

That might be a catchy slogan for the Republicans in their reelection efforts. “We don’t support public schools, but we don’t not support them as much as Mississippi.”

What’s also really annoying and pathetic is that most of the cuts came not from the state directly cutting teachers, but by slashing appropriations to local systems, which then of course had to get rid of teachers.  The Republicans then ludicrously claim that they didn’t really fire hardly any teachers:

The figures about teachers and teacher assistants losing their jobs are even more misleading. It might be true in actual numbers that 534 teachers and 1,260 teacher assistants were fired, but the number of positions cut is far higher.

Edwin McLenaghan with the N.C. Budget and Tax Center reports there are more 15,000 fewer full-time employees in North Carolina public schools now than three years ago, including 10,872 fewer teachers and teacher assistants combined.  [emphasis mine]

Yikes– that’s a lot of teachers!  But hey, at least I’m saved from that overly onerous 1/2% sales tax addition the Republicans refused to extend.  Every time I get a slice of pizza and soda for lunch and pay $3.97 instead of $4.00, I’m sure that’s a great trade-off for 10,000 fewer teachers.  Yeah Republicans!


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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