To the Editor,
We North Carolinians are very fortunate people. Our Republican majority state legislature had the courage to make the necessary cuts in the state budget to close a $2.5 billion deficit. By reducing spending by more than $1 billion, North Carolina’s government will live within its means, preventing the bankruptcy that threatened our state and continues to threaten our nation and states and counties throughout the country.
However, ever since the budget debate began and the legislature overrode Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto, numerous naysayers have been critical of the spending cuts, but especially those in education. You would think that the education budget was reduced to $0!
What is actually true is that the legislature trimmed bloated areas in education in favor of increasing funding for K-12 programs. The budget fully funds classroom teachers and teaching assistants, makes important education reforms, while also protecting other core state services. The education reforms will lower class sizes by hiring 1,100 additional teachers, pay teachers based on merit, and ensure students can read.
A bill to eliminate the charter school cap was signed into law. North Carolina parents will soon have more choice and control over their children’s education. Presently there are only 99 public charter schools in North Carolina — not enough to meet the needs of about 20,000 students on a waiting list. Finally, North Carolina families will start getting the public education choices they deserve.
Money from the federal government, states and counties has poured into education for years. What do we have to show for it? A high level of school dropouts, middle and even high school children who cannot read, students who must take remedial courses in college before they are able to handle college level material, disgraceful disciplinary behavior in classrooms including teachers molesting students, and subject matter that includes time spent educating students on condom use.
I read these statistics from a writer who lamented that “in 1954 the U.S was No. 1 in the world in elementary school enrollment, math and science and college graduates. Today we are 19th in science, 24th in math, 79th in elementary school enrollment and 12th in the world in the number of college graduates.” That record tells me that just throwing more money at education does not work!
Thank you, North Carolina General Assembly, not only for reforming education but for reducing spending, cutting taxes for job-creating private small business and for taxpayers, reforming costly medical malpractice laws and for finding a reasonable solution to our state’s financial woes. Your efforts have provided us with more school choice, the potential for job creation, lower medical costs and the opportunity to keep our money in our pockets.