Report Outlines Alarming Downward Trends in Public Education Funding in North Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C., March 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NCAE has released its Fund Schools First report today, a detailed look at declining investment in public education in North Carolina. To read the entire report, visit www.ncae.org.
"This report highlights the need for elected leaders to look at their priorities," said NCAE President Sheri Strickland. "North Carolina is rapidly losing ground on the strides made over the past two decades. Our state was headed in the right direction with an emphasis on strengthening our commitment to schools, students and educators. But we risk falling behind in key areas that we know help children succeed in school and attract the best and brightest into teaching. Public education has not only sustained severe job losses, but still remains on the chopping block for more cuts. Enough is enough. Our schools can't take any more cuts."
Key findings in this report are disturbing and include:
North Carolina now ranks 46th in the nation for per-pupil expenditure.
North Carolina's average teacher salary ranking has plummeted from 20th in the nation in 2001-02 to 45th in the nation -- our lowest ranking in 64 years. At no other time in the recorded history of the rankings data has North Carolina held this low of a rankings position.
K-12 public school funding continues on a persistent downward spiral. No other sectors of public education – including community colleges and universities -- are headed as rapidly downward as a portion of the state budget. The most significant drop in funding has been for K-12 public schools.
In two years, more than 15,000 jobs have been lost in North Carolina in K-12 education.
Class sizes are dangerously on the rise – There are fewer limits on number of students in each class and no commitment to keep class sizes at manageable levels. Job losses in education – including reduction in teacher assistants, custodians and bus drivers -- and cost-cutting measures are pushing the limits of safety, discipline and the health and well-being of students and teachers.
No longer a leader in the Southeast, North Carolina is now near the bottom in school funding, beginning teacher pay and average teacher salaries in our 12-state region – for the first time in a generation.
An independent source labels North Carolina as a failure when it comes to investment in education.
The lowest paid and most vulnerable employees in K-12 -- bus drivers, custodians, teacher assistants -- continue to take the biggest hit in our public school budgets. Their necessary role in the success of public schools is being denied.
North Carolina's "Funding Adequacy Gap" – the difference between what funding schools need and the actual amount of funding – is 30 percent.
NCAE is the state's largest education association, representing nearly 60,000 active, retired and student members.
SOURCE North Carolina Association of Educators