Representatives Graig Meyer (D-50) and Linda Cooper-Suggs (HD-24) along with candidates Ricky Hurtado (HD-63) and Aimy Steele (HD-82) spoke about their professional education experiences and what must be done for North Carolina’s schools.
Representative Graig Meyer (D-50):
“North Carolina was once known nationwide for its commitment to education, from pre-K to our top-notch university system. Since Republican politicians de-funded our schools in 2011, we have seen that commitment slip away. This is not hypothetical, our students are forced to live with the consequences of the Republican decisions to de-prioritize our public education and the subsequent policy choices every day. Especially now as we face the confusion of reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Aimy Steele, Candidate for House District 82:
“Students sitting shoulder to shoulder in overcrowded classrooms puts our students at risk for spreading the virus now, but it has put an unnecessary huge strain on our educators for years. Crumbling buildings and disintegrating textbooks means it’s harder to implement necessary physical distance for students but it has made it that much more difficult for our kids to learn for nearly a generation. A full time nurse in every school this year could mean catching an outbreak early, but for years it could mean the only crucial health care for students with limited resources.”
Representative Linda Cooper-Suggs (D-24):
“This past session, Republicans offered Teachers a bonus of $350 dollars before taxes. That’s less than a dollar a day for our teachers who created entirely new lesson plans, learned new skills and worked night and day to teach our children in the midst of a global pandemic. That is completely unacceptable.”
“The untenable pay has forced some teachers to take administrative positions, to move out of state or seek other careers entirely in order to make ends meet leaving North Carolina with a detrimental teacher shortage… Republican lawmakers have turned their backs on public education for years with no mind to our teachers or students.“
Ricky Hurtado, Candidate for House District 63:
“With that experience I can tell you: right now, our education system does not live out to the duty enshrined in our constitution. Our students in North Carolina are not getting the sound and basic education they deserve.
Antiquated policies give wealthy school districts a leg up over districts with less resources. We must pass legislation that expands the state’s ability to provide supplemental funding for low-wealth school districts and eliminates the antiquated school A-F grading system, which unfairly downgraded underprivileged schools, so we can properly understand the assistance schools need.”