Raleigh – As kids head back to school, teachers across the state are dipping into their own pockets for classroom supplies after the NC GOP cut public education funding, poached money for public education to pay for far-right vouchers, and again left teachers to fend for themselves.
Sarah Spaeth, a first-grade teacher, for instance, spends “maybe $200, $300” on supplies. “I think a lot of the time, I spend more time worrying about supplies than planning instruction,” she told the Herald Sun.
For Lisa Goodwin, the North Carolina Teacher of the Year for 2017, that’s because the state legislature continues to let teachers down. “I’m just urging the legislators to hear my cry from teachers across the state. We need help so we can help our children,” she told the AP.
Governor Cooper planned to help offset these costs but was stonewalled by Republicans who found it more important to spend money on pork, not on teachers.
Here’s how General Assembly Republicans let teachers like Sarah and Lisa down:
“We don’t have the professional development because there’s no money for professional development. I’m just urging the legislators to hear my cry from teachers across the state. We need help so we can help our children. We want the best for our kids, but we need help with that.” – Lisa Godwin, Dixon Elementary School kindergarten teacher & 2017 NC Teacher of the Year
Greensboro News & Record: Public schools see more erosion of state
“Instead of investing in our classrooms, the General Assembly leadership has been focusing on bolstering corporate boardrooms and millionaires through a series of tax cuts.” – Mark Jewell, former Guilford County teacher and president of the N.C. Association of Educators
“It’s just another new school year and another round of disinvestment in our state’s public schools that are struggling with drastically lower budgets for supplies, textbooks, teacher assistants, facilities and much more.” – Keith Poston, president of the Public School Forum of North Carolina
“The reason that we’re [reassigning students to meet small class size rules] is the budget passed by the legislature removes all of the flexibility that we had in elementary school to do it differently” – school board member Bill Fletcher
Daily Reflector: Event doles out free supplies, advice to teachers
“We’ve had cuts considerably in the school budget from the Legislature over the last several years … We are not seeing an increase, particularly in materials, and, like always, teachers have to buy out of their pockets. Beginning teachers’ salaries are about $35,000. They are trying to pay the rent (and) put food on the table.” – Linda Marsal, president, Beta Alpha chapter of DKG
Asheville Citizen-Times: Who made the grade? This week’s editorial report card
“F to the N.C. General Assembly for refusing to include in its budget a $150 per teacher stipend for school supplies that teachers now use their own money to buy for their students. Gov. Roy Cooper has launched a drive to raise the money privately.” – Editorial Board
“Ideally, the state would pay for adequate supplies for all of our students, but our legislature has gotten into the habit of cutting school budgets even while building a budget surplus. Until it changes, we appreciate those who step up to help.” – Editorial Board
News & Observer: More money needed to meet class size goals
“But the problem is chronic under Republican leadership: Thanks to excessive tax cuts to benefit business and the wealthy, their budget for public education is not flexible and is further complicated by the tens of millions of dollars going to parents to help them pay for private schools under the Republican voucher plan. That program drains money from public schools and is driven solely by right-wing ideology and the GOP’s disregard for conventional public schools, which some of them see as a liberal entitlement.” – Editorial Board
“There is NOTHING in either [N.C. State] report that shows the program is achieving any of its goals. Nor do they provide ANY EVIDENCE that the voucher students are better or worse off, learning any better, more or less, than at their previous public schools … North Carolina taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent. The legislature should require appropriate accountability and transparency from the schools.” – Editorial Board
“Legislative leaders need to do more than talk about good business practices, they need to apply them. They need to do better in the next budget.” – Editorial Board