In an Op-Ed in Cardinal & Pine yesterday, Representatives Cynthia Ball (HD-39), Rachel Hunt (HD-103) and Ray Russell (HD-93), advocated for the adoption of House Bills HB 1129 and HB 1130, which make up the Democratic plan to Ensure and Invest in a Sound and Basic Education for all of North Carolina’s Children.
“When state spending falters, local taxpayers are forced to step up or our schools suffer even more,” the trio wrote. “Wealthy counties have raised property taxes to make up some of the shortfall, but lower-wealth counties cannot afford to do the same. The result is a widening achievement gap and a generation of students falling even farther behind because of where they live.”
The bills were included as part of a larger mission by state Democrats to respond appropriately and efficiently to the Leandro Action Plan released earlier this year, which outlines seven main areas of concern for North Carolina’s public schools.
- According to the recent court commissioned third-party report on the state of public education in NC, hundreds of thousands of children are being denied their constitutional right, and students falling behind are disproportionately African-American, Hispanic, and Native American. In the last decade of sorely inadequate state budgets, it’s gotten even more serious.
- These bills adopt common-sense, proven approaches to make sure each and every child — regardless of their race, ethnicity, or neighborhood — can benefit from great learning environments, and our communities will benefit from the talents and skills they develop.
- House Bill 1129 would reform many of our antiquated education policies, including the ways we evaluate school success. This bill calls for reforms to underperforming schools, allows teacher salary increases based on experience and performance, increases the racial and ethnic diversity of teachers, and rebuilds the state’s capacity to provide turnaround assistance in chronically low-performing schools by providing funding and funding flexibility.
- House Bill 1130 would make the new investments North Carolina needs to remain competitive and put our students on the path to success.
- This isn’t just about injecting our schools with more money – it’s about making investments to eliminate disparities – especially racial disparities — that have plagued our public education system for decades.
- The events of the last few months have further laid bare the gaps in our educational system. The ugly truth is that while all of our public schools have suffered from many of the policy and funding decisions made in this decade, our black and brown students and our most vulnerable communities are the ones that have been hit hardest by these draconian budget cuts.
Read the full op-ed HERE.