As the N.C. General Assembly closes the 2013 session, I am left stunned by the glaring lack of support for public education.
As the link between education and prosperity has strengthened, other states have made public K-12 and higher education a priority to increase competitiveness. Other industrialized countries have made remarkable strides in increasing educational performance. In North Carolina, we are headed in the opposite direction.
We are knowingly under-investing in our pre-K-12, community college and university students; in our teachers; and in innovative new approaches to learning. This budget is an embarrassment in its lack of investment in the skills and competitiveness of its people. This is a grievous mistake.
Let the economists debate whether lowering tax rates will attract business. What I do know is that the state’s poor education funding will deter knowledge-based companies from choosing North Carolina. The quality of the public schools is always a key consideration when companies consider relocation. They want quality K-12 schools for employees’ children and quality community colleges and universities for workforce and training needs.
We need aggressive action to improve education across our state. What we have is worse than inaction: It is harmful action. The only winners will be places that are investing in education and using the playbook we once embraced.