Regarding your Oct. 1 Under the Dome blog story “ NC ranks worst for teachers, survey says”:
The study from the obscure wallethub.com cites data from the NEA over the past 10 years. The numbers used from the data sets lag by at least one year, meaning the survey looks at data from years 2003 to 2013. In these 10 years, the data quantify three years of Republican leadership while seven years of Democrat control are represented. This article gives the impression that all of the dismal results in education happened under Republican control.
In addition, it is important to note that very few states spend more “state tax dollars” on education than North Carolina. The National Center for Education Statistics ranks North Carolina in the top 10 states for state appropriations to education. Many states require local governments to fund large portions of the overall education budget. In North Carolina, local governments are required only to build the school buildings. Other than that, local spending on education is optional.
Education is the legislature’s top priority. That is why nearly 60 percent of the state budget goes directly to education. Perhaps most important, this study doesn’t take into account any of the $282 million in additional funds for teacher salaries allocated during the recent 2014 session. This survey highlights the teacher furloughs and pay freezes instituted five years ago, but this was done by our Democratic counterparts long before Republicans took control of the legislature.
Missing from this survey was the pay raise for all teachers passed by the General Assembly this summer. Education is – and will continue to be – the Republicans’ top priority for North Carolina. We made a sizable down payment on teacher salaries this year and will continue to fund additional pay raises in the years to come. Our commitment to education is solid, but it is hard for the public to flush out the facts when factually flawed articles and misleading headlines disguise the truth.
State Rep. Edgar V. Starnes, Hickory
The writer, a Republican, is the House majority leader and represents N.C. District 87. The length limit was waived for a fuller response.