Robert Luebke’s Aug. 20 Point of View “This is a Republican war on education?” extolling what Republicans have done for public education was a textbook example of how to lie with statistics.
While his claim that the Republican legislature has increased education funding $1.1 billion since 2011 is mostly true (the figure is $0.94 billion, according to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction), 2011 saw the lowest expenditures on public education in several years. According to the NCDPI, in 2008-09 $8.19 billion was allocated for public education, the highest figure in several years, to be fair. In 2014-15, the figure was $8.09 billion. Adjusted for inflation, $8.19 billion in 2008-09 would be $9.05 billion in 2015. That’s a decrease of $.96 billion, or 10.6 percent.
During the same period, the student population in NC increased by 43,700, or 2.9 percent. Just to keep per capita spending equal to 2008-09, the figure would be $9.31 billion, so the 2015 figure Luebke uses is actually a $1.22 billion decrease in K-12 education spending from 2008-09, adjusted for inflation.
Statistics can be easily manipulated to make a point. What can’t be manipulated is that teachers in North Carolina are leaving the profession. That would not be the case if our Republican legislature had really made North Carolina a great place for teachers.
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