Letters to the Editor

John Ketchum: No education state

Regarding the Dec. 16 editorial “Time to pay North Carolina’s teachers the market rate” reprinted from the Charlotte Observer: I’ve been a proud resident of N.C. for 30 years. I’ve helped to promote tourism and economic development on the state level over a number of those years. We positioned our state during and after the years of Gov. Jim Hunt as the “education state.”

For many years, it was a credible claim. However, if we are interested in attracting companies and families to our state, then primary education must be a key attribute of that attraction – 47th in the nation in teacher pay and even with a surplus of $400 million, we couldn’t manage a 2 percent pay increase for out teachers. How’s that for economic development leadership?

There have been public complaints about the new N.C. Commerce logo. Why are we spending time analyzing that and the money spent on it? We know where that investment should have gone. It’s simply an advertising logo; it’s not about our children’s education. In the big picture, it’s meaningless.

Our state motto is an honorable one: “To be rather than to seem.” Maybe it’s time we spent more time reflecting on the meaning of that and what we need to do to support it.

John Ketchum