First, let me say THANK YOU to all the public education employees who continue to devote their time, energy, and expertise to our children, our most treasured resource. As a retired educator, I understand the importance of public schools. It was disappointing to watch our NC legislature decreaseresources while increasing expected outcomes over the years.

Even with the proposed salary increases in North Carolina’s 2022 Appropriations Act, the state is projected to fall from 38th place last year to 40th this school year. NC is 44th in the nation when it comes to per-pupil K-12 spending.

In the 1994 Leandro v. NC case, the court decided that NC was not meeting the needs of its students. In 1997 and 2004, the NC Supreme Court ruled that North Carolina has a constitutional obligation to ensure all children have access to a sound basic education that should include competent and well-qualifiedteachers and principals, as well as sufficient funding across districts. In 2018, The Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Planwas ordered by the court as a resolution for Leandro v. NC to ensure every child has access to a sound basic education by 2028. Our Republican legislature is still fighting to overturn a November 2021 court decision that would fund the first two years of that plan.

NC has provided inadequate public education funding, but the dollars allocated to NC’s private school voucher program (Opportunity Scholarships) got a massive boost. These budgetincreases are greater than current demand for the program. At the end of each year, dollars have been left unspent. Instead of going into the general fund for use in public schools, the dollarswere allowed to carry over to the next year, increasing each subsequent year’s voucher budget.

Republican legislators are funneling more dollars to private schools through voucher programs, but they are failing to require similar levels of transparency about student achievement and school finances. NC should hold all schools receiving Opportunity Scholarship funds to the same accountability standards as public schools. Why aren’t statistics about teacher credentials, student test performance, and finances posted, as they are for traditional public schools and charter schools?

Some people want to complain about what teachers are doing or teaching or expecting.  Parents want to be involved.  GREAT!! Volunteer. Do homework with your children so you know what they are learning.  Check their agenda books daily.  Keep up with their assignments and grades (they’re online).  Read the same books they read, both so you know what they are reading, and so you can discuss the content.  Compare it with your family’s understanding of the world.  Educators are experts who need your support, not your uninformed opinions.  

The problem in our NC schools is not our educators, but thelimited resources directed toward public education.  NC Housecandidate Al Platt recognizes the importance of public education. NC Senate candidate Karen McCracken has been a teacher. I’m voting Blue in November for legislators who care about strong public schools in North Carolina!!!

Kristin Kane