Education Is More Than Just a Campaign Issue
Education is more than just a campaign issue. It is a vital part of the livelihood and success of each North Carolina resident. And yet, it has gone undervalued by our state representatives for too long. It’s time for a change. I have met with various teachers and principals to get their thoughts on the main issues that NC educators face today. While they come from different perspectives, their concerns often mirror one another… Teachers. Undoubtedly the biggest issue facing North Carolina’s education system today is the recruitment and retention of teachers. Class size limits in high schools have been lowered significantly, but with notoriously low salaries for North Carolina teachers, there aren’t enough good teachers to accommodate all of the extra classes. More and more teachers are looking elsewhere for work, whether it be moving into administration roles or relocating to South Carolina, where they can make substantially more money. Once those teachers move on, the cost of replacing them is astronomically high. No wonder teachers are worried about what schools will look like in 5 to 10 years. Without teachers, we don’t have education. Period. Funding. Not only are they concerned about staff pay and the amount of available teaching positions, but the lack of money in our schools correlates with a lack of opportunity for our students. Both the teachers and principals pointed out that education is not funded equitably around the state. Too much of the state’s education budget is being spent on areas that have no direct impact on our public-school students. Facilities. Our older schools are suffering. Local school boards and county taxes are being used to build brand-new schools all over the county with little money being allocated for necessary renovations in older schools. While building is necessary to keep up with North Carolina’s rapidly growing population, we need to make the betterment of ALL schools a priority. When it comes to newly built schools, however, some teachers point out that the construction size doesn’t always match the actual classroom size. This means that our schools are still facing major issues with overcrowding. The solution? It’s very simple actually…include teachers in the decision-making process. No one knows what would benefit our school system better than those who work inside of it each and every day. This blog only scratches the surface of their concerns. It is imperative that we value opinions of our educators above all, not only because it’s what they want but because it’s what we, as a state, need. That is why one of the things I will do as the NC House 83rd District’s Representative, is have regular round table meetings with current teachers so I can get their input and keep my finger on the pulse of their needs and recommendations. We NEED their voices to be heard in Raleigh. So, I’m listening, I’m learning, and I’m intent on carrying those voices with me to the NC House of Representatives. Join me in my fight for education by voting Jay White on March 3, 2020. Together, we can stand with our educators to ensure they always have a voice.