'North Carolina is #10 in funding public education? How in the world can that be? The newspapers, news media and Moral Monday protesters have been saying North Carolina is dead-last and going down faster than a lead balloon!'It makes you have to wonder as Plankton does in this clip from 'The Algae's Always Greener' in which he gets his dream of running the Krusty Krab:
'Is there a gas leak in here?' (at minute 6:55 of following clip)
Look. No one in their right mind will argue that public school teachers in North Carolina are OVER-paid. Because they are not. Great public school teachers are essential to not only the education of our fellow citizens so they can lead productive happy lives but also to the proper functioning of our economy and government.
There is a great bumper sticker that gets to this point:
Thomas Jefferson spoke early and often about how essential is is for a free democratic republic such as ours to have a widely-educated and properly trained citizenry.
Why? Because a better educated citizenry understands complex issues better and can therefore make better informed choices at the ballot box. They also can work in complicated industries so that jobs stay here in America and don't emigrate to India and China where well-educated and trained people are just dying to get as much business as they possibly can from Americans.
So once we can get everyone to agree to the point that North Carolina public teachers need to be paid more, we can focus on how to actually get there and do it.
Check out this report. Page 42 to be exact. This is the official National Education Association (NEA) annual report for the estimates and rankings for every state in the union in terms of what they spend on public education in their state.
Never see or heard of this report? Of course not! It doesn't play into the commonly accepted narrative chosen by the news media and advocates that the Republicans in the North Carolina state legislature are Neanderthalic ogres who hate women and children, old people, ethnic minorities and the movie 'Bambi'.
But there it is on page 41, clear as day: North Carolina is #10 in terms of the percentage of funding at 57.9% that comes from the state government for public education.
In fact, North Carolina is the 2nd largest 'big state', second only to Michigan, in terms of how much funding comes from the state legislature each year. 8 other states receive a higher percentage of funding from their state capitols but they are all relatively small states such as Delaware, Hawaii and Vermont.
There are many congressional districts in America that have more people living in them than in the entire state of Vermont (population-626,000). Vermont's state budget (sans any federal share of spending) is darn near close to being just twice that of the annual budget of the City of Charlotte North Carolina by comparison.
So why is North Carolina so near the bottom if the state ranks #10 in terms of the percentage of total spending on public education that comes from the state capitol?
Check the other charts on page 41 near the one cited above. North Carolina ranks #44 in terms of the percentage of funding (28.5%) that comes from local governments. As in the county in which you reside: Mecklenburg; Buncombe or Gates County, North Carolina.
Illinois has the highest percentage of funding for public education coming from local governments at 65.6%. Vermont comes in at a measly 5.3%, which stands to reason since they have the highest percentage coming from the state legislature in Montpelier.
So, you see, it is not quite as simple as it seems on the face of it, is it? Has the local media or the protesters taken the time to point out this fine point of state budgeting for you on the evening news?
We haven't see it yet. Forgive us if we missed it.
Which brings up the following points: 'Why AREN'T the local governments in North Carolina doing more to support funding of public education of the children who live in their jurisdiction?'
That is the question you need to be bringing to the serious attention of your local county commissioners and school boards. Check and see how much money is now being spent on new water parks or museums or other public investments in your county. And ask yourself and your elected representatives this single question:
'Is all of that local government spending more important than making sure our children have great teachers in the public schools in (name your hometown/county)?
Sure, there are some counties that are more prosperous (Mecklenburg/Wake) than others (Hyde/Watauga). That is where the state funding typically comes in to ameliorate the disparities in income and property taxes across the entire state. We all have a stake in whether the children of Sampson County receive a quality education, not just in our home county or districts.
But generally, there are 43 other states where local governments contribute a higher percentage of funding for public education than North Carolina. Maybe local governments should be expected to match the 53% share of spending as local governments in the state of Virginia?
North Carolina is the 10th largest state today. There is not a ranking you can think of where North Carolina should be below #10. In fact, we think North Carolina should be #1 in every category of education, health, business climate since it is such a great place to live in the first place.
Normalizing local government contributions to public education funding for teachers' pay would be one monumental step forward towards achieving those rankings.