With public support in their corner and some schools struggling to keep a well-qualified teacher in every classroom, the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) is launching a six-figure digital ad buy calling on state lawmakers to prioritize students and support better funding for public schools in the new 2021-23 state budget.
The ads will run in targeted legislative districts across the state and highlight a decade of underinvestment in public education, as state funding for public schools has not kept pace with enrollment and inflation. The impact of this funding neglect has led to larger class sizes, schools struggling to keep qualified teachers in every classroom, and fewer resources to meet student needs.
Consider some hard facts:
- North Carolina is spending 25% less per student than the national average.
- Adjusted for inflation, North Carolina is spending 56% less on classroom supplies and materials per student than in 2009.
- North Carolina is funding 7700 fewer teaching assistants than the state did in 2009.
- North Carolina’s average teacher pay is $10,000 below the national average.
- Examples abound of teachers driving for Uber and moonlighting second jobs in restaurants and retail stores during the school year to make ends meet for their families.
These grim numbers contrast with the reality of state lawmakers now anticipating an added $6.5 BILLION in unexpected state revenue over the next two years.
“State lawmakers absolutely have the revenue to repair our public schools which they have neglected for well over a decade,” said NCAE president Tamika Walker Kelly. “Lawmakers have an opportunity to restore the funding and resources that our students deserve, that the public clearly wants and expects, and that our schools need to recruit and retain well-qualified educators in every classroom.”
The ads specifically call out the need to increase educator pay, which has strong support from the public. A recent poll released by NCAE showed a significant bipartisan majority of North Carolinians - 69 percent - believe the state does not invest enough in public schools, including 62 percent of Republicans who voiced strong support for additional funding for public schools. 70 percent say North Carolina teachers are not paid enough. An overwhelming 77 percent of parents said North Carolina should spend more on education.
In addition to better pay for educators, NCAE is also seeking additional funding for school nurses, counselors, social workers, and psychologists and increased investments for school building improvements.
The ads seen here and below are running now through the month of July. They target voters in the home districts of these North Carolina state lawmakers:
NCAE is the state’s largest education advocacy organization for public school employees and represents active, retired, and student members.