Target: North Carolina State Legislators
Goal: Condemn new budget’s drastic cuts in education
The state legislature of North Carolina has come under intense criticism for its recently-passed education budget bill. First, the bill drastically reduces funding for primary and secondary education, as well as higher education; University of North Carolina tuition will skyrocket by over 12 percent. A new school voucher system will be created under the title “Opportunity Scholarships,” with $10 million set aside for vouchers that students’ parents can use at private schools and an emphasis on those below the federal poverty level. As elsewhere, these types of school vouchers only serve to undermine public education by sending mostly poor students to inferior private schools. In addition, many publicly-funded and privately-owned charter schools will be created and funded—charter schools where, according to North Carolina law, teachers will not need to be properly credentialed or even undergo a criminal background check.
In addition to undermining public schools and channeling millions of taxpayer dollars to private hands, the bill will drastically affect teachers. Under the new budget, career status (usually known as “tenure”) will cease to exist, with all teachers becoming temporary employees whose contracts are subject to arbitrary performance measures. Instead of career status, teachers will compete for so-called “merit pay,” which has a proven track record of failure to secure results. North Carolina teachers, who have seen only a 1 percent pay raise in the past six years—not even enough to keep up with the cost of living—will have no raises for at least the next two years, and supplemental pay for teachers with Master’s degrees will be eliminated. To make matters worse, the cap on class sizes will be removed, so teachers paid less (relative to cost of living) and with no job security will have larger classrooms to teach in.
All of this should come as no surprise to shrewd political observers. There is a war taking place on education in this country, with powerful moneyed interests trying to privatize education for profit by crushing the teachers’ unions, shifting education to publicly-funded private charter schools, and criminally underfunding the public schools that remain. This North Carolinian education budget is merely the latest skirmish. Please sign the petition below to take a stand in this war, and protect the public education system in the United States.
Dear members of the North Carolina State Legislature:
Your recently passed education budget bill is a veritable crime against the schoolchildren and university students in your state. Because of your decision, teachers will be paid less and have no job security while teaching in more crowded classrooms; public schools will be undermined in favor of charter schools and school vouchers, whose purpose is not to enhance students’ education but to transfer taxpayer money to private sources. As for University of North Carolina students, tuition will continue to skyrocket, making a decent education all the more unaffordable for working-class and middle-class students in your state.
Education is one of the most crucial and valuable services government can provide, and your actions constitute a brutal attack on public education in your state. I decry your drastic education cuts and your decision to put profit above the future of North Carolina schoolchildren and university students.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Twix via Flickr