If you have been following the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, you have recently learned that 85 individuals control more wealth than the less wealthy half of the world’s population… that’s 3.5 billion people. It just underscores the extreme differences in wealth in our world. With that on my mind, I couldn’t help but think of North Carolina’s hardworking teachers who are now ranked 46th in pay in the country. I’m sure you are aware of the decision by our state legislature to give a bonus of $5,000 over four years to 25 percent of the teachers in each school district. This 25 percent are to be chosen, somehow, by the principals and superintendents, leaving the other 75 percent to wonder why they were not included. Oh, and of course, the teachers are also giving up their recourse to due process, which opens the door to political based control.
Public education is the foundation of our economic strength as a state. According to the North Carolina Constitution, it is the responsibility of the state legislature to guarantee an adequate public education to all our students. Yet it seems the current administration has a warped idea of how to insure that. Cutting funding to education has never enhanced it. Keeping a lid on teacher pay is a guarantee that many teachers will leave for greener pastures in neighboring states, or find a more lucrative profession… and it will negatively impact our state now and in the future.
Perhaps Governor McCrory and our state legislature will consider the benefits of education when they set the new budget. Instead of punishing our educators, I would ask them to make a goal of bringing teacher pay up to the nation’s median… 25th is so much better than 46th and falling.
Nancy Scott — Franklin, N.C.