Alleged education decline depends on half-truths

December 11, 2013

To the Editor

A recent article I read quoting Rep. Garland Pierce as saying “Education is on life support” brought a feeling of anger and betrayal for the half-truths from a person I respect. The cheshire-cat grin of Rep. Pierce and the outrageous sign that he was holding demonstrates the lack of respect for the office held and of his pastorship.

I am upset where parties and labor unions continuously throughout our country’s history use veterans, educators and ethnicity as a means to shore up their platforms over the welfare of those they seem to represent. The issue of low pay and professional advancement has been discussed for years, not just the 50 years as stated by Rep. Pierce, and it is his party that has been in control of our our state policies since 1877.

Reviewing the past 50 years: Gov. James E. Holshouser, Republican governor from 1973 to 1977, secured the establishment of kindergarten within the North Carolina public schools. Under Govs. Easley and Perdue, teachers took pay cuts as reported in NC Public School Salary Schedules as sourced by N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

North Carolina public schools receive state and minimum federal funding. In the USA, K-12 education is funded by three sources — federal, state, and local dollars. In North Carolina, the state funds around 60 percent, federal government about 16 percent, and local less than one quarter of the cost. Other higher paying states have various other taxing avenues for education.

Finally, for 1994 to 2012, salaries for public school teachers went up more that those of other state employees. The bottom line is this year’s state budget provides more money for education than has ever been budgeted before.

John F. Harry