Underfunded, short on teachers: NC traditional calendar schools getting ready for new school year
Around 1.5 million students will be back in class across North Carolina in just a few weeks, with many districts short on teachers and nearly every district underfunded thanks to the incompetence of the Republican-controlled General Assembly.
The state has 94,000 teachers, but it’s unclear just how many will actually come back. In addition to teacher shortages, districts could see a repeat of last school year’s bus driver shortages, as there are thousands of other staff positions unfilled throughout the state.
Here are some fast facts about the teaching and school funding situation in North Carolina:
- North Carolina doesn’t pay teachers well (34th in the nation) and there are few, if any, other incentives for young people to join the profession or for experienced teachers to stay here.
- According to a survey earlier this year, more than 107,000 North Carolina school faculty and staff members said they planned to quit before school starts back up later this month. Respondents who said they planned to quit cited low pay, too much stress and unmotivated students as their reasons for leaving.
- The politicization of education by North Carolina Republicans focused on things like critical race theory is also playing a role in the teacher shortage. Teachers don’t want to teach when they’re being used as pawns in a political chess game.
- The Leandro school funding plan will be heard by the state Supreme Court during the week of Aug. 29. More than 140 organizations in the state recently filed a brief asking the court to disburse $785 million to state public schools, as required by a previous ruling.
After the announcement of a $6.5 billion budget surplus, North Carolina has more than enough money to fund the first two years of the Leandro plan (around $1.7 billion), but instead, Republicans are hoarding money rather than using it to provide the court-ordered funds that will give students with good education and teachers with fair pay.
The reality of the situation is that everyone knows what this state’s educational issues are, but the NC GOP has no desire or willingness to do what needs to be done to fix them – spend money that the state already has.
Our students, teachers, and school staff all deserve better than what state Republicans are willing to provide for them.