A new statewide advocacy group has formed because of the growing concern for North Carolina’s public school system.
Public Schools First NC is a grassroots advocacy group that commits itself to high-quality public school education in North Carolina.
A statement released by the group said that public school funding has decreased every year and the younger generations are bearing the brunt.
“We believe that North Carolina’s families deserve a public education system that is inclusive, innovative, responsive, and flexible — a system that operates within a framework of fairness, sound planning and local public accountability for tax dollars,” said member of the Public Schools First NC Board of Directors, Nick Rhodes.
The group supports equal funding that reflects the national average for all of the school districts in the state, increased funding for preschool, better educational environments, programs that encourage the retention of experienced teachers, a limited number of charter schools that work with local school districts and are managed with local and state oversight and broader educational learning that will challenge and prepare students of the competitive global economy.
“Adequate and equitable funding for all schools, effective teacher and principal recruitment, retention and support, and rich educational experiences will allow North Carolina to keep its rightful place as a state that leads the nation in excellent schools,” said Rhodes.
David Ward, communications director for U.S. Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, said that Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is the primary source of federal funding for education. Burr supports this federal funding that is “intended to help children in low-income neighborhoods have similar resources to those in more affluent parts of their state so that every child has a chance to succeed in the classroom.”
“Although he believes much can be done to Title I’s formula to better target poverty, he believes this form of assistance has done much over the years to help students climb out of low-income circumstances,” Ward said.
The advocacy group opposes vouchers, tax credits, education savings accounts, or anything similar that takes resources from public schools, testing that is used to grade schools or evaluate teachers instead of being used as a tool to help improve the school, and education that blames teachers and school for the impact that poverty has on a student’s success.
U.S. Representative Richard Hudson, from North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District, said, “As the son of a North Carolina public school teacher, I strongly believe excellence in education should be a right of every child. We can commit to improving education by moving from the bureaucratic-dominated status quo to a reformed system that includes accountability and more parental choice.”
Public Schools First NC said it wants to be a voice to remind us all that our public schools are our first and best investment for North Carolina’s future.
For more information on Public Schools First NC, visit publicschoolsfirstnc.org.
— Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.