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Carolina Journal reports: Red4EdNC wants to fix N.C. public education system

Carolina Journal’s Lindsay Marchello reports

Red4EdNC, a nonprofit education advocacy group, isn’t happy with the state of public education in North Carolina. The group, composed of public school teachers, on Friday, Aug. 24, shared a litany of concerns with how the General Assembly has handled public education.

Angela Scioli, a social studies teacher at Leesville Road High School, founded Red4EdNC in 2013. The goal of the organization, its website says, is to help shape the state’s education policy agenda.

“We’re awakening to the fact that there has been a significant change in the resources and pay structure for teachers in North Carolina,” Scioli said. “Ever since then we have been seeking a redress to these kinds of issues.”

John Locke Foundation’s Terry Stoops weighed in for Carolina Journal.

Terry Stoops, vice president of research and education studies at the John Locke Foundation, said that while he agrees with the group’s call for a more transparent General Assembly, he’s skeptical of its claims about widespread teacher dissatisfaction.

“It directly contradicts the 2018 teacher working condition survey,” Stoops said.

The 2018 Teacher Working Condition Survey shows 87 percent of teachers think their school, overall, is a good place to work and to learn. Eighty-one percent of teachers said their school environment clean and well-maintained, and 76 percent believe they have sufficient teaching supplies.

Red4EdNC released a Declaration in Defense of North Carolina’s Public Schoolchildren on July 4, that offers recommendations to improve the state’s public education system.

For one, Red4EdNC wants lawmakers to increase per-pupil funding, adjusted for inflation, to pre-recession levels. The group wants the same for teachers’ and principals’ salaries. They want lawmakers to focus on removing poverty-related barriers to education and recommend lawmakers focus on promoting policies leading to racial and economic integration in schools.

Stoops said the group has outlined a wide variety of broad proposals but hasn’t offered a means of paying for these visions.

“The biggest problem I find with their entire platform is that they’re calling on spending increases without specifying how they’re going to pay for it,” Stoops said. “They refuse to say taxes would have to be increased to pay for the teacher pay increases and the per-student expenditure increases that they’re asking for.”

It’s up to lawmakers to figure out how these proposals would be accomplished, Scioli said.

“We have no idea how legislators would achieve these things,” Scioli said. “It’s not really our job. We just know they need to be done.”

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