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Our Motivation

The continued cuts to our public schools are unnaceptable. The General Assembly cut thousands of teaching assistants removed class size limits from elementary schools and denied teachers the pay they deserve. As a community we need to fight back.

Our Goals

  1. Increase per-pupil spending to be more competitive with the national average.

  2. Encourage alternative discipline programs for students to reduce suspensions and expulsions.

  3. Empower parents through training and support to more effectively advocate on behalf of their children.

 

Our Strategy

We will leverage our grassroots power to reframe the debate around education away from a corporate driven privatization agenda, to a discussion of how we can support and empower our schools to be building blocks of strong communities.

 

What we’ve done so far

Action NC has held 3 public meetings in Durham, bringing together organizers, parents, teachers, students and concerned community members to help craft an agenda that supports all those affected by the weakening of our public schools. These meetings allowed for a critical analysis of our current situation both locally, and statewide.

It is from these meetings and our work with students parents and teachers groups that we came to the above 3 goals for our campaign.

We have built partnerships with local Schools and non-profits and continue to train parents and students in effective advocacy and story telling.

 

Summary of policy positions

Funding levels

Our children aren’t below average – why is their funding?
“We believe that adequately funding our classrooms is the single most important action that can be taken to raise the level of education for our children. This not only supports our teachers, but the physical and environmental requirements for a quality educational experience which are too often being overlooked and sidelined.”

School funding in North Carolina is at an all-time low, following the year annual cuts we have seen since 2008. Our per-pupil spending is 48th nationally, and our average for teacher pay ranks a dismal 46th. The funding formula in North Carolina is such that it creates dramatic inequalities from one part of the state to the other, resulting in dramatically different needs among distinct, and increasingly segregated, schools. While the historical trends show a reasonable performance by North Carolina children, early indications are that we are beginning the negative impacts of the drastic funding cuts over the past five years.

Charter schools

Charters are great when run correctly, but too many charters are bad for our kids.
“While there are great charter schools, the vast majority of them in North Carolina are only performing at an average and below-average level, and their ranks are swelling. More accountability to students, parents and taxpayers is necessary if charters are to remain a permanent part of our education system.”

Charter schools were original developed as laboratories of educational innovation, designed to find solutions to longstanding challenges in the public education system and export those ideas far and wide. But since they were originally developed, charters have far exceeded the vision of limited experimental institutions and have been successfully marketed as a panacea for all that ails our public schools.

Accountability - Charters are not required to have all licensed teachers, have no restrictions on class size, have no curriculum requirements, are not required to provide transportation to and from class, and are even exempt from providing free and reduced lunches for low-income students.

Effectiveness - In a study conducted over 16 states by Stanford University in 2009, 83% of charter school students performed at the same level, or worse, than their traditional public school peers. In North Carolina last year, more than 1/3 of charters failed to meet their measureable objectives.

School vouchers

Taking public money and giving it to private, for-profit corporations is bad for our kids and bad for our pocket books.
“No matter what you call them, school vouchers funnel our public tax dollars to private schools. This not only takes money away from your local school, but takes from the child out of the public system as well, meaning quality controls such as teacher certification, building safety, basic curriculum cohesiveness are gone as well.”

Those who advocate for school vouchers will generally make three arguments in favor: vouchers save money, give parent’s choice, and help improve educational outcomes. The problem is that none of these claims are true, and in many cases, the exact opposite is closer to reality.

Money - Vouchers save the state money by allowing them to pay less per-pupil—more than $3,000 less on average. The cost of that “savings” is passed on, or subtracted, from what we pay to educate our children.

Reality - $4,200 is not nearly enough to attend any private school worth attending. The balance will be the responsibility of the student’s family. No family should be put in a financial bind in order to educate their child.

Discipline

Kids can only learn if they’re in school. Let’s keep them there.
“Zero tolerance policies and aggressive in-school policing have led to an environment where our students are being treated more like criminals than children. While suspensions and expulsions may become necessary in a rare minority of circumstances, there are far more constructive and useful diversion tactics that help students resolve difference on both sides of a disagreement.”