"Please take a minute to read this letter recently sent to lawmakers in our state by [a parent at our school]. I urge any of you who care about the state of public education in NC to consider writing your own letter or forwarding this letter on to anyone you know. A strong public education system benefits all of us. Thank you for considering this issue.
Dear members of the General Assembly,
I realize that not all of you know me, but I had a meeting this morning that has spurred me to contact my local Wake County representatives.
I met with the principal at my son’s elementary school this morning to talk to her about his placement next year. It was a very sad conversation. She is not sure who will be teaching next year. She has lost multiple teachers this year to other states that pay teachers more or to non-teaching jobs such as working in an insurance agency that pay more. Two of the teachers at our school have lost homes to foreclosure. Others are looking for jobs elsewhere because they are so poorly paid. My son’s school is a wonderful school, with a terrific principal and great teachers who love the children and work hard to make sure that they get a first class education. It is not a poor school. It will not stay that way if teachers continue to leave.
You would think that they would be well paid and supported by our State, because a well educated state leads to a well educated workforce which in turn draws businesses to our state. However, that is not the case. Teachers are now so poorly paid that they cannot afford to buy and maintain a house, afford to send their children to college or in some cases even afford to have children in the first place.
This seems so foolish to me. I am a lawyer who handles commercial real estate transactions every day. I am pro-business; I would like to see our economy grow and for new companies to relocate to North Carolina. I do not see that happening if we have a poor public education system. While the CEO of a company may have the funds to send her children to private school in order to avoid poor public schools, her workers do not have that same luxury. If I ran a company, I would not locate in a place where there were poorly funded public schools.
I have tried to figure out the General Assembly’s strategy on this issue, but I cannot. It appears to me, that the only reason for low teacher pay is so that the very wealthiest citizens of this state will pay less in taxes. This is not just wrong, it is outrageous and immoral. We must change our priorities, or North Carolina will soon be just another poor southern state, relegated to the fringes of the world economy. I was born and raised in North Carolina and have lived in Raleigh for nineteen years. I have never been more concerned about its future than I am right now."
I am so fortunate to work for a school with administrators and parents who stand up for public education. I hope that others will do like this parent and express their concerns about public education. The teachers and students of North Carolina need all the support we can get. Please take some time to do your small part.
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