View in your browser.


Did you hear about the latest public school employment numbers released by the NC Department of Public Instruction?  The number of public school employees is on the rise.  Yet, if you obtain your news primarily from the mainstream media, I suspect you did not know that. 

Yes, the number of reporters covering state government is shrinking.  And yes, issues like unemployment insurance, Medicaid expansion, and state health exchanges are the hot-button issues of the moment.  Yet, after three years of noise about the Republican conspiracy to destroy of our public schools, the mainstream media should do the responsible thing and acknowledge the facts.  Anyone?

Bulletin Board

  • Attend. A list of upcoming events sponsored by the John Locke Foundation can be found at the bottom of this newsletter, as well as here.  We look forward to seeing you!
  • Donate. If you find this newsletter mildly informative or entertaining, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the John Locke Foundation.  The John Locke Foundation is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that does not accept nor seek government funding. It relies solely on the generous support of individuals, corporations, small businesses, and foundations.
  • Share. The North Carolina History Project seeks contributors to the North Carolina History Project Encyclopedia. Please contact Dr. Troy Kickler for additional information.
  • Discuss. I would like to invite all readers to submit brief announcements, personal insights, anecdotes, concerns, and observations about the state of education in North Carolina.  I will publish selected submissions in future editions of the newsletter. Requests for anonymity will be honored. For additional information or to send a submission, email Terry at [email protected].
  • Revisit. We have archived all research newsletters on our website.  Access the archive here.


Public education jobs were a hot topic last year — and the year before — and the year before that one.  Lately, however, the mainstream media hasn’t said much about the state of employment in our traditional public school districts.  Why? 

Well, it is difficult to know for sure.  One valid hypothesis is that revenue, and thus the newsroom, is shrinking.  This means that the remaining staff must make strategic choices about the kinds of stories they cover.  On the other hand, the News & Observer recently assigned a reporter to do a story on roach grooming, so there appears to be some wiggle room.

Although very unlikely, another theory is that the media does not read blog posts from conservative organizations.  Both the popular Locker Room and the excellent Civitas Review blogs featured comments on the release of the 2012-13 public school personnel statistics.  In addition, North Carolina’s Drudge Report, Carolina Plot Hound, linked to the Locker Room post for several days.

I think the most plausible explanation is that the increase in education jobs does not fit their narrative.  Since North Carolina voters elected a Republican legislative majority in 2010, the mainstream media has pegged Republicans as relentless budget cutters, aggressive privatizers, and all-around meanies.  To assist the media in this effort, left-wing advocacy organizations have a thick thesaurus on the ready.  Talk of "draconian" budget cuts appears to be out of favor (for now).  Recently, they have employed words like "bizarre," "horrific," "extreme," "strange," "terrible," "assault," "crazy," "wacky," "destructive," etc.  My personal favorite is "crazy show," which is similar to the term "crazy train" but does not insult their preferred mode of public transportation.

So, there are two options for the consumer of policy news and information.  Option A is for the mainstream media to take a more objective (or at least fair) approach to their reporting.  Option B is to opt for Carolina Journal and other "alternative" media outlets.  If you are still laughing at Option A, I suggest you take Option B posthaste.

Facts and Stats

Public School Full-Time Personnel, 2011-2013


Total Public School Personnel, 2012-2013

Total Public School Personnel, 2011-2012

Change, 2011-2013

Official Adm., Mgrs.








Assistant Principals, Teaching




Assistant Principals, Nonteaching








Elementary Teachers




Secondary Teachers




Other Teachers
















Librarian, Audiovisual




Consultant, Supervisor




Other Professional








Teacher Assistants








Clerical, Secretarial




Service Workers




Skilled Crafts




Laborers, Unskilled












Note: This table includes personnel positions funded with state, local, and federal dollars.  The Republican-led General Assembly added 3,198 state-funded education jobs this year and added 7,811 jobs since 2010.  Temporary grants, such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA or "stimulus") and the Education Jobs Fund ("EduJobs"), supplanted state and local funds for each of the last three years.  But both federal grants have expired.  Even so, there was a net gain in public school jobs despite the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in temporary federal funding. 

Education Acronym of the Week

ARRA — American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Quote of the Week

"The Republican budget will result in the loss of thousands of education positions. Remember that oft-repeated claim?  Some critics point the job losses [of] 10,000 or more. Were the doomsdayers right?"

– Dr. Bob Luebke, Senior Policy Analyst, John W. Pope Civitas Institute, Civitas Review blog post

Click here for the Education Update archive.