by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
The News & Observer reports on the wish list from the group organizing Wednesday’s rally and protest by educators at the General Assembly.
On Monday, the North Carolina Association of Educators released its priorities for the march, which coincides with the opening day of this year’s state legislative session. The list includes raising both teacher pay and per-pupil spending to the national average over the next four years. The group also wants “significant and livable raises for all public school employees.”
“There isn’t a vision here for increasing student achievement,” said Terry Stoops, vice president of research for the conservative John Locke Foundation. “There’s a vision for increasing the amount of money we spend on public schools but with very little sense on how that money would be used.”
There was no significant change in fourth- and eighth-grade reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) between 2013 and 2017. During the same period, North Carolina had a statistically significant decrease in fourth- and eighth-grade mathematics scores, dropping 4 points on both NAEP exams. On the other hand, graduation rates have increased every year, reaching the all-time high of 86.5 percent in 2017. That said, the NAEP scores are a more reliable indicator of student achievement than the graduation rate, given that the latter is more susceptible to mischief.