North Carolina is one of only ten states that continue to schoolchildren to all be masked. Elected officials want mask policies to be in the hands of local communities and not the Cooper administration. A recent ABC Science Collaborative study of COVID-19 transmission in schools is misleading and ignores scientific research on the harms of face coverings.
K-12 public school districts in North Carolina have received about $6 billion in federal funds to help address the coronavirus pandemic. On average, since last March, school districts have spent about 11% of funds appropriated for Covid relief. The low level of expenditures raise legitimate questions about the nature of the emergency and how federal dollars are spent.
State reopening mandates led to sizable increases in home and private school enrollment during the 2020-21 school year. According to statistics published by the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education, homeschool enrollment soared by 20.6% (not a typo) and private school enrollment increased by 3.3%. An estimated 23% of North Carolina families selected a home, private, or charter school last school year.
A majority of State Board of Education members approved the controversial K-12 social studies standards in February 2021. A new report by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute awarded North Carolina’s new civics and government standards a D− and our U.S. history standards an F. Despite this assessment, plans are underway to implement the new standards in the fall unless the General Assembly intervenes.
65% of likely North Carolina voters believe that classroom instruction in K-12 schools has become more political over the last five years. 57% of survey participants agreed that teachers give their personal beliefs in the classroom to influence the beliefs of children. To address these problems, respondents supported a proposed academic transparency requirement and a mandate that teachers show no preference for certain ideas.
The Senate budget plan would address current education spending needs, increase salaries for teachers and education personnel and offer bonuses, and increase all steps of base teacher salaries. It would also expand eligibility for Opportunity Scholarships, raise the value of the scholarships, and increase the annual payment to the Opportunity Scholarship Grant Fund Reserve. These are steps in the right direction, but the budget needs to be more responsive to parents seeking additional educational options and other ways to redress the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the education of our children.
State law empowers school boards to establish policies to ensure adherence to the code of ethics for North Carolina educators, which requires that teachers "not proselytize for personal viewpoints that are outside the scope of professional practice." School boards have broad authority to make curriculum decisions, select instructional materials, and create community media advisory committees tasked with addressing concerns about the appropriateness of textbooks and other resources.
North Carolina public schools will receive over $6 billion in funding to address the academic, emotional, and social impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Such levels of funding present high-risk and high-opportunity options for schools. Schools can ensure these funds are well spent by developing plans that are transparent, are strategic, discuss relevant trade-offs, encourage flexibility, and understand the implications of their choices.
Under the growing threat of a coronavirus combined with the government-imposed economic shutdown, Congress approved $6 billion in Covid-19 relief funds for K-12 public schools in North Carolina. A recovering economy has taken the worst-case scenarios off the table and resulted in more aid for K-12 schools than at any time in recent history. These dollars should be returned to taxpayers; otherwise, state leaders should take proper steps to ensure they are spent wisely and accomplish intended purposes.
Overall, North Carolina teacher pay has improved despite periods of no or moderate pay increases. North Carolina ranks 34th nationally and 2nd in the Southeast in teacher pay. The increase in teacher benefits — specifically the rising cost of retirement benefits — is the biggest reason for the escalating costs of teacher compensation.
John Locke Updates by Year
John Locke Updates by Author
by Update Type
John Locke Updates by Category
Copyright 2021 John Locke Foundation. All Rights Reserved