Academic transparency is one way to guarantee that teachers adhere to the Code of Ethics for North Carolina Educators, which requires that they do not “proselytize for personal viewpoints that are outside the scope of professional practice.” Teachers have an ethical obligation to separate their personal views from their professional responsibilities, particularly when discussing issues as contentious as the conflict in the Middle East.
Because teachers have the option of declining summer employment, summer learning programs designed to address learning loss may be short-staffed. Reasons for opting out of the summer learning programs vary, but they fall into three categories: political, financial, and psychological.
For 2020-21, North Carolina’s average teacher salary is $54,392, which is ranked 34th in the nation according to the National Education Association. The statewide average salary increased by around 21 percent between 2014 and 2021. The NC Association of Educators insists that the calculation of the average is flawed.
Learning Loss Education Savings Accounts can remedy the damaging impacts of students being out of the classroom and empower parents to find the educational option that best fits their child’s needs. The American Rescue Plan Act expands the child tax credit to $3,000 or $3,600, depending on the age of the child, and this change can greatly aid the ability of parents to afford private school.
Support for school choice is strong nationally and resulted in new programs and expansions in many states. North Carolina legislation to expand choice programs and grant a tax credit to homeschooling families, if approved, would increase the amount of the assistance as well as the number of people using school choice programs.
The American Rescue Plan Act's $130 billion for K-12 education included $3.6 billion for North Carolina public schools, but strangely for an emergency, only 5 percent of that education spending will be spent this year. It's clear that this massive spending is about rewarding teachers’ unions and other constituencies that helped both Joe Biden and Roy Cooper get elected.
The largest increase in Cooper's proposed state appropriations would be for employee salaries and benefits. Cooper's proposal does not provide price tags for Leandro or Medicaid expansion. Cooper would also eliminate successful and popular Opportunity Scholarships.
Since 2019, after rocketing upward for seven years, North Carolina’s average teacher salary has increased by only $452, or 0.8 percent. Democratic obstructionism and uncertain economic conditions at the height of the pandemic led to two consecutive years of negligible salary growth.
Cooper recommends 11 and 16 percent spending increases for K-12 public education for the next biennium, focusing on teacher and administrator pay increases, bonuses, hiring more staff and raising pay to $15/hour for noncertified staff.
The new Comprehensive Remedial Plan to comply with the Leandro ruling lacks critical details for how its measures would provide all public school children a sound basic education. Democrats and activists are pressuring the Republican-led General Assembly to adopt these expensive proposals — or the judge to force them despite the constitutional separation of powers.
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