by Dr. Terry Stoops
Former Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
WRAL is reporting that “NC education spending on decades-long slide.” What they really mean is that education spending, as a percentage of the total state budget, has decreased due to the demands of Medicaid and various other state-funded enterprises.
Indeed, there is a big difference between a decrease in spending (stated in the headline) and a decrease as a percent of North Carolina’s General Fund appropriations (addressed in the article). Apparently, that critical distinction does not bother the folks at WRAL, which is owned by an incredibly wealthy benefactor of liberal organizations and causes, Jim Goodmon.
Was there a slide in state education spending? Nope. Not even close. If you really want to know what happened to state education spending over the last decade, take a look at the chart below, which was published by the NC Department of Public Instruction earlier this year.
The only decrease occurred in the twilight of Democratic rule. Since the election of a Republican legislative majority in 2010, state education spending has increased.