Okay. Time to call bullshit. The John Locke Foundation is claiming that North Carolina has never been high in the national rankings of education spending and that the National Education Association’s claim that we are 48th in per pupil spending is near historic averages.
So, they’re using that as an excuse to cut spending even more? This is where we see things totally differently.
Republicans have been complaining about how our schools have failed. Then, Terry Stopes, Director of Education Studies claims that from 1996 to 2011 North Carolina’s “per-pupil expenditures never ranked higher than 36th in the nation and dropped as low as 47th. Overall, the state ranked 40th in the percentage growth of education spending between 1996 and 2011.”
To me, the answer is obvious. For more more than 15 years, we’ve been in bottom 20% of the country in per pupil spending and our schools suck. We need to spend more on public education! Duh!
But in John Locke World, being at the bottom of the heap in per pupil spending means spend less. I guess it’s a combination of that pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstrap thing (or, as in the case of Art Pope, climb-out-by-your-umbilical cord thing) and the ol’ free-market fix. Who knows, but it’s going to cause a lot of pain.
I’ve got a couple of more for you. We’re 34th in per capita income. Democrats got us there from 49th in 1960, but in my book, that’s not good enough. And we’re 39th in median household income. Again, we should do better.
And you know something else? North Carolina children who live in poverty have a lower chance of climbing out than kids from other parts of the country.
And you know something sad? The states just below us in all these ranking are mostly other Southern states. We spend the least amount of money on our kids’ educations. Those kids live in the poorest states in the nation. And they have the least chance of improving their situation.
Now, John Locke and their Republican allies are using poor performance and poor funding as an excuse to cut spending for education. That’s bullshit and I call it.