Why N.C. can’t seem to have an honest conversation about education

There are few topics more important in N.C. politics than education. Not only is North Carolina home to more than 1.5 million public school students, education makes up more than 50% of the state’s $24 billion budget.

With the stakes so high, it’s frustrating that North Carolina politicians can’t seem to have an honest conversation about education. Why? We dive deep into this topic in today’s episode of the Longleaf Podcast.

In this episode, we discuss the toxic relationship the N.C. Association of Educators has with the General Assembly and how it developed. We explore why the unfair narrative has developed that Republicans want to dismantle the state’s education system.

Then, we discuss why North Carolina’s complicated education funding system makes it difficult to compare apples to apples — and how different political groups use their own version of numbers to make a point. Finally, we question whether it would be possible to truly gauge how teachers feel about certain elements of education policy.

Be sure to subscribe to the Longleaf Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Every day, we bring you commentary on the top N.C. political news from the reasonable right of center.

Cover image via NCDOT

4 thoughts on “Why N.C. can’t seem to have an honest conversation about education”

  1. I was going to leave a dissertation on what I thought was wrong with your analysis, but I thought better of it once I got to page 2 of my outline. Instead I will point to one of the points I find to most inconsistent with Republican politicians and their pundits. (FYI, I am neither Democrat or Republica. I hate what both parties have become.)

    Republicans bristle when Democrats accuse them of “cutting education”. Republicans like the numbers that paint them in the best light, Democrats want the public discourse to paint the in the poorest light. When one adjusts for inflation, there is no doubt there has been a cut to education funding. I think that it has only been in the past year we have reached the level of funding that we were at prior to the recession.

    Let’s flip the script and use your method to discuss tax cuts.

    Why don’t we here Republicans bragging about how much they have raised taxes? They dont. Instead they constantly hammer the point of how much they have lowered taxes. If one uses the raw numbers, they definitely have. In 2010 the NC tax burden per capita was $4635. Today it is $5178. I ask you, have taxes been raised? or lowered?

    Now let’s factor in inflation. The increase in taxes from 2010 to 2017 is 11.7%. Inflation during that time was 12.3%. So in terms of constant purchasing power dollars, NC’s per person tax bill has fallen.

    To be logically consistent, one can claim that education funding has increased, but so have taxes. Conversely, one can also claim that education funding has decreased and so have taxes. Politicos, of course like to have their cake and eat it too. Picking and choosing how one interprets these numbers is a political discourse meant to manipulate the electorate. None of it is rooted in intellectual honesty.

    So, I ask you, have Republicans increased education funding and increased taxes? or have they lowered education funding and lowered taxes? Which viewpoint is most valid?


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