"I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good teacher."     ~  Temple Grandin

Public education provides the framework upon which we build our future in North Carolina. If our framework is strong, our future is bright. If we allow our framework to crumble, we cannot build a solid future. We need an educated citizenry that is ready to lead, innovate, create jobs and power our economy into the future.

Every child deserves the opportunities that a high quality, public education provides. Teachers are professionals who do important, challenging work and must be respected and compensated accordingly.  

I support:

  • Increasing per-pupil spending to at least pre-recession levels*.
  • Raising teacher pay to at least the national average, including an increase for experienced teachers, and providing mentorship for new teachers and professional development and support.
  • Compensating teachers who earn advanced degrees and certifications and restoring the stipend to allow teachers to afford those courses.
  • Offering free or low cost pre-K to all children who qualify.
  • Investing in our public colleges and universities so that they are both top-notch and affordable to North Carolina families & bringing back the tax deductions for college savings plans that the Republicans eliminated.
  • Limiting the number of charter schools, especially for-profit charters, and regulating them better to avoid the negative outcomes we’ve seen since the cap was lifted.
  • Keeping taxpayer money for public schools, not unaccountable, private schools via vouchers.
  • Reducing the number of high-stakes, standardized tests that our students must take and protecting enhancement courses from budget cuts.
  • Recognizing the importance of teacher assistants and funding for them.
  • Breaking the link between poverty and academic achievement to close gaps and reach educational equity.
  • Employing more K-12 school nurses, psychologists, social workers and counselors to better address all of the societal challenges that arise at school, including violence, suicide, mental health challenges, teen pregnancy, substance abuse and physical abuse.  

I oppose unfunded mandates from the NCGA that create chaos at the local level, such as the recent class size change that Republicans claimed was their way of “helping” school districts. It is best when classroom decisions are made by teachers and local administrators, not politicians in Raleigh who are not held to account for the cost of and confusion caused by their policy dictates.  Teacher leaders need to be at the table when education policy is crafted.

Our children and their teachers must have the support they need to feel safe while at school. I do not support arming school teachers. A much better idea, one supported by the educators I’ve met, is to have more school nurses and counselors to help address the myriad issues (personal, emotional, medical and family-related) students carry with them every day.  More on my position on gun violence at this page.

I am the proud daughter of a dedicated elementary school teacher. My parents went to public schools; my sister and I attended public schools, as did my daughters. My family knows the value of public education, and I want to preserve those opportunities for future generations. I worry that North Carolina, a state once known and respected for its public education investments and innovations, is sliding backwards on its commitment and sacrificing our children’s future.  We can and we must do better.

*Republican legislators often brag about increased total education spending, but that is not the relevant criteria.  We have many more public school students than ever before, so spending needs to go up just to keep up. Per pupil spending has actually gone down over the last two budgets and is still not back to the pre-recession level and teacher pay is below the national average. Republicans have controlled both chambers of the NCGA for almost a decade. If public education was really their priority, they would have addressed it by now.  Instead, they prioritize cut taxes for corporations and spend millions more for private school vouchers.