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Attorney General Stein’s May Column: Teacher Appreciation

A ‘Thank You’ to North Carolina’s Teachers

Attorney General Josh Stein

May 2023

Ms. Dalton. Mr. Charles. Mr. Stuart. These are just three of the teachers who had an important impact on my life. Every one of us knows the impact teachers have as they pour encouragement, knowledge, and support into us and the students we love.

Earlier this month, we celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week, but as the school year comes to a close, I’d like to take more time to recognize the important work done by educators each and every day.

We all appreciate our teachers, but for too long, our state legislature has failed to put our money where our mouths are. Governor Cooper recently sounded the alarm on the underinvestment in public education, and he’s right. We need to be ensuring that all our kids have the opportunity to succeed, not making it harder for them to compete.

We have to pay our teachers more. Right now, North Carolina ranks 46th in the country in beginning teacher pay. Our teachers should not have to worry about making ends meet or finding a second job to support themselves and their families. Investing in our teachers means investing in the future of our state.

We have to fund our schools. North Carolina ranks 48th in the country for adjusted per pupil spending. Our students have a guaranteed right under our state’s Constitution to a sound, basic education. Instead of proposals that defund public education, let’s invest in our schools to help our kids prepare for the jobs of tomorrow.

We must hire more support staff. Too many of our kids are in a mental health crisis. Every school in North Carolina needs professionals on-site who can help them – including school nurses and counselors – and we simply do not have enough.

Even with all these challenges facing our educators, there is magic happening in classrooms all across this state. North Carolina is a great state full of dedicated and talented teachers. Let’s support them by giving them the pay and respect that they deserve. It’s an investment that will pay off for our kids down the road.

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