The Public School Forum of North Carolina distributed a 2022 NCGA Candidate Questionnaire to all candidates running for the NC General Assembly. The six questions posed in the questionnaire address key education policy issues that impact public schools across our state. The questions are listed below.
To get started, click on your county below to explore responses from candidates for races in both the NC House and Senate. To identify your districts, view a sample ballot, and for other information on the upcoming election, visit the State Board of Elections website here.
The questionnaire contained the following questions:
- According to a recent national poll of teachers, 55 percent of respondents indicated that they are more likely to leave their position sooner than expected due to stress experienced from the COVID-19 pandemic (NEA, 2022). What policies would you support while in office to promote the recruitment and retention of a diverse teacher workforce?
- Teacher pay in North Carolina ranks 33rd in the nation, and beginning teachers start out their careers with a base salary of just over $35,000. As a point of comparison, Mississippi just raised their starting teacher pay from $37,123 to $41,638, putting Mississippi above the southeastern and national averages. As a member of the North Carolina General Assembly, what would you do to ensure the teaching profession is an attractive and sustainable career path for North Carolinians?
- In the 2020-21 school year, the average NC school nurse to student ratio was 1:890, while the national recommended ratio is 1 per school. Additionally, the average ratio of school counselors in NC in 2019 was 1:367 compared to the recommended ratio of 1:250, and the average ratio of social workers in 2019 was 1:1,427 compared to the recommended ratio of 1:250. Do you think our schools and students should have access to school psychologists, counselors, social workers, and school nurses? How will you ensure this access?
- North Carolina ranked 40th in the nation in 2019-20 in “public school current expenditures per student in average daily attendance,” also known as per-pupil funding (NEA, 2021). The Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan calls for robust investments in our schools to implement evidence-based interventions. These investments include high-quality well-prepared teachers, high-quality principals, early childhood education, post-secondary pathways, school support personnel like counselors and social workers, and accountability and finance systems that ensure our students have what they need. Given this, what are three top actions that the General Assembly can take to ensure our state meets its constitutional obligation to provide a sound basic education for every child?
- It was recently estimated that our public schools have $13 billion in school infrastructure needs, resulting from growing student populations and aging school buildings. The last K-12 statewide school bond of $1.8 billion was passed 25 years ago, in 1996. In prior years, statewide school bonds were passed roughly every decade. How would you address school infrastructure needs, and how would you ensure the needs are addressed equitably and in sufficient amounts?
- The demographics of our student population in North Carolina are shifting. Students of color comprise the majority (roughly 54%) of the 1.37 million students enrolled in the state’s traditional public schools. About forty-four percent of students are white. However, the teacher workforce is not representative of our student population—teachers of color comprise approximately 20% of the workforce. Data show that as compared to white students, students of color in North Carolina are under-represented in advanced and gifted courses, are less likely to be taught by experienced teachers, and receive higher rates of school suspensions for similar infractions (CREED, 2019). How would you address racial equity in our schools?
The Public School Forum of NC is a 501(c)3 organization that provides trusted, nonpartisan, evidence-based research, policy analysis and innovative programs that empower an informed public to demand that education best practice becomes common practice throughout North Carolina. We believe that all North Carolina children shall have the opportunity to reach their full potential through equitable and meaningful public education that nourishes our state’s civic and economic vitality.