Berger’s Promise to “Protect the Classroom” a Complete Sham

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Real Data from NC Public Schools Reveals Fraudulent Claims by State Lawmakers and Underscores Need to the Pass the President’s American Jobs Act

Progress North Carolina today called on State Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and other state lawmakers to admit their broken promises to “protect the classroom” and to correct their damage to North Carolina’s public schools by supporting President Obama’s American Jobs Act.

Sen. Berger said that one of three basic promises Republicans made this is was to “protect the classroom.” See here. In June, Berger said, ” You said you wanted full funding for teachers and teacher assistants. In this budget, you got that.” [Youtube, 6/10/11]

Instead, Sen. Berger, and other state lawmakers who voted for the state budget, approved a spending plan which has led to the lay off of 1,853 teachers and teaching assistants across the state. The state budget also forced school districts to eliminate 4,311 classroom positions across North Carolina. The data was updated by the NC Dept. of Public Instruction in September.

“Sen. Berger and other state law-makers clearly promised to ‘protect the classroom’ and then turned their back on students and our schools,” said Gerrick Brenner, Executive Director for Progress North Carolina. “The result is damaging cuts and North Carolina now ranked 49th among states in per pupil funding. Even Mississippi invests more money per student to educate its children.”

So far, neither Sen. Berger nor any other state lawmaker who voted for the budget has come forward to admit their broken promises on public schools. “We don’t know if Sen. Berger was just grossly mistaken or downright dishonest,” said Brenner. “But if Berger really did want to ‘protect the classroom,’ he really got it wrong. Berger and others who voted for this state budget can make up for their mistakes by supporting the President’s American Jobs Act. Berger helped craft a state budget which slashed thousands of teaching jobs. If he and other state lawmakers really do want to ‘protect the classroom’ like they claimed, the least they can do now is publicly support a federal plan to hire them back.”

The Center for American Progress estimates the American Jobs Act would create 13,400 teaching jobs in North Carolina. This would more than make up for the classroom positions slashed by Sen. Berger and other state lawmakers who voted for the state budget back in June.


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