Progress NC Calls on Lawmakers to Own Up to Gutting Our Children’s Schools

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“Pink Slip Truth Tour” Travels the State to Show that Politiciansʼ Promises to “Protect the Classroom” Do Not Add Up – Calls on Lawmakers to Enroll in Remedial Math

RALEIGH — Progress North Carolina, a new issues advocacy non-profit, today called on leaders of the N.C. General Assembly to admit responsibility for gutting our childrenʼs schools as their new budget slashes thousands of working teachers, TAʼs, and classroom positions.

To show the damage to our schools, Progress NC today began a “Pink Slip Truth Tour” which is traveling the state with laid off educators. The “Pink Slip Truth Tour” spotlights the huge gap between the political rhetoric in Raleigh and the reality of classroom cuts across the state.

Lawmakers who voted to pass the state budget promised their spending plan would “protect the classroom.” But new data from public schools around the state clearly shows this to be a promise broken.

“The numbers prove the promise to ʻprotect the classroomʼ does not pass a simple truth test,” said Gerrick Brenner, Executive Director for Progress North Carolina. “When it comes to school funding for our kids, elected leaders in Raleigh need to shoot straight on the impact of their budget choices.”

During budget debates back in June, House Speaker Thom Tillis said, “We have a budget that restores all K-12 education funding for teachers and teachers assistants. The minute this budget gets signed, those folks don’t have to worry about being out of a job.” [Press Conference, 6/1/10]

Also in June, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said, “Governor, you said you wanted full funding for teachers and teachers assistants. In this budget, you got that.” [YouTube, 6/10/2011]

But the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction reports numbers which prove these promises above to be utter nonsense. DPI reports:

• 1,853 teachers and teacher assistants were laid off due to state budget cuts,

• 4,300 teacher and teacher assistant positions were eliminated due to state budget cuts.

“The voodoo math behind ʻprotect the classroomʼ might pass a state budget but it flunks basic accounting,” Brenner said. “The result for our children is larger class sizes and less instruction. We can do better. We start by calling on legislative leaders to enroll in remedial math.”

Veteran educator Tammie Veilleux of Washington County joined Progress NC in calling state lawmakers to own up to the mess they have created with K-12 schools. Veilleux was one of 21bteacher assistants laid off in Washington County in June because of state budget cuts.

“My superintendent and principal did not want to let me go,” Veilleux said. “Both were trying to find every way to keep as many people as possible during these budget cuts. I lost my job solely because of a lack of funding.”


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