Poor Republican Sen. Apodaca. The self-disgust this husband of a former school teacher must feel apparently runs pretty deep given the lengths he goes to in his attempts to construct a consoling counter-narrative amid the howls of protest at his party's wholesale gutting of North Carolina's public education system.
According to figures from the state budget office, North Carolina currently spends an average of $5,655 per pupil per year to educate its public school students. By contrast, the state spends an average of $27,134 per inmate to feed, clothe and house convicted criminals. If Sen. Apodaca's party has its way, this disparity will grow even more, ranking our state 49th in the country in per-pupil spending, ahead of only Mississippi.
As I write, school systems across the state are sending out layoff notices to teachers and teacher assistants and eliminating programs in early childhood development the state's own research proves are vital to the future success of at-risk children. GOP rationalizations aside, if they manage to ram their draconian education budget down the throats of educators, parents and students, the results will be devastating for North Carolina's future. Next year alone, it will mean larger class sizes, fewer programs and as many as 13,000 jobs lost during an economic recession.
And here's the rub: The senator claims that his party's plan will create 1,000 new teaching jobs in grades K-3. But 13,000 minus 1,000 still leaves 12,000 North Carolina families without a paycheck. That's basic math, Sen. Apodaca. I learned it, and most everything else of value I know, from public school teachers.
— Jeff Callahan