Editorial: Competitive landscape in education

Aug. 06, 2013 @ 07:58 PM

Public schools will justify they’ve been doing a lot with a little for a long time.

Given a bottomless bucket of money to fix all the needs, the cash register for Vance County Schools would slow down around $2 million.

And that’s just facilities.

Teachers statewide want raises, increases in pay and salary commensurate with training and education.

Frustration is mounting for public school educators.

Unfortunately for our beloved educators, and we do love them all, they’re getting a share of what many others have been enduring across the land for some time. The difference is our public schools are not for profit and are not going to go into bankruptcy. They will forever be expected to continue educating our children.

They’re too big to fail. And they’re being asked to do more with less.

More frequently than ever before, those words sum up economically challenged situations.

When the final state budget went in front of Gov. Pat McCrory and the rest of the state, we heard two arguments. Neither was wrong. Both sides, however, said the other was wrong.

Yes, the dollar figure for public education is up. No, it is not enough to keep services the same as the previous year.

The facts are school systems will have less and they will have more. Less will be fewer teacher assistants and fewer new things like supplies and textbooks. More will include a projected increase in the number of students and anything with a price tag.

And that’s just for starters in both directions.

One thing is certain — we’re hard-pressed to find any of the state’s 115 school systems not tightening their belts. Fiscal responsibility was voted in, and few departments are off limits.

The Republican majority in Raleigh has shown a willingness to broaden how it will see returns on education spending. It is not tied to dollars per pupil. It is, as was past theories as well, tied to results per pupil.

Competition and results are inherently linked. And there is competition ongoing to land students, both in charter and private schools and away from public schools.

But there’s only one reason — the best education for the children.