To the Editor:
When funds are limited and cuts need to be made, wise decisions are imperative. As a former educator with 25 years of experience, I commend the N.C. General Assembly for making judicious decisions for the students of this state.
When I became guidance director of the high school I was working in, I was shocked and appalled to learn that 60 percent of our incoming ninth-graders read at the sixth-grade level or below. One of the most serious errors made in education is to continually promote students whose reading scores are significantly below grade level. If students can’t read high school level material, how can they be expected to graduate?
North Carolina’s bipartisan 2011-2012 budget funds all teachers and teacher assistants; no teacher in N.C. will lose their job as a result of this budget. Furthermore, an additional 1,100 teacher positions are funded for grades 1 through 3. Equally important, over the next three years, class sizes will be reduced to 1 to 15 students for grades 1 through 3.
I believe that this is the absolute best use of educational funds. The primary grades are the most important for establishing a firm foundation for learning. Students who do not learn to read are students who fail. Spending more money on education is not the answer. Correctly allocating funds to the primary grades will improve education.
Thank you, legislators, for your sound judgment.