Supporting our Teachers
Happy teacher appreciation week! This annual celebration is an important reminder of the vital – and often thankless – work that teachers do to improve the lives of students and to build a stronger future for our state and our nation.
As a former educator and the son of an English teacher, I have always regarded education as my highest priority in Congress, and I have fought to provide our teachers with the resources and support they need to succeed. I have worked to support innovative teacher recruitment efforts, and, in the current Congress, I have introduced legislation (the Keep Teachers Teaching Act, or H.R. 2321) that would make teacher retention programs, such as the Kenan Fellows program, eligible for federal support.
In addition, I have been a strong supporter of the teacher loan forgiveness program and the federal tax deduction for teachers' out of pocket expenses. I have also worked as a member of the House Appropriations Committee to maintain investments in students and teachers, and I strongly oppose ill-advised cuts to federal education programs.
Unfortunately, Governor McCrory and the Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly do not share my commitment to our state’s teachers. Time and again, they have unfairly pitted the wellbeing of educators against the state’s fiscal bottom line by slashing salaries, benefits, and resource budgets across the board. In a recent study, North Carolina was the second worst state for teacher compensation.
I strongly believe that we must reverse this troubling trend, and I commend Governor McCrory for his belated efforts to increase teacher pay. But as a result of Republicans’ attempts to slash budgets over the past few years, we have a long way to go to recruit and retain the best teachers and to build a stronger public education system that will allow our state to thrive in the 21st century.
I will continue to fight to give our teachers the support that they deserve. We owe it to the next generation of North Carolinians.