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Former NC Schools Chief Speaks Out Against State Education Bills

Bob Etheridge.jpg
Lisa Miller

Former Democratic Congressman and state schools superintendent Bob Etheridge is traveling the state with the group Progress North Carolina to speak out against several education bills before state lawmakers.

In Charlotte Thursday, he criticized a bill that would end the policy of limiting kindergarten through third grade classes to 24 students.  He also said cutting the income eligibility for the state’s pre-kindergarten program would hurt many kid’s chances of graduating. 

Etheridge says it’s hard for most people to keep track of all the education bills state lawmakers are filing. 

A lot of it may get through and, if they do, we’ll wake up one morning and rue the fact the hard work that business people, parents, educators and others have worked through for generations will be gone,” said Etheridge.  “All of a sudden who gets punished?  Our state, our students, and our future.”

Etheridge is also rallying for more money for public education.  He points out teacher salaries in North Carolina are $10,000 dollars below the national average, which, he says, makes it hard to compete with other states.  The Governor’s spending plan does include a 1 percent increase for teachers.