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As the General Assembly closes the 2013 session, I am left stunned by the glaring lack of support for public education at all levels.
As the nature of the economy has changed and the link between education and prosperity has strengthened, states across the country have made public K-12 and higher education a priority to increase their domestic and international competitiveness — and other industrialized countries have made remarkable strides in increasing the educational performance of their people. In North Carolina, we are headed in the opposite direction.
We are knowingly under-investing in our PreK-12, community college and university students; in our teachers; and in innovative new approaches to learning. This budget is an embarrassment in its lack of support for the most important long-term economic investment a state can make: the skills and competitiveness of its people. This is a grievous mistake.
I will let the economists debate whether lowering the individual income and corporate income taxes will attract business to North Carolina. What I do know is that the state’s poor performance in funding public education and innovative approaches will deter high-tech and other knowledge-based companies choosing North Carolina. The quality of the public schools is always a key consideration when a company is looking at relocation. They want quality K-12 schools for their employees’ children and quality community colleges and universities for workforce needs. The cost of not investing in education poses a serious threat to our economy and quality of life.
We need aggressive action to improve education across our state. The only winners from North Carolina’s recently passed budgets will be places like Virginia and Tennessee — and international competitors who are investing in education and using the same playbook we once embraced.
As North Carolinians, we have a proud history of investing in our people and our communities through education. That must be our legacy. That must be our strategy. Our state must do better.
— Ann Goodnight

Cary

I would like to respond to Sid and Ingrid Hinman’s July 26 letter.
The claim that “faith in Him” allows freedom to believers and nonbelievers doesn’t quite register. The medieval Inquisition had “faith.”
I’ve heard this country is founded on Judeo-Christian values. If so, why aren’t we killing witches and atheists? (Exodus 22:18 and Luke 19:27). The reasons schools have declined is because they’ve lowered standards. Until the standards are raised, a million prayers will be useless. Incidentally, fewer than half of the students who entered high school in the late 1940s ever graduated.
As for the Bible verse “The fool has said in his heart there is no God,” Mark 16:18 says the faithful shall take up serpents and drink any deadly thing.
I was watching a TV talk show years ago. On it, there was a preacher. He said he drank drain openers (like Drano or Liquid Plumber) without the slightest effect. So to prove their faith to a sinful world, believers could drain a bottle of Liquid Plumber down to the dregs. Or they could catch a rattlesnake with their bare hands.
I once saw a picture of a snake handler in church holding one of the things, and it was grinning like a satisfied kitten. Jesus will bless you for it. You’re no fool.
Parting shot: “Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things …” (Martin Luther)
— R. Howard Andrews

Spencer

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