One of North Carolina’s great political distinctions has been its long series of “education governors” — leaders from both parties] who have championed strong investment and data-driven innovation in public education. The next few months might threaten that legacy.
Every N.C. governor in recent memory, from Democrats Terry Sanford, Jim Hunt and Mike Easley to Republicans Jim Holshouser and Jim Martin, owns great achievements improving our education system. Recently, Democrat Bev Perdue fought (unsuccessfully) to extend a sales tax to avoid more education cuts and vetoed education-slashing budgets.
These visionary governors have understood that an accessible university system is critical to North Carolina’s transition to a prosperous knowledge-based economy. And each of them has used his or her bully pulpit to push the state to invest more in education.
Their commitment is part of why our universities have a world-class reputation for excellence and affordability. It’s why we protest budget cuts and tuition hikes, mourn the loss of great leaders like Bill Friday and celebrate UNC-CH being ranked the best college bargain in America.
In his 2012 campaign Pat McCrory emphasized in his education plan that North Carolina could not keep “simply spending more money on a broken system.”