NCAE Continues to Muddy the Waters

There they go again: The North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) continues to pump out misleading claims about Civitas and the state’s public school system.

Last month’s Civitas article Behind the DPI School Personnel Numbers analyzes changes in North Carolina school personnel over the past year using data provided by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

Based on the factual errors, misrepresentations and faulty claims made in the February 8th NCAE Daily Political Briefing, however, you would have thought NCAE had never read the article. Let’s review a few of the most prominent claims.

NCAE: Civitas falsely claims 4,720 added state-supported teachers.

Behind the DPI School Personnel Numbers reviewed final school personnel data and reported “more than 4,600 additional state-funded employees”– 4,613 to be exact. Nowhere is it stated that these are all new jobs. Nowhere is it stated that these are all teaching positions.

An earlier article (Preliminary DPI Personnel Data Shows Increase in State-Supported Education Jobs), which included figures with only minor differences from the final numbers, reported “the number of state-supported public education personnel increased by 4,720 over the previous year” (emphasis added). Both Civitas reports – taken  in context – make it clear that they are discussing state-supported or state-funded education employees, not state-supported teachers as reported in the NCAE claim.

The difference is not insignificant. To sum up: neither article makes the claim 4,720 new state-supported teachers were added in the last year.

NCAE: The General Assembly’s claim to have expanded teacher positions is false.

DPI school personnel data (not numbers “cooked up” by Civitas) show the overall number of teachers (state, federal and local) declined by 915 in FY 2011-12 compared to the prior year. However, when looking at the number of state-funded jobs, the number most directly impacted by policies of the General Assembly, it’s a different story. Because the state picked up funding for about 80 percent of the jobs previously funded through federal stimulus money – many of which were teacher jobs – the DPI data report the net number of state-funded teachers actually increased by 2,057.  About 86 percent of all teachers’ jobs in North Carolina are now state-funded.

Furthermore, the budget bill also allotted an additional $62 million this year and $63 million next year to add 1,124 teaching positions for class size reduction in Grades 1 through 3.

NCAE’s claim ignores the findings of the DPI school personnel data which show that from 2011 to 2012 the number of state-funded teacher jobs increased from 78,963 to 81,020. It’s a fact no amount of NCAE criticism can erase.

NCAE claims the 2011-12 state budget adversely impacted the classroom and was the cause of massive job losses.  

NCAE has spent the last six months howling about how budget cuts have impacted the classroom.  DPI data reveal there were 4,840 fewer public school personnel than the previous year – a fact reported in both Civitas school personnel articles but conveniently ignored by NCAE.  The data also show the loss of federal funding – not cuts to the state budget – as the major impetus for job losses. The expiration of federal stimulus money resulted in the loss of 7,420 federal jobs, and 2,033 local funded school employee positions. But because these facts don’t fit NCAE’s narrative,  it avoids them.

How did job losses impact the classroom? Of the 4,840 education employees who lost jobs last year, about 19 percent were teachers.  Non-certified personnel (e.g., teacher assistants, technicians, clerk typists, service workers, etc.), made up about 72 percent of all job losses last year.  The loss of a job is a difficult event in anyone’s life, no matter what the position. However, accurate figures disprove NCAE’s claim.

NCAE criticizes lawmakers for taking any credit for expanding state teaching jobs that were and still are supported by federal funding. NCAE says the lawmakers’ assertions are “crafty” and “deceitful.”

This statement is as curious as it is absurd. NCAE says many of the newly state-funded jobs were saved with federal stimulus money and later with federal Edujobs money. True. But the money ended. Without providing LEAs the flexibility and ability to transfer  thousands of jobs to state funding, the jobs would have been eliminated.

I find NCAE’s newfound concern for the accuracy of job numbers by funding source disingenuous. You have to wonder where that concern was during the last six months when NCAE trumpeted DPI job loss numbers with no reference to the source of funding or to the end of stimulus funding. It’s another example of selective indignation.

NCAE claims objective sources point out North Carolina’s weakening commitment to public education.

Objective sources? I beg to differ – vehemently.  One source, the weekly magazine Education Week, has frequently been accused of merely being a mouthpiece for the education establishment’s values and preferences.

NCAE also cites the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) as a “federal organization” and an objective source. NCAE is wrong on both counts.

CBPP is not “a federal organization.” It is a non-profit think-tank. As for being objective, it relies heavily on grants from liberal foundations such as the Anne E. Casey Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation. Two minutes on their website reveals a clear political agenda.

NCAE’s penchant for inventing claims, misinformation and ignoring cold hard facts show the lengths to which the organization will go to discredit those who dare to challenge the failed status quo.

This article was posted in Education by Bob Luebke on February 16, 2012 at 10:11 AM.

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Comments on this article

  • 1

    Ihatestupid Feb 16, 2012 at 17:10

    I did the math and my Senator who only works part-time is paid 52,000 a year with his benefits. The republican speaker regularly hands out raises of over 30,000 to his staff- and he is part-time too- I would say we need to clean house and I expect the republicans to lead the charge in cutting their own pay!!!! I suspect I will be waiting a very long time… and p.s. check out Civitas’s numbers and sources and you will see that Civitas has once again been “schooled” by the teacher group. Civitas lies and distorts NCAE is just giving out the facts.

  • 2

    Ihatestupid Feb 16, 2012 at 17:11

    P.S my 1st grader has 26 students in her class. that is a fact and I suspect every other parent in this state knows what is true and what is an Art Pope sponsored lie.

  • 3

    Bob Luebke
    Bob Luebke Feb 16, 2012 at 17:19


    Do you wish to provide evidence to backup specific claims? The generalities you provide are not helpful, nor related to the article.

    Bob Luebke

  • 4

    Education Supporitng Republican
    Education Supporitng Republican Feb 17, 2012 at 9:31

    I’m sure NCAE and Civitas are citing statistics, but remember statistics can be skewed to suit one’s purpose. At my school the enrollment numbers has been the same for the last 5 years yet faculty and staff are down by 17. This year the teachers are teaching more students, have more responsibilites with less pay and fewer benefits. They are well educated professionals and should be treated as such. I am a life-long Republican. However, I will not support any candidate that does not fully fund public education.

  • 5

    Terry Stoops
    Terry Stoops Feb 17, 2012 at 9:58

    Yes, let’s talk about first-graders. My first-grader, who attends a Wake County public elementary school, has 18 kids in his class. Moreover, the class has a teacher assistant.

    That is a fact.

  • 6

    Brian Balfour
    Brian Balfour Feb 17, 2012 at 13:21

    My second-grader attends a Wake County public elementary school -has 17 kids in her class.
    Her first-grade teacher last year remarked at the beginning of the year that was her smallest class in years. That class also had a T.A.
    Last year they spent two weeks focusing on Earth Day, but no such focus on any actual holidays.

    These are facts.

    Ihatestupid – cite one specific “lie” told by Civitas. Also observe that Civitas sources are the state Department of Public Instruction.

  • 7

    Bob Feb 22, 2012 at 13:29

    I went to school in New York City from 1956 until 1964. All of my teachers were career women, some had taught my father and his siblings. Classes were in excess of 32 students. I know because I had the duty of passing out the little milk cartons. I don’t remember one teacher having an aid. I remember my first grade teacher, Mrs. Vexler taught the class every day and during assigned quiet reading brought students one at a time to her desk to show that they had studied the word list she had pasted in their books. She strongly suggested you “sound it out” if you stumbled. By fourth grad I was found to be reading at a seventh grade level. Mind you I had never been to a Pre or Pre-pre school to prepare me for reading before official school starting with Kindergarten. They are long gone now but I’d like to thank Mrs. Goldberg, Mrs. Vexler, Mrs. Kopp, Mrs. Herman. Mrs Klein and Mrs. Rothstein for providing me with the basics needed to be a sucessful adult. They never complained and their dedication was obvious. Of course there were no teacher’s unions back then nor the Humanist Manifesto. Schools weren’t Democratic Party Ideological training centers and we celebrated all of the holidays. In spring we planted our sweet potatoes and we weren’t told what to eat and how to condemn people for what car tehy drove or what clothes they wore.. It was certainly different.
    Until recently I was an employer. I wish I could show you yhe spelling on the resumees I get from today’s high school graduate. Or the lack of reading comprehension needed to install and program our products despite sending them to schools at my expense.
    Why is our country the way it is? Our younger citizens were never taught to reason logically. “What do you think it is?” has replaced “what is it?” Socialism has replaced Capitalism and entitlement has replaced work. We now exist for the benefit of the earth and not vice versa and the government knows what’s best for you in all things. And the Constitution is out of date and “fatally flawed.” What a sorry place the US has become.I served in the military to protect this?

  • 8

    Ihatestupid Feb 22, 2012 at 16:42

    Well Bob lets celebrate your parties attempts to drag us all back to the dark ages… when women knew their place and you didn’t have to associate with undesirables if your state laws said so… ah the glory days.. And speaking of the govt. knowing what is best for you… Democrats have never, ever made one law about my body or my religion or my pvt.much less my life in the bedroom yet every stinking time a Republcian gets the chance they take away my personal freedoms and rights.. I don’t know what U.S you were fighting for BOB but I have had ancestors who have fought for my rights and freedoms in every war this country has ever been in… my roots go back to 1682 and they were not fighting to protect me from Democrats… they did worry about fascism… perhaps BOB you could better serve your country by fighting our loss of rights and freedoms to the corporate godless.

  • 9

    Ihatestupid Feb 22, 2012 at 16:51

    I hate to beat a brain dead horse but by golly BOB you asked for it… so tell me oh reflective one… what was the graduation rate back in the good old days? not so good eh? yeah I know it was atrocious and so do you. what is different now is that Unions which helped families succeed have been destroyed by conservative who worship at the feet of the gOD of greed. It used to be that women could stay home with their kids- my mom did -but my dad had a union job with a good salary and benefits.. conservatives have taken that away from families and now we all live paycheck to paycheck and it takes both parents working to survive… but continue to worship your gods of industry like that hideous old atheiest Ayn Rand that you and Art Pope love so much… HA the worst writer.. her books are so badly written it is laughable and the biggest hypocrit of them all living out her golden years at the taxpayers expense on social yes social security… what a piece of work she was and anyone who follows her warped, evil directives is not worthy of the title American.. she certainly wasn’t worthy.

  • 10

    George Feb 23, 2012 at 9:11

    Ihatestupid, as usual, no facts, poor logic, and full of vitriolic nonsense. You are a very unhappy person. Perhaps you would feel better about yourself if you changed your username; cut yourself some slack.

  • 11

    Ryan Feb 26, 2012 at 15:51

    I graduated from the Memphis City School system in 1974 and also had 30-32 in my elementary grades. There are several changes in today’s classes, none of them good. If my classmates and I got into trouble at school, we were in more trouble at home that night. The vast majority of us lived with two parents and saw at least one of them go to work each day. Our parents sent us to school to be educated in the basic American cultural canon. We were RAISED AT HOME by our parents. The biggest behavior problem our teachers faced was gum chewing and talking in class. I teach in North Carolina and my main classroom concern is the sudden eruption of serious violence. A significant number of students have very little interest in school and make it hard to teach the ones who are motivated. A pregnant 11th grader used to be a shocking rarity now, a pregnant 8th grader is tragically common. Many of these “problem” students live in conditions that would shock the average think tank scholar. I have had students who were molested by a family member(often mother’s boyfriend), attacked with a hammer by a drug addled parent and have had many who did not know where they were going to sleep that night. We do not have failing schools, we have failing families and mostly a failing society. It is fun and easy to blame teachers, a little harder to fix the real problems.

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