Every year, millions of North Carolinians enroll their children in our schools with the trust that they will be well educated, well cared for, and well prepared for the future. I spent sixteen years working in public schools, and my wife Jennifer is still a fifth grade teacher.

Our future prosperity depends on supporting North Carolinians’ need for lifelong learning. We must ensure that all of our children have access to high-quality early childhood education. We must also invest in excellent public schools for our K-12 students to prepare our children for entering a globally competitive workforce. Additionally, we must provide our adult population with access to an affordable, flexible, and highly effective system of community colleges and universities so that our workers are prepared for a rapidly changing economy.

We must value, not vilify our hard-working public school teachers. North Carolina needs a concrete plan to raise teacher pay to the national average as a baseline and then raise the bar to once again become a leader in teacher compensation. We must also restore incentives for our teachers to earn advanced degrees, ensuring that our students benefit from this added expertise.