Statement on the Public Schools
Approved December 5, 2017 by the Governing Board of the North Carolina Council of Churches
Because the past decade has brought a new era of school segregation in North Carolina rivaling pre Civil Rights Act (1964) segregation rates and because the North Carolina Council of Churches has a long history of support for racial justice, we are recommitting to supporting a public school system that is built on racial equity and excellence for all students.
The Council also has a long history of support for public education. In 1986, we reaffirmed “our support for the system of public education in North Carolina… Being a system of our government financed by public funds, responsive to the community as a whole, and open to all without distinctions as to race, creed, national origin or economic status. Public education serves as a major cohesive force in our pluralistic society; and we believe that by training for citizenship, education serves as a primary means of strengthening our constitutional democracy. We believe that freedom of thought and learning in our public schools is the necessary precondition to political and religious freedom.
In 2006, the Council again reaffirmed our support “for the public schools as one of society’s primary vehicles for social, racial, and economic justice.” We request our member denominations and congregations to speak out for racial and economic justice for our public schools. We call on our elected leaders at the state and local levels to stop creating policies that promote re-segregation of schools and to provide adequate funding to the public schools, especially those affected by the Leandro decision which called on the NCGA to adequately fund public education regardless of zip code. We call on our individual members to assess personally the consequences of “school choice” on re-segregating the schools.
- We call on our elected officials to stop diverting tax dollars intended for public education to schools that are not accountable to locally, democratically elected boards of education.
- We stand against funding charter schools that are parent run, corporate-run, or some combination of the two.
- We support the repeal of State Statute GS 115C-75.6 establishing Innovative School Districts (ISDs) which strip local control of low-performing schools giving management powers to a corporate entity.
- We stand against public monies going to private schools whether they are religious or secular through the Opportunity Scholarship Program, also known as school vouchers.
- We call on elected officials to stop grading schools districts on a single criteria of test scores.
- We call on the North Carolina General Assembly to put the needs of all North Carolina children first.
- Increase per pupil spending to the national average in all due haste.
- Provide funding that supports development of the whole child by funding art, music, and physical education.
- We call for the treatment of teachers as professionals including:
- increased salaries,
- promotion of teachers’ organizations, and
- leadership development opportunities.
- We commit to educating and advocating about these issues with our elected officials and throughout our member denominations and congregations.
- We agree to partner with the NC Justice Center, the NAACP, Public Schools First NC, North Carolina Association of Educators, and other organizations which are addressing inequity in the public schools.