This is Brian Thornburg.

I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy life in Carrboro, Chapel Hill, and North Carolina, even though I wasn’t born and raised here. We moved our family here in 2006 from Chicago, in search of a better lifestyle, better weather, good people, and, most important, great public schools for our young children. Carrboro and Chapel Hill had all these and more, so we chose to raise our family here.

But to our dismay, the schools are not what they were just a few short years ago. Due to rash decisions by the governor and the General Assembly, our schools are losing great teachers by the bunches, test scores are falling, and morale at schools is sinking. With teacher salaries WAY below the national average, no incentives for earning advanced degrees, unrealistic adherence to standardized tests, an influx of for-profit charter schools, and plans to have teachers compete against each other for small salary increases rather than collaborate for the good of our students, previously enthusiastic teachers are either choosing to leave the state for better pay OR, worse yet, leave teaching altogether. Remember, I moved here for the schools. Other families may rethink coming here, too. And good businesses that offer good jobs who want to attract good workers will probably think twice before locating here.  The domino effect seems lost on those enacting these policies.

Our family still has a couple more years of having kids in local schools, and I hope I can do something to ensure that all the great things about North Carolina that drew us in the FIRST place STAY in place. I plan on supporting the teachers who are working with my son, and supporting the local school system any way I can. I will also let my local school board, local representatives, and state representatives know that I value education and will be voting for those who feel the same. I’m also planning on making sure everyone I know who values education is registered to vote and will vote in EVERY ELECTION. Every one. Hope you do, too.