N.C. Senator Gene McLaurin has been visiting schools and classrooms during the past few weeks and has set an ambitious goal to visit all 76 public elementary, middle and high schools, as well as the four community colleges within the Senate district he represents, which includes all of Anson, Richmond, Scotland, and Stanly counties and part of Rowan County. Senator McLaurin has been a strong advocate for our public schools and believes a quality education is the key to economic prosperity for his rural district and its citizens.
Sen. McLaurin visited a civics class at Anson High School, and also visited with kindergartners at Oakboro Elementary School.
“As teachers are faced with increasing responsibilities and challenges in the classroom, they deserve more support from the N.C. legislature,” he said. “That’s why I support increasing teacher pay, so that we can recruit and retain the best and brightest teaching staff. But, in order to do this, we must reevaluate our priorities. When I have visited with teachers and principals, I have seen the true dedication of our teachers — many of whom are thinking outside of the box and are challenging their students to do the same by encouraging critical thinking and public service. While many of our young people are looking forward to attending community college, university, or trade school, there are fewer considering education as a career.
“We took steps backwards in this recent session of the legislature by eliminating teacher assistant positions, reducing funds for school supplies, increasing class sizes, reducing professional development for teachers, and creating an environment of uncertainty for the teaching profession,” he continued. “Yet despite these cuts to education, teachers are working even harder and have inspired me with their commitment.”
Sen. McLaurin went on to add, “As a businessman for over 30 years, I understand the link between education and a skilled, qualified workforce. I am impressed with what I am seeing and hearing in the classrooms. Students are enthusiastic and interested in state policy issues and understand that their lives are impacted by the decisions we make regarding the environment, the job market, the cost and affordability of college tuition, and more.”